Thursday, December 04, 2008

What to Do?

I'm in a mood.

Bad mood.

Ben, my lovely oldest son? Had a band concert tonight. Last week, we bought him a new button down white shirt, black pants for the concert. Walter, Allan, Jeanine and I were all going. Jake and Zachary, too.

This morning? Ben told Jeanine he wasn't exactly in band. Mind you, Jeanine is insistent the boys all take music lessons and participate in band. She's a musician, yes, but we both believe music teaches a great deal more than just music.

Mom. I'm not in band.


I never joined this year. I don't have a concert tonight.

And then he said, Don't tell mom.

As if.

I didn't blow. I simply said I was very disappointed he lied again. Later, I repeated the disappointment and said both his mom and I were angry but no punishment was yet decided.

We needed some time.

Remember those eggshells as a kid?

I'm off to DC tomorrow. I am incredibly disappointed. But mostly? Concerned. He's begging for help in the only way he seems to know how.

Now what to do... I wish I knew.


Blogger Rev. Bob said...

I'm thinking it's time to call a pro.

If you're already in family counseling or therapy, book an appointment. Worst case, if your present counselor etc. isn't working out, you'll get a referral. If you aren't getting family counseling/therapy, get started. I'm pretty sure family counseling/therapy is a different thing from individual counseling/therapy. If you have a shrink, ask for advice and whether a referral is advisable. They're well aware of the ethical issues. If you or Ben are already clients of Community Mental Health, I'd be very surprised if they didn't know how to do that.

If Ben starts skipping school and staying out at night, which might be the next step, it's not an unsolvable problem (one of mine did, and it worked out after some family counseling) but it does mean he's got a greater chance of finding himself in danger. So it's better to get started before that happens. Sooner is better than later imho.

I dropped out of my night school class in advanced assembler and my wife dropped out of her operating systems class so we could get to appointments with the counselor. We never missed those classes. I find it comical that I'd consider those things as sacrifices. They're mitzvahs (mitzvot? whatever) - things you gotta do and you don't even get credit from God for doing them.

1:39 AM  
Blogger Rev. Bob said...

p.s., wrt Community Mental Health, "do that" should be "do that ethically."

If it turns out I'm overreacting, you spend some time with a nice intake social worker who tells you "at that age, they're all like that". Can you imagine a shrink or counselor who's got so much free time that they'll hook you into services you don't need?

1:59 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

I would be very, very interested to know the WHY? Why didn't he join band again? Is he tired of music? Is the teacher a bore? What? And then: Why didn't he discuss it with you both first? Was there no talk about "I don't want to play anymore?" at any time? Does he not think you'll listen? Is he convinced you won't take his wishes into account?
I think kids do what they feel they HAVE to do, what their nature compels them to do - I certainly did. If what they have to do is against their parents wishes they can either confront them or take the easy way out - lie.
Sara, you had sex with women against your mothers wishes. Did you tell her up front that you were going to discart her "values", or did you just lie by omission for a while?

2:54 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

Plainly, it takes two to tango:
One to lie, and one who has to be lied to.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Lula de Montes said...

I think why would also be my first question.

And if he wasn't in band practice, where was he?

I wish you all a lot of fortitude, because it seems you're heading into the dark years. I have witnessed them up close with a sister, who started playing hookey, and eventually went on to do practically every drug known to mankind. On a good note, it all turned out very well and she's generally considered the upstanding soccer mom of our family. But the time that precedes it, oh boy.

Just remember the love. Regardless of what happens.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Suzy said...

wow don't let my kids read this they ask often if they can quit band or chorus and the answer is no. Ian complained about it all through high school but stayed with it. Plus its an easy grade that helps that gpa lol.

Quite the con artist Mr. Ben is. But I agree with Rev Bob better to over react now and check it out than wait till he is unreachable in a few years. Don;t think we could have survived saras rough patch without support.

Ahh growing pains how i do love them NOT!!!

Good luck, you will all survive just keep on loving him and being there for him. there is a gradual calming and light at the end of the tunnel believe it or not and it gets easier or you get more numb, haven't figured out which yet, with each passing kid.

Love ya.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overlooking the lies for a minute.... Why didn't he join this year?

Does he like / want to play? Does he feel that he's being forced to pursue something that does not interest him? What activities does he have interest which he hasn't pursued yet.

I'd cut my son some slack here about the lying and push honesty now regarding his feelings and the decesions that he made.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Ulla said...

I'm with anonymous: Ben can spend each afternoon only once. By now he knows what music is, and he clearly does not want to pursue it.
What does he want to do? Time is precious. He should be spending it on something that has a potential for the future.
Wanking off, getting to know his own sexuality, might be a better use of leisure.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I did ask why.

he didn't know.

but I think I will pursue that more when I get back from DC.

thank you, everyone. excellent thoughts.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Retired said...

I know you never ask a kid "why?", but there is a reason he dropped out of band. He lied because he didn't want to disappoint you. I did the same thing as a kid (I stopped going to piano lessons long before my mother knew). I hated piano lessons!!! That was all it was...I just hated piano lessons. I knew I was expected to take the lessons, so I left the house with my books for a month...and never went. At that time I did not think of it as lieing....I thought it was my only way out. I grew up to be a productive adult. The boy will be fine....this won't turn him into a serial killer. Years from now you will all laugh about it.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you all are overreacting. Ben probably missed the sign up date and didn't tell you about it. Then he had to lie to cover up and so on and so on. Sometimes it is a simple thing and we all try and overanalyze it. I"m sure he has been carrying his instrument to school each day and practicing at home and feeling worse than he does now. My question is why didn't you figure it out when he didn't have any info coming home from band? It may be possible that you were all too busy with your own lives to notice that things didn't add up.
Give him a break and remember he is just a kid and kids make mistakes. I think that if you make a big deal of this, it will become one.
I'd let him off since he's beat himself up with all the lying these past months already.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Rev. Bob said...

One final, probably unnecessary thought. I was a real bad kid. Smart, restless, and bored to tears. When I did something like make a fart noise in class, my teachers would always ask me why I had done it. I thought it was a really stupid question. I thought, aren't you supposed to be the one who knows about kids?

3:31 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

I don't think this is very serious either, but still: why couldn't he just tell you? Why was he forced to lie and cover up his activities? If he thinks he can't talk to you, you'll all be in trouble.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I think it's serious in that it's a pattern.

and it's true, it take two...

7:27 AM  
Blogger Sue J said...

See? Dogs are just easier.

9:19 AM  

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