I was feeling so helpless yesterday, seeing that my child is struggling and having no idea how to help. I accept that I'm not very skilled in this whole teenager thing and have decided it's time to look for some allies.
Step one: The Principal. He was surprisingly responsive about my first major school concern and has always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I'm on my first 15 year old but he's dealt with thousands in his career so I figured he might be a good resource. We talked. He ended up pulling The Dark Lord out of class for a chat today and then called me to follow up which I really appreciated. He had some great ideas about helping him focus and getting him thinking about his future and I feel considerably more optimistic about things, especially because he promised to keep and eye on him and check up often.
I am feeling like an OK parent today. I modeled the kind of behavior I'd like to see more of in my son. Asking for help can be hard. It's not so hard for me because I've been lost many times in my life. But for a teen who's in that know-it-all stage, asking for help becomes huge.
As hokey as this sounds I kept thinking about the old saying: it takes a village to raise a child. When I had tiny ones I felt so overwhelmed much of the time because I thought I had to do everything on my own and perfectly. But once I started asking for advice and finding support things got a lot better. That was years ago but I seem to be coming full circle.