When People Around You Push You to the Limit

@mjmlagat (3171)
Philippines
October 3, 2008 11:44pm CST
I am posting this discussion because honestly, I need your advice. My husband and I came to know this ragged ballboy at the tennis court who was then, without a game to attend to, begged for food from players. When we interviewed him, he belonged to a family of 7 kids, the mother worked as a househelp in Manila and the father is a drunkard. The rest of his siblings were taken care of by an older siste who is jobless and married.Because he had manifested diligence and good manner in the tennis court as we have been observing him, we offered to bring him home, clothe him (he had just a shirt and a short on since he cannot bring other clothings because they were also worn by his other siblings), feed him and educate him since he was only attending grade3 at his age of 14. He was receive warmly and treated by all of us just like he was family. Since he's quite small for his age, he's only assigned to wipe the car and clean the dog house as his contribution to our division of labor at home being a member of our family. It went well for two years now but just lately, we noticed something different about this kid's attitude. He doesn't give us a hand on his assigned chores anymore, and when our house-help reminds him of his ssignment, he talks back arrogantly, slams doors and stuffs purposely. We were really surprised to have noticed such a terrible attitude of this kid since we didn't know him to be such! We confronted him lately because when we receive his report card, the Character part of it was all D's! Is there something wrong with him that we just didn't notice at first because he was then pretending to be good? I'm just confused! His courtesy and manners are slowly diminishing that my husban is already irritated with such attitude, cosidering that he is already a part of our family. What could have gone wrong with this kid? Is it still safe for us to have him in our family? He will be graduating elementary next year and if we let go of him, isn't it a burden of guilt on our part? His parents didn't even look for him, and his father didn't even know when was his birthday! I really appreciate your opinion. Thank you.
1 person likes this
8 responses
• United States
4 Oct 08
It sounds to me like maybe he is acting out for some reason. Have you asked him what is bothering him? Could you afford to get some counseling of some sort for him? Perhaps it is just a teenage rebellion thing. I know that he should think of your feelings and all since you've been so kind and generous to him...but at the age of 16(?), most kids aren't fully developed emotionally. He may just be angry and confused because of his upbringing...maybe he's angry because his family doesn't give a damn about him....his biological family that is. Whatever is going on, I hope you can all work though this. I applaud you for taking him under your wing. I wish more people in this world had the compassion that you and your husband do.
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
4 Oct 08
I wish the same thing too because there are still many of his likes who just sleep on the tennis court bleachers in the coldness of the night with no food or less. We have been trying to let him speak out what's in his mind but he just won't! So we tried to let our house-help talk to him for the hope of getting something from his thoughts but still no avail. Maybe we njust need to lengthen our patience more for him? For how long?!
@phoenix25 (1543)
• United States
4 Oct 08
You need to be patient with him. The worst thing you could do right now is to give up on him. He probably needs to understand that someone cares about him and that you will not give up on him because of his behavior. Children in this situation will often act out to try to "test" their families to see if they really want them and will really stick by them. It might be a tumultuous time for you and your family, but the worst thing you could do right now is to hand him off to someone else because it would just add to the feelings that he's probably experiencing right now from living with a different family and not being wanted or cared for by his own family.
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
6 Oct 08
okay, thanks for your advice.
@glords (2615)
• United States
4 Oct 08
Its wonderful that there are people like you and your husband. It takes a lot of love to raise and care for a child that is not your own. I think that it is normal for a child to have behavior issues after surviving so much neglect and abuse in early childhood. I think that he is truly in need of counseling. If you are living in the United States I would suggest you contact family services. I'm sure that they can offer free counseling and other resources to aid you in caring for this child. I will pray for you and your family.
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
6 Oct 08
Thank you very much glords. We don't live in the USA but we're doing our best to make things work for this kid. I hope we can still lengthen our patience with him and he can also work at his end to make us all happy inside our family.
@glords (2615)
• United States
6 Oct 08
I think that you and your husband are amazing people. The work that you are doing with this one child can affect hundreds and thousands of people. I will pray for you and your family. Good luck in your endeavors.
