We lost Cassidy this week, she is moving in with her boyfriend’s father. We’re both hurting. I’m not angry at Cass, I went into this contract knowing that it is one sided, that children take without necessarily giving back, that at any point in time we could lose her. I know I’m strong enough to cope with this. The whole event has made me aware of things that upset me tremendously. I wrote a blog in May of my fear of the future we’re creating. It attracted quite a bit of attention and I hope this one will do the same.
Cassidy fought our rules and boundaries since the first day she moved in with us. Initially I was worried that we were too strict, but boundaries and structure is what I believe gives children safety. I also know that as a teenager I fought every rule my parents put in place. I wasn’t allowed to let my boyfriend visit after school while my parents weren’t home – he was there every day. I wasn’t allowed to use my mom’s car to go to school – when they were away I used it for school. I smoked, I drank, we even bunked school while using my mom’s car to bunk! Fighting boundaries are normal to a teenager. Cass often spoke to the school psychologist about it our strict and in her eyes unreasonable rules. The last event was when we switched our DSTV off, which Cass thought was to punish her. It wasn’t, it was to save money wasted on something we believe doesn’t add value to our lives. Again the school psychologist got involved, this time resulting in ger somehow convincing the lawyer that our environment is not good enough.
This woman has been part of Cassidy’s story since early in her life. I understand that she has probably created a soft spot in her heart for Cass, but when we stepped in we took over the role of caregiver. Still this woman would stick her fingers and nose in her life, and make judgements on the couple of sessions she had with her and seeing her at school. She never spoke to us to find out the adults’ side of the story. This woman has decided that the environment at Cass’ boyfriend house is a happier environment by listening to one side of the story, the teenager who by normal teenager standards will push boundaries. The same environment where a teenage boy believes he is a vampire, the same environment where a teenage girl has no personal hygiene, pride or social skills, and where there are no boundaries. From day one of us entering her life the school kept muddying the waters. There was never any transparency with the legal proceedings – the school would arrange meetings and documents and half of the time we had to nag them to find out by when they will have things done. The same school psychologist suggested we take Cass to the police station to do an affidavit that she is living with us. She made promises to take Cass three times, each time she would get worked up and then the psychologist would cancel. Eventually we took her only to find out it isn’t necessary. Looking back now we never had a chance with them only sharing a tenth of the information and never getting our input on what we see in Cass’ life. Our feeling is that eventually the psychologist just couldn’t handle Cass doing what teenagers do – fighting boundaries, and she chose the easy path. We have a saying – if you want a hard life, do the easy things; if you want an easy life, do the hard things. As a parent it is hard to have to argue about rules and boundaries, and often we do things for ourselves that children feel unfair to them, like saving money by cutting luxuries, moving house, but these are necessary and teach children how to deal with life events. This woman who doesn’t see the filter Cass sees life through has decided to give Cass the easy way out. Is this what this school teaches children? Keep throwing tantrums and bitching and you’ll get what you want?!?!? Has she EVER tried that in real life? And this woman has the power to f$&@k up 900 children’s lives every single year?
Does she know that Cass sees life through a filter that people will always stab you in the back? Does she know that Cass believes you will always only get hurt by people? Does she know that Cass believes it is a cut throat world out there? Does she understand that Cass is used to people leaving her an subconsciously she is probably creating this, and that she needs help to break this cycle? Does she know that Cass is the most spiritually connected teenager I have ever met? Does she know that Cass is a master manipulator? Obviously not because she’s been manipulated into giving Cass exactly what she asked for. My second problem with this woman’s involvement in Cass’ life is that she is not teaching her that she is where she is in her life due to her own choices. Cassidy has a big victim mentality, nothing is ever her fault, and she believes she is where she is due to other people. We started creating this awareness for her, but it is a very long journey and it took us 8 months for her to start seeing it. With this woman always jumping in and trying to be the saviour Cassidy will never realise that it was her choice that got her where she is now. When the man who she lives with now cannot support her emotionally when she is upset about how unfair the school system is, will she realise that she chose this man to support her? No, it will be the school psychologist’s fault, in her eyes. Cass can barely choose between chocolate or vanilla ice cream. At which point will the school step back and show her how to make decisions to navigate her life? Does Cass even realise that her decision to write a BBM status that hanged her dirty laundry out is what put these events on the go? Does she realise that it was her decision to make this post public that resulted in, ultimately, what she has wanted all along?
My biggest gripe with the school is that this whole process was initiated probably 2 or more weeks ago. If the school made this visible to us from day one, would I have tried to stop them? No, just like when we found out on Thursday I said with all the love in my heart that if that is where she wants to go, then she must go. They put Cassidy and her boyfriend in a position where she had to keep a secret and effectively backstab us. For more than a week Cass was constantly complaining how Crawford people are backstabbers and kids that call them friends in front of you would tell another kid how awful you are. I didn’t connect at the time that it is because she was standing with the knife behind my back. It is not the first incident like this. The principal called the kids in and asked questions about a teacher because they are worried about this teacher’s performance, but then told the children to not say anything. I am shocked to find out that who we think are adults, and even worse, educators, expect children to be in a position where they can’t face another adult in the eye because they were asked to keep a secret. I have performance managed one of my staff and I KNOW that you must be even more transparent and clear throughout this process than normal! This school is teaching our children that you have to backstab people, that you cannot trust people who have shown you nothing but love to still support and love you in your most difficult decisions!! And thanks to this a whole lot of unnecessary drama was created on Thursday night, drama that could have changed Cass decision into a loving supported one instead of one where she had to be rushed away in shock and trauma.
What confuses me most of all with this decision is that the report the lawyer gave me was that we have made a significant positive impact in Cassidy’s life and she has started making more friends again, started creating her own identity instead of being a shadow of her boyfriend’s identity. But then in the same breath they make the call that she will be happier in a different house. A house where her boyfriend will probably start employing his old manipulating tricks on her because she is now in his company 24/7 and there aren’t outsiders who can question this boy’s integrity and love towards her. How in the hell is this healthy? Yet another person I thought was aware enough to at least make logical sound decisions, place her with someone else if our rules are so strict, or tell us to drop our rules, but putting her under the same roof as her boyfriend? At 16? Seriously?
This school is a school where parents pay R100,000 per year to have their children educated. One where teachers don’t show up for lessons, children whose parents throw tantrums get better results, children that get away with improper dress codes because it is easier to turn a blind eye than actually send them home when their skirts are too shorts or they are wearing the wrong shoes. This school is teaching kids that easy choices will get them through life. No wonder we have thousands of children with degrees but no jobs.
Because this is the future our educators are creating….