The Hyde Mansion

Parent Question: I feel like a failure as a parent that I had to send my son away to boarding school at Hyde; I couldn’t fix the anger, disrespect to teachers, us, coaches, etc… lack of motivation except for computer games…

This letting go has to do with feelings about oneself that we need to let go of. It’s hard, if the image you had of your family and of yourself as a parent was all about “togetherness and family unity,” to have to make this kind of decision and not have your kid at home.

First, ask yourself if this feeling of failure is helping you do your best job as a parent? The feelings sound like they come from a guilt of not having been a better parent and of having to reach out for help – the kind of help that meant sending your child to a boarding school.

Unfortunately, when you walked out of the hospital with your child when he was born, the hospital didn’t hand you a manual on how to parent. Even if there had been one, times change so fast that the manual would be in constant revision.

One thing that does hold constant is parenting from your instincts and taking the long view in parenting. You knew that something wasn’t working for your child to have such anger, disrespect, and lack of motivation. So you reached out for help. The help came in the form of having to let him go a little earlier than you had planned. And now you’re learning how to parent from your principles – not from guilt, fear, or control – so ultimately you did the best thing for both of you by letting go.

I have personal experience with the feeling of failure that you describe. That was because I couldn’t let go of my “Kodak picture” of what family was supposed to look like – a very unrealistic image. What I got in return after sending my child to Hyde was far greater and more honest than what my mind’s image had created. I am a better person, better parent, better partner. I am grateful I needed the help.