Saturday, September 18, 2010

My 14 year old is leaving home!

Bradley is off to Johannesburg to live with his sister. I have seen my son grow increasingly unhappy and frustrated and become a different person this year since starting High School and I have come to realise that he is not ready for this experience.
I know that part of his anger and frustration and also the personality changes has got a lot to do with teenage hormones but I am not prepared to let everything slide and just hope for the best like I did with Dael. The best does not usually happen. Robynne and I have researched home schooling for Bradley as an option and we feel it has a good chance of working out for him. If it doesn't there are schools in Johannesburg in which we can place him, which KwaZulu Natal does not have. There is an extreme lack of remedial schools in this region to handle learning problems and disabilities.
So probably at the end of next week, Bradley and I will be travelling up to Johannesburg by bus to settle him in at his sister's house and while I am up there, to arrange for an assessment to be done and final applications to be submitted. Bradley is very excited at the prospect of his changed surroundings and is eager to go. I have alerted his current school to the fact that he will be leaving at the end of this term and not returning. The original plan was to keep him on at the school until the end of the year but his extreme negativity every day at the prospect of going to school has persuaded me that to keep him there will just be a waste of time. He has failed 3 out of 4 terms and would probably not have passed the year. Rather than wasting the remainder of the year, we can get him assessed to establish his level of knowledge and get him started on the homeschool curriculum.
On many levels, I am rebelling at my youngest, my baby leaving home at such a young age but on another level I can see that it is necessary. Familiarity has bred contempt. I see flashes of the closeness and affection from before but these are quickly stifled and shoved down under an attitude of toughness and masculinity. I feel the loss of my last fledgling and this loss is shoved in my face daily by this young stranger who has invaded my son's body. He needs to be away from me to appreciate what he has here and to experience the discipline that his sister and his father will dish out to him. He needs to experience new things and be away from the stifling mother influence. He needs to grow up.
I also need peace. It is a tenuous peace between Dael and Bradley. One a frustrated 20 year old, the other a frustrated 14 year old. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. One demands respect, the other determined not to give it. They have reached a stalemate with each other. They need distance from each other to each find his own way. It means I must see my family separated and be separated from my children. But I have to be the grownup and facilitate these changes. I have roots where I am now. It is not an option to move to Johannesburg myself. My dad has had a fall recently and although given a clean bill of health, still constantly suffers from dizzy spells when standing up or straightening up after leaning down. I have my house, my cats that are settled here, Dael who likes to live in this area. This may not always be the case but at the moment this is how it is.
So my 14 year old leaves home and starts a new life and routine in Johannesburg. Not quite empty nest yet but getting close...


  1. I know it must be sad....change is hard, but I will be praying that all works together for good.

  2. It's a brave decision but I think it will be a good experience for him. I can't relate to it directly, but I know it must be tough. Just take comfort knowing this will no doubt help him.

  3. Ooohh, that is going to be hard! But you are having your son's best interests at heart and you are putting it above your need to have him with you. that is admirable.

  4. Gosh, I would find that so hard.

  5. What a mix of emotions. Even with little ones, we have to let them move on. I can imagine your ups and downs. The growth of a mother right along side her son.

  6. You are brave my friend. I find it hard to let go at the age of 21;-D

  7. Annette - Thank you for your prayers. It would be worse if Bradley didnt want to go but he is keen.

    Griever - It will be tough but as ever I will just take it one day at a time. We are every hopeful and positive that this will be a turning point for Bradley.

    Cat - It will be hard but I have been prepared by my daughter leaving home at 19 and although she was older I missed my daughter a lot. Bradley is going to live with her and I think they will both benefit from this.

    Susan - All growth hurts. I hope this growing doesnt hurt too much.

    Spear - Mixed emotions because sometimes he drives me crazy. Having said that I didnt give birth to children only to have them living separately from me. I am sure I will miss him like crazy.

    Lynette - I had my moments when I wanted to change my mind but there were a few fights with me and issues at school that made me see that him moving is imperative at the moment. He needs to be removed from the source of his stress.

    Lulu - Not so brave but we do what needs to be done. I am sure you would do the same if the situation warranted it. Thank you.

  8. Hectic, momcat. I'm amazed at how level-headed you are. Praying that Joburg suits your youngest and that it works out well for everyone.