March 31st, 2012
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Categories: Uncategorized

485740_steel_heartSometimes on mornings like this I just want to crawl back into bed and sleep for another three or four hours. Doesn’t that sound good? Yet, I know that there is a lot of work that must be done in this house, the lawn and with the kids. I know that my responsibilities for today alone could easily require 30 hours to complete. In lieu of all that I must do, I sit here on this fine morning and blog. Makes sense to me!

Responsibility and respect for those under my care keeps me on track. There are many things that I would rather not do. I had to fold and put away the laundry this morning. I did not want to. Some days, I do not mind. Today, I just wasn’t feelin’ it. Yet, I chose to do it and now it is complete. I didn’t shove it under my bed or toss it into a basket to be dealt with later. I did it. This is such an important lesson that I am working on with all four of the kids living under my roof- some are mine from birth, some are mine from adoption, some are mine on loan. Whatever way they are living with me, I think it is vitally important to teach them to respect themselves and their lives enough to complete tasks that are required. Laundry? Required. Watching television? Not.

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The hardest thing for me is working the kids that I know are only here temporary through this. It seems that I work so hard at it to only find that they are not willing, forgot to or simply rebelling against authority. That is exhausting for me. It feels like life [at times] is always a battle. How do you work through the battle without throwing your hands up and saying, “Okay, you win. Go ahead and watch television. I’ll get it.”

This is a regular conversation in a home with teens. Fostered teens are no exception. In fact, they can struggle more in this regard because they often have the built in radar that acknowledges that you will only be in their lives for a season. That causes a distrust and disregard for much (if not all) of you say. Things like this have no easy answer. So far, I live wearing the rose-colored glasses that say that the kids that are leaving my home will remember what they were taught even if they didn’t appear to ‘get it’ at the time. I like to live in that illusion because the other option seems so futile. Today, I am going to tell each teen what their ‘job’ is. The one will immediately set to work, the other will procrastinate until I yell and the third will not say anything but will not complete it. That’s when the tough love starts.

Just a little something to look forward to~

~Angie
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June 19th, 2007
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Categories: Uncategorized


One of the hardest things that a parent, adoptive or birth, sometimes has to do is to appear to ‘turn one’s back’ on their law-breaking children. To do otherwise would simply enable said child to continue a life of crime.

Many of us that are involved in the adoption of older children find ourselves with the unenviable task of teaching rules and negative consequences to children who’ve come out of criminal backgrounds, often their birth parents are in jail or prison, or have been there more than once.

Several of my children grew up in household situations where there were generational lawbreakers, where drug dealing, stealing for a living, or other criminal enterprises was the norm. And here I am, a church-going, right and wrong, rule following, bill paying, upright, straight-laced member of society trying to teach children, who often came from severe backgrounds of deprivation and lack, how to behave.

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My broken record, “If I don’t teach you right from wrong, then the world will do so,” repeated so often the kids roll their eyes, until they find themselves in trouble for what they’ve done and who do they run to? Duh, it’s me.

I have to then walk a very thin line between ‘helping’ them get through their ordeal while not appearing to condone what has happened. I don’t teach nor coach them on methods designed to get them out of trouble, but rather to take their licks and pay their dues. If I did not do this, then they’d not learn and they’d escalate their crimes. Then I believe it really would be my fault. I’m supposed to teach them.

Tough Love is hard. If you are one of the numerous parents dealing with this I’d highly recommend that you read the classic book,Tough Love, by Phyllis York. On-line book stores still carry it.

“We’re glad to see you . . . We’re sorry you had to come.”
The above statement is the welcoming phrase of the TOUGHLOVE ® International program. Its simple message both reflects hope for the future and acknowledges the pain of trying to parent an out-of-control youngster.

I remember an alcoholic I knew; his mother was the classic enabler. Now he’s nearly 60, still living under her protective wing where he’s allowed to drink all he wants and she shelters him from all consequences, handicapping him from any lesson learning at all, he’ll always be that way, in and out of jail and truthfully I see it as partly her fault.

Another adoptive parent has bravely blogged his heartache over his difficult decision that was made in the hopes of allowing his son to learn. I hear from parents constantly about this. It seems to hurt us parents much worse that it does the kids. My own son, enjoying three hots and a cot, penned up with other thugs like him who laugh in the face of law abiders, thinking we’re the stupid ones, that the cool ones are their cohorts in crime. I will not allow this son to live with us anymore; he’s almost 19 and he must learn his lessons or face a life in the old grey bar hotel.

I followed Tough Love principles several years ago on another son of mine with wonderful results. He’s now a hard-working father, sometimes fighting a bad attitude, but he’s a bill paying, law abiding 24 year old now with his own apartment.

I cannot imagine where’d he’d be had I tried to shelter him from the natural fallout of his own actions. Instead he paid for his attorneys, paid his fines, and served his different probationary periods. It took several incidents before he finally learned. I am grateful to what I learned from Tough Love.

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