I have failed with my son. He became interested in a particular church (some say cult) and I thought I was being smart and open-minded to allow him to stretch his wings and be independent. I thought it would be a harmless foray from which he would soon emerge, with another church interest, or just another interest altogether. You see, his father, (my ex), and I are not religious, and raised our kids to think independently for themselves, rather than just allow someone to tell them how to think. So you’ll understand when I became quite alarmed when he decided to allow the church to think for him.
Not just that, but he refuses to accept facts about the world–eg it is extremely difficult to move out of a ghetto because there are no or few social or family resources that give a person the ability to move into another socio-economic status. Basically, if you have nothing, its hard to go anywhere else. And if you stay where there is nothing, chances are you will not move out anytime soon. That point he absolutely refused to accept. I tried to go over it again and again, that it is not a choice to live in a ghetto–it is just very hard to get out of. No one chooses to live in a ghetto, or to stay there. He said he refused to believe that some people don’t have the opportunity to get out, that all people had equal opportunity to do so, and just failed. But to me, the key here was that the truth of the situation is that many people never do get that chance, and they are stuck there. He just simply refused to believe that some people may not get that chance. He said all people get the same chance to get out and he would never believe me that chance is not distributed equally to everyone, because the church says god give everyone a chance. I ended up telling him that I raised him to think independently by NOT sticking his head in the sand and blocking out information about the world and allowing himself to become an ostrich who only accepts what the church tells him. I was very upset, near tears. And he was none too happy with me either.
I have failed because he is choosing to block out valid information about the nature of the world we live in. I have failed because he is turning to an (extremely cult-like) church to have it think for him about the nature of our world. I have failed because I neither supported him (meaning to provide love while also not arguing with him), nor did I succeed in coaxing or encouraging him to be more open-minded and not deny information just because it isn’t spoon-fed to him by the church. So, I have failed in all ways as a mother to make him independent, one who thinks for himself. And I have failed also in providing him with unconditional love and respect (even tho he is being close-minded).
I am still so frustrated and upset with him! But I am now also so disappointed with myself. I failed to be the kind of mother I wanted to be, the kind of mother I wished I’d had. I have lost my son, and I am losing my self-respect as a mother. I have failed at the only job I ever had, the only job that really matters. I am worthless now. I hope I don’t fail with my daughter too. I feel like I want him to leave, to move out, to get out of my face, because he won’t accept reality, and because I know I can’t make him see reason. It really angers me that he is being so close-minded. I wish I could send him to his dads to live for the next year–but then I would have to move to a smaller place since I would lose child support for him, and that would make me break my lease and I just can’t afford all that. But I still wonder if it might come to that.