My oldest son, 15, has a lot of friends. He has more female friends than male friends and he is very protective of those girls. In fact, he is very protective of all of his friends. He is very content with his home life and doesn’t really have a lot of gripes but the closer he gets to these other kids, the more upset he gets over their situations.
I’ve always made certain he understands that if anything were to escalate beyond what he feels he can handle emotionally that I will always be there to help him make the right decisions. I encourage him to be a good support for his friends within reason, as long as it does not impact his grades and his personal emotional well-being. With that said, he came to me last night with some grave concerns.
He was visibly shaken and upset, and he sat down with me for a heart to heart about a couple of friends he is worried about. While at a friend’s house last night, her parents began their usual verbal abuse towards their daughter. She is 15 and very sensitive (as is every 15 year old girl I’ve ever met) and she ran off.
Her older brother is physically aggressive towards her as well, frequently beating up on her. I worry about my son getting so angry in these situations because I am concerned he will get into a physical altercation. While he is a wonderful kid with a huge heart, he has a very violent streak when provoked.
Last night, he was provoked.
The girl ran off from her home and he went after her, ending up a couple miles up the road at a school. Another girl that was there attempted to step onto the road into oncoming traffic. It was so much for him to handle that he called me and asked us to pick him up immediately. Then he began receiving texts from the girl attempting to end her life, saying she just did not want to live anymore, that her pain was too much to handle.
My son took an emotional nosedive, telling me about everything that was going on and how he wasn’t sure what he could or should do. Even though I had previously told him that if there was ever a moment that he felt things were too much to handle I would help him find the best resolution possible, I was without answers.
We sat and he unloaded on me about this suicidal girl. He told me she had unsuccessfully tried to kill herself before and has scars up the inside of her forearms from her wrists to her elbows. He is concerned that if she had a moment where she would be dead before being “rescued” or discovered she would take that opportunity to end her life.
I remember being a 15 year old girl, I remember feeling like I wanted to die. I was bullied and harassed, humiliated and belittled. I was moved every 6 months or so from one family member to another, with no real foundation or stable home. I know that feeling, and being there myself at a point in my own life left me paralyzed in my memories, unable to think of a good option.
I looked at him and told him in the future, if he ever finds himself alone in a situation that he cannot handle again that he needs to call 911, and then call me. The police are best able to handle these girls, and get them immediate help if needed. Inside I felt my heart breaking for him, for these girls, and for everything he feels responsible for.
The advice I’ve given him while growing up to always stand strong for what you believe in, and to stick up for the little guy, and to always have an open heart and mind for the less fortunate has turned around and bitten us both in the ass.
I thought I was doing the right thing by making sure my son wasn’t going to be the bully. My advice has pushed him to the further extreme where he feels like he needs to clean up after everyone else. He sticks up for the kids getting bullied, gets himself into bad situations he never should be involved in, and he’s always a rock for his friends. Then I see him come home and fall apart without the answers he needs to effectively get through it.
He came home on Friday and told me one of his friends who is a very small kid is being bullied pretty bad. That protective nature of his has also kicked in there and he “informed” me that if these kids jump his friend he doesn’t care if he gets arrested, suspended, or expelled, he is not going to stand by and watch this kid get hurt.
What am I supposed to do? Now he has one friend getting bullied in a bad way, one girl getting verbally abused on a daily basis and running away from home, and another girl who wants to end her life for reasons she will not tell my son.
I put in a call to the school counselor, they are trained to deal with these types of situations. I am so not capable of dealing with this crap!
On his way out the door this morning he turned around, smiled at me and said “Love you mom, very much” and I felt my knees get weak and started to cry as he headed out for the bus. I wish I could take these burdens from him, bottle them up, and keep him from hurting so much.
If I could hug each of those girls that he is struggling to protect, and let them know that their lives are important and take some of their pain away I would. Unfortunately, the only one I can do that with is my own and that is something I am struggling to accept.
Depressed teen photo available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 24 Apr 2012