Our family lives in a large urban apartment complex. Last year we met another family at a neighborhood watch meeting. Mom was abandoned by her husband in Mexico during a bout with brain cancer. By God’s grace, she was healed physically, and moved her family to Orlando. She and her five children live in one of the apartments here. My wife and I have been helping her resist some family pressure to join a dangerous cult called La Luz del Mundo. She works very hard to provide for her children and is a wonderful example. But she is overwhelmed with her kids. My wife and I help with the younger ones. She works with the girls, aged 12 and 10. They go to Mass and a youth group on Sundays, and also to a charismatic group with us on Wednesday. I try to concentrate on helping the 13 year old boy. He is very respectful to me, but he misbehaves at school. He’s much bigger than his classmates and gets into fights. He just got suspended and is in danger of being expelled. When the kids come over to watch ministry videos, he is just as interested as the girls, but when I try to talk to him about other kids at school, problems, etc., he stays quiet. He is a special education student, and I’m concerned he’s slipping through the cracks. I don’t know what would happen to him if his mom sends him to the county adolescent boot camp, like she’s been threatening. I’m afraid he will meet worse kids and end up in prison in a few years. Please pray for him and all children of broken families. In addition, if anyone has any advice for us, please send it through this thread. It will help us and others in similar situations who may be reading along. Reply soon, as his mom has only a few days to get him into the boot camp for the rest of this semester and she’s just about at the end of her rope. - David
David, I applaud your family helping theirs and will pray for God to strengthen you and help the situation.
Welcome to the forum. God has truly bless you. Keep up the good work.
Is he getting appropriate services from the school district in terms of his special needs and educational requirements? Can the mother call the counseling office at his school and request some guidance and strategies (that do not entail sending him away to boot camp) for supporting him?
Is there a special interest he has which you or his mother could capitalize upon and encourage so as to help him feel successful at something? Perhaps he is struggling at school and being made fun of which is why he gets into so many fights. CYO sports, woodworking, music? Even something like fishing or hiking or frisbee, something he could do with you and feel some peace. The more physical the better. Even if he’s uncoordinated, it doesn’t have to be a team sport–since it might create some insecurity–but there are plenty of individually athletic things to do which might help create a hobby and an outlet for some of his frustration and esteem issues.
most dioceses that have a large Hispanic population have a special ministry for these teens that focuses on developing leadership, peer ministry and addressing the problems that you cite. Contact the youth ministry office of your diocese and see if they can direct you to some further help for this young man, and God bless you for being the caring presence in his life to help replace the absent father. unfortunately, there is little you can do to help heal the damage the father did by leaving, but maybe there is a way for this youth and you can help him find it.
Thank you all for replying so quickly and for your prayers and advice. Just a quick update about our young man. He and his two sisters accompanied my wife and I to a Diocesan Eucharistic Conference over the weekend and Bishop Wensky gave him a special blessing. My wife and I wanted to take him bowling after the conference, but one of his friends came over and he decided to stay home. His mom told me she has noticed a change in him since we began to talk with him about Jesus and take him to the youth group. She has decided to put off sending him to the youth boot camp and see if he follows through with better behavior. I’m currently looking to start coaching a local Pop Warner football team. He really likes football and shouldn’t have much difficulty at 6’1" 220 (and only 13 years old)! God bless you all. Never stop praying for our young people, and please keep the advice coming. Your brother, David.
God bless those who take care of the poor and the weak!
Our prayers are with you and your efforts. One suggestion that I can make because of a similiar experience is to take him for a visit to either a Boot Camp or a Juvenile Detention Center. My wife works at the local Juvenile Detention Center and we know what the usual outcome is (and its not good news). Our Parish is involved in ministering to these youths but often times they have had too many years of not fully realizing the consequences they will have to endure. These visits usually can be a BIG eye opener and better yet have a lasting affect. It goes without saying (but I’ll mention it anyway) that a long with this type coping a lot of exposure to an alternative (usually displayed through Church Youth Groups) is in order.
Never give up - it’s never too late - Saith the Lord!