@Hatley (164507)
• Garden Grove, California
6 Oct 08
hi mjmlagat I am wondering something. did you sort of adopt him informally as one of the family,giving him the same love you give your own children or is he just a person you are helping, and you give him the feeling that hes just a charity project. kids when they reach age 16 know bullsh**t when they see it, and they resent being a charity project. If he is changing maybe he is hurting, wanting to be really a part of the family and not just your latest charity project . You dont speak of him as a real partof your family, just as a do good project and theres such a difference. he could well be hurting,did you take him in solely as an unpaid sort of servant? I sense something is just not right here. I get the feeling that you remind him of how good you have made it for him, and this wo uld really cause resentment. If you really feel he is one of your family talk to him as you do to your own kids, and be kind but not condescending. nobody wants to be thought of as a charity project.If he is still just that raggedf ballboy to you let him go back to his own f amily.
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
6 Oct 08
You are entitled to your own opinion and I hope you are being responsible for your way of judging us and the situation. You cannot just judge people out of limited details. Only GOD has the ULTIMATE right to judge people! Thanks, anyway.
• Malaysia
5 Oct 08
Hi mjmlagat, really feel great that in this world still have kind person like you. Believe the world would be full of love if majority of the people is like you.=) I believe there must be something that you need to figure out, need to understand more on why it become that. I know that would not be an easier job as he might just ignore you for whatever reasons. But if you manage to find out the cause, it will totally change and ease for your future education then. All the best to you and him.=)
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
6 Oct 08
Thanks evon for the response. Have a great day ahead!
@PrarieStyle (2495)
• United States
4 Oct 08
Good for you for bring him home. Of course there is something going on. First of all he's a teenager. Second, his parents don't care about him and it's probably starting to bother him. And, he might be worried about his younger siblings and feeling guilty that he has such a good home and they are left with the uncaring parents. Just like any other teen, he probably can't tell you what's bothering him because he probably doesn't know himself. I think maybe you need to punish him by taking away privileges if he doesn't do his chores and maybe you could get him some counseling.
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
6 Oct 08
Yes, so I thought. It's just very difficult to get into his mind, he's as silent as a heated oil in a pan.
@rocker21 (2717)
• India
4 Oct 08
Its not safe to keep him in your family or as a part of it ., trust me he can be fatal to you!
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
6 Oct 08
We are alreay apprehensive because of his manifested negative attitudes. Thank you for your response.
@phoenix25 (1543)
• United States
4 Oct 08
This sounds like the type of thing that can generally happen with adopted children, which I would consider this child as he is from another family and is now a part of your family. Have you also considered that this situation is just being exacerbated by the fact that he is now about 16 years old? Teenagers can be tough and adopted teenagers can be tougher. Perhaps is is just now trying to come to gripse with the fact that he was poorly cared for and possibly not wanted by his other family. You might want to try talking to him and trying to get him to open up a little bit about his personal feelings. If that doesn't work, have you thought about taking him to a counselor? If you were to talk to any adoption agency, they would tell you that this kind of thing can happen, especially for children that are placed with a family when they are older. I'm not sure why it was good for 2 years and now it has gotten bad, but I think it might have something to do with his age and the fact that he's probably going through late puberty, which is likely especially if he was undernourished and small for his age. If he has begun to feel lost and confused about his place in life, it can only be made worse by the influx of teenage hormones that he is experiencing right now.
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
4 Oct 08
Okay, thank you for being so informative, your thoughts really help me. I hope we coul work things out with this kid because we really wanted to help his schooling all through out--this is his only way to evade the hardship experienced by his family. Right now, a younger brother of this kid is already wandering at the same tenis court having the same situations he had before.
• Malaysia
4 Oct 08
hi mjm, you are really a kind soul... i have come across many people having this "ungrateful" character in them ... it is normal, for teenagers to rebel at around a certain age ... Think of him as your own kid, continue providing what you can afford ... we will not kick out our own flesh and blood when they behave abnormal ... Give him the "alone" time he seeks, do not nag him ... ask him what he wants, to continue studies or not ... If yes help him, if not then let him go ... If his atitute goes overboard, until in endangers the safety of yourself and family... then it is time to let go slowly In house work, or assignment, somehow dont let him feel that you have him around only to help you with work, but to share love ... Have you tried going on a enjoyable holiday together ... maybe that could help Keep updating on the status cheers
@mjmlagat (3171)
• Philippines
4 Oct 08
Thanks for the advice. Yes, we bring him along with us if we go to the beach, we go to church, and if we shop something for our kids, we buy something for him, too, just to let him feel that he is just like our own. And regarding the assigned chnores to him, I dn't think it's heavy work for him to wipe the car and clean the dog house? All of us are doing our share for the family.