Thursday, October 6, 2011

Teen Updates

I don't know what it is this year, but I think we are finally, finally, headed in the right direction.  Finally.  As you all are aware, I have 3 teenagers in this house.  Yes, I do want to scream sometimes as we all know how trying the teen years can be.  Guess I should tell you a little of where we are now.

Irina.  Irina begged us to homeschool her last year.  Her year was nothing short of horrific at her previous school.  Not exaggerating and won't get into everything.  Put it this way, I gave fair warning at the new school if anything happened like it did at the old school, I would be pressing charges.  It is not a joke.  Irina is our first and also has disabilities.  We've never focused on them but apparently when they get to high school, others do.  Now though, Irina is in a new school, Cleveland High School.  She feels safe.  There aren't nearly as many fights as the previous school.  people don't mistreat her here.  In the beginning we had a little rough patch but the teachers at this school are involved and on top of things.  Irina can talk to peers at this school.  The atmosphere in general is better.  The staff is on top of things if an issue arises.  Since Irina is more comfortable at school, she has a better demeanor about her.  Irina is involved with the church youth group which I do believe has made her feel one like her peers versus being different.  I think the only issue we have right now is the fact that everyone at school says you're 18, you can do what you want now.  Umm, no.  Not as long as you're living in this house.  You must go by these rules.  Bottom line.  She is trying to understand parents telling her one thing and peers telling her another.  Yes, I know this is normal teen stuff but the way Irina handles it is not.  Again, it's a balancing act for us as parents.  Irina is very excited about her new siblings and I truly think that will help her.  She is also excited about getting a job soon.  She has also vowed to lose weight so I want her & I to do it together.  Overall, not bad compared to where she was last year at school.  She is also doing a cooking club. 

Max-- Max is doing okay, I must admit.  Finally, some of that attitude is peeling off.  those with teens know exactly what I mean by that.  LOL.  Max is still heavily into art.  He is also taking a weight lifting course which he loves.  He still struggles greatly at math.  They are doing everything they can to get him to pass it but that somewhat burns me up b/c he still doesn't understand it.  Sending him the wrong message and I disagree w/ that.  Not everyone can be good at everything.  People will fail.  How many times did Thomas Edison fail before inventing the light bulb?  Wasn't it around 3 thousand times?  Anyhow, I don't like schools passing people for #'s.  I want my kids to understand the concept.  The school & us obviously disagree on this issue greatly.  Glad they want him to pass math but I want him to understand it.  Yes, there is a difference.  Anyhow, besides that though, he is doing fine.  Max is involved in youth group and some side jobs here and there.  Works well for him.  He is really wanting his own room.  Working on a solution to that.  Though, he doesn't mind sharing w/ Bojan.  Those two are still super close brothers.  They have each other in stitches some times laughing so hard.  Afraid their new brother may think something is wrong with them.  LOL.  Max is a good kid.  He's a 16yo young man and doing just fine.  For now, no worries about Max.  However, with teens, that can change over night.  Health wise, excellent shape. 

Yana-- Yana is doing way better than expected.  Her transition into high school has been an easy one for her and happy that it has turned out this way.  It has been a rough few years and I'm here to share that RADishes DO heal.  Takes tons of time though and patience and love.  And did I mention patience?  I know not all kids w/ RAD can do this but I wanted to share that some indeed can over come the tremendous background to a fresh start.  This seems to be her year to shine.  Her year of a fresh start.  She is also 16yo so I too know this can change over night.  For now though, we are enjoying many great successes w/ Yana this year.  Her running cross country has been great for her.  She really does enjoy to run.  Health wise, she is in excellent shape.  She still gets migraines but they seem more controlled than they used to be.  Her grades are excellent.  A's & B's.  This was a child that was thought to never be able to catch up with her peers.  She is out of the special ed setting and in regular classes succeeding.  It CAN happen.  I know many other adoptive families read this and just wanted to give hope.  We are extremely proud of how far Yana has come.  Now, she is just a normal teenager driving her parents crazy about wanting to drive. 

All three teens overall are doing really well all things considering.  They have all made really good grades.  Well, except for one math class.  All teens are doing youth group at church.  They are also doing clubs.  All are interested in getting a job.  The reason we're holding back is we don't want too much on them too soon.  In addition, with the price of gas & me driving back & forth w/ them to a job, it would not pay at all.  Especially, in that van.  The gas guzzler.  Well, the kids have named nicknamed it the 'bird turd.'  They say b/c it looks like white bird poop.  Yeh, I'm not for that nickname either.  Anyhow, gas guzzling does not help wanting them to find a job just yet.  It will have to be soon though as they need the experience. 

I must say, I've heard some of my friends talk about what they go through with their teenagers.  I can honestly say I'm glad it's not me.  Yes, we've had some patches but overall, these are great kids, with goals, with motivation, with a future, and with tons of potential.  They are 16, 16 & 18 right now.  I've read the statistics on FASD.  I don't ignore it but use it as a learning tool, a guide of sorts.  Yes, kids are going to make mistakes.  Mine have.  But they have learned a lot over the years and I do believe will do just fine as adults.  It will take a lot of work on our part as parents but I believe that is true of all parents.  I type this all and hope they just don't go out and do anything stupid in the next week.  LOL.  I think I have the right to be proud.  I can not wait to see what awaits them the next few years.  Irina only has this year and next & then she will be out in the work force.  More on that soon too. 

Just thought it was time for a teen update.  Hadn't done one in ages.  I am very lucky to be their mom.  They have come so far over the past few years and surpasses many "professional" expectations.  I am cautiously optimistic at this point.  Yes, still worry about them being on their own in the future but every single parent does.  There's one thing we've always said to all our kids...you are no different than anybody else.  We expect them to have goals and to achieve them.  We expect them to be productive members of society.  We expect them to be good citizens.  I think they are on the right path.  Doesn't mean I can relax though.  Shoot, I'll have two more teens this coming year!  To all those parents who've recently come home with your kids and are wondering "how in the world?  How will they survive?  How will we survive?  Can they ever go to school?  Can they ever get a job?  And many more questions."  Stop stressing over it.  Stop thinking about it.  Just parent the kids for who they are. Trust me, I'd NEVER thought we'd be where we are a few years ago.  But the kids have grown into what I believe to be wonderful young women and a young man.  Can't wait to see what the future holds for them all. 

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