It finally occurred to me this morning while having our first of thousands of very annoying and painful conversations with Mike that satisfaction will always be out of his reach.
He gave us a list of things he would like to do that I told him we would work out a schedule for him to earn.
He came up with a list of 19 things. He admitted himself when writing the list that some of them were a little out of reach.
Of the 19, in first week of a slow transition, he has already been able to do five of them. Five of the 19 things he could think of that he wanted or needed he has already done in his first five days home. But this is not NEARLY enough. According to him he should be treated like normal kids and the reason he ran away in the first place is because we didn’t treat him like a normal kid.
Five minutes later he is talking about how he has issues.
The bottom line, I realized, is that satisfaction and happiness will always be just one step beyond where he is. If he gets one thing on his list he will not be grateful to have it, but will simply whine about the things on his list that he doesn’t have. And if he ever gets to the point where he has everything on the list, then he will think of something he forgot to put on it and whine that he doesn’t have that.
So we have this battle. We know that we can’t protect him from making mistakes, but how much freedom do we allow him when he does have FASD. He is so sure that he can handle all the freedoms of a normal teenager, but we are not only trying to parent him, but trying to keep the people off our backs who are predicting his failure. These people believes he needs residential treatment and needs to be in a group home setting until he reaches adulthood. Treating him like a “normal teenager” is taking a huge risk in proving them right.
I think I am processing this all on paper right now, and I don’t know that there are clear answers. But it helps me to at least explain our conundrum.