Wednesday, September 09, 2009

They Just Don't

I have a few kids who just don't (or can't) care about me. They really don't. They are so wrapped up in their own world that how I feel or what their siblings feel just does not matter at all to them. And I fought it for years and finally I'm simply understanding it. They do not care.

So I have switched my strategy this week. I have had long conversations with some of my other kids about how to get along with those who don't care. These unattached teens are just going to do what they are going to do and the consequences to the rest of us don't matter. Now if I felt that anyone was unsafe in any way, they wouldn't be living here (which is why we have 10 kids living here instead of 11, as Mike would be here if we let him -- but I do not feel that our stuff would be safe and we can't afford that at this point -- and in addition, when he gets desperate, he puts others at risk unintentionally.

So, since they aren't able to or will not change at this point, it is my job to educate the rest of us on how to get along with difficult people. My kids are going to leave this house (the ones who actually can and will) so prepared for the difficult folks they will encounter in their lives. And so instead of sitting around strategizing about how we are going to "make" so and so stop being the way we think they are supposed to be, we strategize about how to deal with them.

Example: We have two children who are not going to stop "borrowing" certain items from their siblings. I can threaten, consequence, warn, etc, but they just become more sneaky. They aren't going to stop. So over the past couple days we have had discussions about what the kids can do. One option is to offer to let them use it -- taking the power away from the offender and making themselves look gracious and loving, actually knowing that they would do it whether they offered or not.

A second option would be to have me lock up the items when they aren't using them.

But changing those who don't or can't care? Ain't happening.


FerJeniB said...

Thanks for posting this! You have helped me to adjust to fostering teens and I am grateful for your wisdom and experience. At the same time I am dismayed that yet again my mother was right when she says the only one that you can change/control is yourself. (I am kidding on the last point. I accepted early on that my mother knows best and I love her even more for that!) Kudos to you. - J

FAScinated said...

You shall be called by your people "Woman who speaketh great wisdom".
~Your BFF

Marge said...

I wish you would have been around to speak such wisdom about 20 years ago! I would have learned so much from I just sit here and shake my head yes.