As with most things that make me emotional, I find the first thing I want to do is write it out. Recently, but not the first time, one of our children made a wrong choice. They were arrested and went to detention.
This experience in itself is gut wrenching. Can you imagine the guilt of knowing your child did something wrong and you are left to pick up the pieces?
People may say, “Oh well, you do have a lot of children.” or “What do you expect when you do foster care?” maybe even “Have you taught them the difference between right and wrong?”
I say to them: You know, the life we have chosen isn’t for everyone. It is hard for us too. We have created boundaries. We have Family Night each week. We read our scriptures and have family prayers every day. We attend church every Sunday. We have dinner together every night. We have taught our children but, they are allowed to make their own choices. We allow them to do that. It sure isn’t easy to see the choices they make. It isn’t easy when you know the consequences are going to be very harsh.
However, we have gifted our children the right to chose for themselves. It is so hard to be the parent of a child who makes choices that don’t align with what they have been taught. It is difficult to express the anguish we (the family) have to go through.
Many people wonder about the child and what kind of family life they have. Well, I am here to tell you, we are absolutely normal. Whatever normal means. We have strengths and weakness but we always strive to improve ourselves. We are always looking for ways to make our family better, stronger and kinder.
The bottom line is, our children make their own choices. They have to live with the consequences. They are good kids who sometimes get caught up in the world. Their choices are not always a reflection of what they have been taught.
It is hard for me to say but “I am a good parent.” We are not a typical crazy family with a bunch of children. Well, maybe we are a little crazy. We are a good family with good children.
Sometimes, people forget what it must be like for the family. They become forgotten in the midst of all that is going on. For example did you know the parents of the Columbine high School boys who shot and killed the students were sued by the other parents? Also, the families of the Sandy Hook shooting filed a lawsuit against the mother of Adam Lanza (the shooter) estate?
What my child did is not as significant as these instances. However, the family of the person is just as much a victim as the victims are. Unless they in some way knew what their child was going to do.
The family is often the forgotten victim. They are suffering through their own struggles and it is compounded because they also have to deal with the judgement of those around them.
One of the hardest things I have had to do is walk away and leave my child in a detention center or in a place that I couldn’t see them all day or night. It is devastating. I know they have done something wrong but I still love them. They are my child. I can’t turn my love on and off like a faucet. I love them even when they are exhibiting a weakness or when they are showing a strength.
My pain and hurt is significant. I feel for all involved. In some cases, I feel even more because I have a certain amount of guilt. I wonder what I could have done different or better. I wonder what was the motivator. I ponder the changes I hope to create to ensure my child’s safety and the safety of others.
As a parent of
a struggling child, I should be supported, encouraged and listened to. I shouldn’t be lumped in a category. I am a victim as well. My family are victims. We are not the enemy and we are not our child’s choices.
I am the same as you, I love my family. I love my children. I know there is a bigger plan for us. I know there is hope. One of my favorite scriptures says “…thou are not yet as Job…”. I know there is healing. I know there is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I believe we can all benefit from it.
I should also add, no one has said anything to me directly. These are just my feelings and my emotions. This is just a mom trying to come to terms with the choices I made in taking children in and supporting them through their wrong choices.