Yesterday, while checking whether or not the bookings app for the high school conferences (parent/teacher meetings) had been opened up, I did my usual catch up on how the boys are traveling. Things like, do they have any assignments overdue and are they being conscientious about turning up to class on time - or in some cases at all? I check both boys part out of habit, and part out of a parental need to know what is happening with my 'living away from home' child.
Yesterday I found out we haven't been privy to the whole picture. It seems when Sam was given access to his Compass and appointed 'primary parent' (an assignment which both hurt and galled me), all notes about Erik's behaviour became exclusive for her eyes only. It also seems that once he turned eighteen a couple of weeks ago, she decided her responsibility for him had ended and so she had herself removed from his account - meaning we can now get a whole picture of his status at school. It isn't pretty. He's been missing a lot of classes - something we knew - but not to sit in the Resource Centre and study as he used to, instead he's been hanging out with his various mates in rooms he shouldn't be in. He was part of a group which left graffiti on tables in a room causing the school to implement a booking system for the entire school.
Basically, he's off the rails.
At one point the teacher who covered for him all of last year - the one who claimed he was doing just fine - had to have a 'talked with him about expectations'.
I'm angry and frustrated and sad. Dave and I know our children. We know what they need and Erik has always needed strong boundaries. When Sam decided to encourage him to leave home because she believed his manipulative sob story and never even tried to verify the details with us, when she gave him 'freedom' to go out at night and choose his own subjects despite him willfully failing that level of subject time and time again, when the school ignored their own policy to give him 'another chance', when his mentor covered for his progress despite all the evidence we gathered and showed him that Erik was failing... When they all decided they knew our child better than we did...
They failed him.
We heard time and again from people that we were being 'too controlling', 'too strict' - that we needed to give him 'more freedom'. People refused to accept that Erik has always needed strong boundaries, always needed someone to help him contain himself. People refused to see that he has Autism and because he has Autism, he cannot be treated the same way as his peers. He needs structure and emotional support, and a keen eye to detect when he is manipulating people to have his own, black and white, way.
And now he is at risk of dropping out of school.
I was accused of enjoying his 'failure's by my mother. I was never enjoying his failures. I was enjoying the fact that other people were beginning to have to attempt to reign him in after giving him enough rope to hang himself. I was hoping those people might come to the realisation that involving us in our own son's life would be a good idea. I was hoping him showing his true colours and them finally trying to set the boundaries we'd been setting for him for years might be a sign that the scales had fallen from their eyes.
I have never - I repeat NEVER - enjoyed seeing my child be let down by the do-gooders who were fooled by his manipulation. I have never enjoyed watching him slide off the rails and make it so much harder for him to get back on track. I will not enjoy him most likely dropping out of school rather than become the architectural draftsman he talked about becoming, or finishing high school 'because mum didn't' And I'm not enjoying witnessing him carry on believing the rules don't apply to him because no one has cared enough to show him that he can't ignore the rules forever.
I want to say to Sam, 'Thanks a lot for failing our kid because you thought you were a better parent than us.'
I want to say to the school, 'Thanks for not applying the same boundaries to Erik that you set for your other students.'
I want to say to all the people who have judged us to be too controlling, 'Give us credit for knowing our own child. We are his parents. We love him more than anyone else in the world. We know all his moves, and we know what he needs. You only see at tiny, tiny part of what happens 'behind the scene', you have no right - NO RIGHT - to judge us on that tiny part,'
I want to rail at the world, pummel it, scream until my voice is done.
We were not finished raising out child!
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