16 and kicked out of home - nothing could make me do it
"MUM, can James stay here tonight? His Mum kicked him out because he took $2 out of her wallet and he has nowhere to go", asked Miss 16 the other day.
She knew I would say yes. So James stayed with us for a couple of nights before moving on to stay with another friend before finally moving in with his older brother.
I couldn't fix what was happening in his family … all I could do was offer up a spare bed, a hot shower and some home-cooked food. I wish I could do more for James and all the teens who are "couch surfing" because of problems at home.
I know teenagers can be difficult to live with - unbearable even- but I can't think of anything my kids could do that would make me kick them out.
I know some teens develop problems with drugs, violence, anger, alcohol and just plain old bad attitudes but I just can't see that kicking them out can ever be a part of the solution.
I've been so angry with my kids that I don't want to hear what they have to say, I don't even want to see them and I certainly have absolutely nothing nice to say to them or about them.
So we slam doors, yell at each other and then give each other some space until we get over it and move on. And eventually we talk about whatever caused the blow up.
I can understand parents feeling so helpless about serious issues like drug and alcohol abuse that they might WANT to kick them out but actually doing it is something I just can't imagine.
Couch surfing might sound cool but for the kids who are relying on friends for a bed each night life is anything but fun. Imagine having nowhere to relax, nowhere to keep your stuff and feeling that nobody in the world is on your side.
Does spending some time living like this suddenly fix whatever the problems were at home…do they see the light and come home a changed child?
Maybe I've been lucky, maybe my kids have been lucky or maybe I'm a soft touch but I could never kick my kids out of home.