The truth is, when the ugly stuff hits…
when your kid is sneaking out at night
putting on a fake mask at church
drinking at school
You may get blamed. You may be criticized, sometimes from the people you would LEAST expect it.
In our case, our homeschool friends blamed the fact that we “weren’t discipling our children well enough” or “because you let her to go public school for high school”.
Whereas our church friends who didn’t homeschool were quick to blame homeschooling “You sheltered her too much” and “We always knew she wasn’t a good kid.”
From family members we heard “You spoiled her” and “You must not love her as much as the other kids, to send her away like you are.”
And none of these were true. We were damned if we did and damned if we didn’t. Yes, we sent our daughter to Teen Challenge when she was 15. Yes, it’s a decision that has haunted me for the 11 years since then. I have deep regrets about it. But we did it because we honestly thought we had no other options. No help was offered. No alternatives were suggested. We were grasping at straws and this was the only one that was available to us.
The truth is that the choices a teenager makes are not your fault.
Our family made a perfect feast for the critics and naysayers, and nothing was off limits.
On the flip side, the other reaction we got was Avoidance. People didn’t understand. They didn’t know what to say, so we got a passing “We will pray for you”, and never heard from them again. Our “church family” turned out to be nothing more than a group of acquaintances who didn’t want to dirty themselves by getting involved. They were self-righteous, and although we had heard of righteous anger, what we experienced was righteous blame.
It was like we had a disease that the perfect Christians didn’t want to catch.
You cannot please everyone. Doing the right thing for your kids means raising them the way you feel works best for your family. Some will not like it. And God forbid your child decides to use his own free will and do something… drastic. People will blame you.
After she came home, there were some parents who didn’t want their kids to associate with her. We had lived through the hardest year of our lives as parents, and came out on the other side truly seeing who our friends were. We distanced ourselves from many whom we had previously considered friends, and it began my deconstruction in a BIG way.