My Mother Told Me To Give Up My Disobedient Son To Focus On My Other Kids

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teen boy

I have 3 boys.

They’re adults now, but had they been some of the 7 Dwarfs when they were younger, I could have called them Brainy, Naughty, and Hungry.

The oldest, Brainy was the precocious know-it-all — smart as a whip and content to let everyone know it. Everything he tried came easy to him: science, math, music, you name it, he excelled at it.

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The youngest, Hungry, loves — and still loves — to eat. I’ve never seen a small child eat so much. At 7, he could polish off more than a grown man and still come back an hour later looking for more.

Then there was Naughty, my squeaky wheel. He always needed more attention than the other two. He was always difficult.

He threw tantrums as a toddler, lots of them. One saw him strip himself naked in the middle of a mall during the Christmas shopping season. Another involved him reaching over and grabbing a chocolate bar I said he couldn’t have while in line at the grocery store. He snatched it and took a big bite out of it, wrapper and all. I had no choice but to buy it. 

Fast forward to 2007. I was in law school. Naughty was acting up. He was 15. He was skipping school, drinking, lying, and generally being an unpleasant human.

I knew where it came from. He’d had an unexplained seizure when he was two and a half weeks and spent a week in the hospital. He was abused by a family member on his father’s side. He had reasons to be angry — and he was.

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And that’s where my mother’s advice came in. After growing up with her hating me, she somehow found a great love for me once I started going to law school.

Suddenly she cared. Suddenly I was her favorite. She told everyone and anyone who would listen about her daughter who was working so hard to become a lawyer.

I remember telling her about my struggles with my son. The constant stream of phone calls and police visits was weighing heavily on me.

Add to that two other kids, a heavy course load, and a 90-minute drive every day: to say I was exhausted and desperate was an understatement of epic proportions. I seriously thought about taking a year off from school.

Her advice? Dump the kid. Yeah, you read that right. Give him Naughty. Turn him in. Place him in a foster home so that he didn't get in the way of my “schooling."

Chilly, no?

Now, I understand not letting anything stand in the way of your dreams, but your own child? What the?

Since when is it a solution to just dump your child when things get tough? Of course, this advice came from the same woman that threatened to send me to “the bad girl's home" every time I didn’t do exactly what she wanted when she wanted.

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It seemed that my son — a child who already had trust issues after the abuse at the hands of a family member — might be even more traumatized if his own mother dropped him off with strangers. But hey, I’m just the boy’s mother, what do I know?

Who in their right mind says what my mother suggested? It’s been years and thinking about it, I’m still pissed. Seriously, who thinks that’s a solution?

Spoiler alert: I didn’t dump my own. I also didn’t quit law school. Instead, I continued to love him. I continued to send him to counseling and rehab. I graduated from law school.

He’s not perfect and he still struggles. But he’s a strong, handsome young man with a good job and a tender heart.

I shudder to think where he’d be if I’d listened to my mother’s "advice."

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Misty Rae is a mother and writer. Follow her on Medium

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.