Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Worst Nightmare

Over at Reddit is this frightening post where this parent describes the problems he's having with his 17 year old child.
Our oldest has, in the last two years, done the following:
-set fires in the house
-attempted to strangle his mentally disabled brother
-stolen alcohol, hundreds of pills, and drunk bottles of vanilla extract in an attempt to get high
-carved cabinets with knives
-took knives to school and threatened classmates
-made threats to kill everyone in church and burn it down
-sneaks girls in the house, unprotected sex, sexting, etc.
-broken several pieces of electronic equipment by slamming it down in rage
-peed and pooped on a classmate's backpack for fun
-stolen money from both us and his siblings
-animal abuse, can't leave him with siblings
-lies constantly, manipulates everyone he comes in contact with
-sexual harassment of young girls ages 13 or younger
-consistently poor grades
Jesus. What do you do if you have a child like that? It seems apparent that the kid as some serious psychiatric problems. The parents sound both very patient and sincere, and it doesn't sound like they've refused to impose discipline. Although all the lack of discipline in the world doesn't make teenagers act this way. It's like you've got Kim Jong Il as your son, or Uday Hussein, or Charles Manson.

Your children have the ability to make your life into a complete miserable hell. And once you've had them, you're stuck. No matter how awful they are, you're legally obligated to keep looking after them until they're 18.

But that's not the full extent of the problem. Even once the kid is 18, suppose the parents kick him out of the house. It seems highly unlikely that this will actually be the end of the problem. If anything, you run the risk that he'll try to burn your house down or something - it seems more likely than him deciding to just peacefully leave you alone.

But even suppose you do manage to sever contact. What happens when your kid murders someone in 5 years time? No matter how much you try to detach yourself, you're going to go through incredible turmoil and sadness, and wonder if you might have been able to do something different.

And there's no good answer. There's not even an answer that qualifies as merely 'bad'. You'd try to get the kid committed, I suppose, but when that's the best option, you're in a lot of trouble.

Having children is a huge lottery, with a wide range of possible outcomes. I think that when potential parents visualise the kind of unlucky outcomes that might occur, they tend to think of things like having severely disabled children that will require lifelong care. But that's not the really worrying case - disabled children will be hard work, but probably will also be a source of a great deal of joy.

No, the much worse case is having children who are just incurably, irredeemably evil and nasty, no matter what you do.

l'enfer, c'est les autres, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment