Over the last six months we have had a brother and sister live with us who in all practical sense are homeless. Their mom has had them live with friends and relatives as she floats between the houses of friends. The mom is well intentioned in looking for work but there always seems to be something that causes tension, stress or drama that sees her lose her job before she is established. So this family has a history of being in an apartment for a few months, losing it and then living with a variety of friends. The challenge is that the friends the mom has are marginal types who usually are drug users. Regardless of the mom’s intentions in this situation she ends up drawn into the party scene especially over the weekends.
So now you have the Bennett’s wanting to bring stability to these two teens, knowing that they will end up in drug houses or be around violence. I know that I don’t want to enable the mom to continue her ‘wacked’ out lifestyle but I also don’t want her teens to crash and burn. So what do you do? We have attempted over the last 4 years to partner with this mom in getting her back on track. The sad reality is that she if anything continues to make horrible choices that impact her and her teens.
We were excited when the mom landed a great job that had real potential making enough money that it would actually provide for an apartment with out any governmental assistance. It was under this framework that we were willing to house, feed, provide transportation and support to her teens over a significant amount of time. The challenge now is that she has made poor choice, after poor choice and now is unemployed again. I am at a conference in Dallas on Monday and Tuesday this last week. I get a text from my wife saying that the mom is at the house totally unglued because her live in boy friend who was supposed to help pay for the rent of the new place had beaten her and tried to strangle her. She had tried kicking him out of the apartment with on success and then called the police. The end result was that she didn’t go to work and got a restraining order, which ultimately means she got fired. Ahhhh!
I ask one of her teens to call her and find out what is happening. The mom has this habitat of only checking in on her teens a few times a week. As typical the mom rails on her daughter for even asking the obvious question. Her usual response is that this is none of your business. She tells her teen that she needs to focus on school and leave the adult stuff to her. The challenge with this is that now both teens are burnt out with moms ongoing drama of losing jobs, having bad boyfriends and leaving them hung out on their own.
I am ready to sit the mom down and give her the ultimate talk on what type of parent are you?? How can you continue to hurt your teens, who you say you love but seem to have little ‘brain power’ to make wise decisions. How can you continue to hang out with friends that are getting high, who get you off track? Don’t you feel guilty a little for driving around with your boyfriend, who changes every weekend and giving your teens the typical line that you don’t have gas money. I know that if I give the tough love lecture that she will disappear with her teens who will end up living between friend’s homes or again left while mom plays.
We continue to dialogue with the teens about life choices, staying focused and choosing to rise above the drama. The unfortunate reality is that both teens are ‘bombing’ out at school. They are now at a point where they are exhausted with their mom’s drama. They are old enough that they can’t stand by and not say anything. The difficulty is that the mom doesn’t want to hear it from them. The son is old enough he could get a job and move out if possible. Yet, he lives in a fantasy world where he believes that his dancing or jerking will bring him fortunes via You Tube. The sister is attending a charter school this is way below her academic ability yet; she is failing at a few classes. She has become embittered and reflects her mom’s brazen attitude.
This is a mess that I truly want God to intersect in the right way. I don’t want to have these two teens end up collateral damage from their mom’s out there life style. Yet, after being around them for four years I don’t see the mom changing at all and see the only way that the mom will come around is when she totally crashes and burns. Is it ok to let to put the kids out in the cold, while the mom figures out life via the school of hard knocks or in this situation with boyfriends that strangle her?
My only resolve is to trust in the Lord with all of my heart. Ask for His direction, protection, wisdom and courage to face the mom and the evil one in this world.