It’s a parent’s duty to make sure they teach their kids enough lessons to get through life relatively unscathed.
Unfortunately, despite best efforts, sometimes those lessons get lost in translation and parents are forced to watch their kids fall, leaving them feeling like a failure.
That’s pretty close to what happened to one dad who took to Reddit seeking some advice:
My son is 14, soon to be 15. He has Asperger’s and sensory processing disorder. He is very high functioning and for the most part, lives a typical life for a teen.
Against the odds (he’s less than smooth, likely due to Asperger’s) he got a girlfriend in the beginning of 8th grade last year. […] When they started hanging out we spoke to our son about consent, safer sex practices, and we expressed a desire that he wait to get physical with Ann until they are both at least a bit older. My son reacted a bit childishly at the time, seemed a bit grossed out, and brushed off any need to discuss sex further.
We thought we did the right thing, had the conversation about sex, and after that didn’t worry about it.
Roughly six months after their conversation with their son, he approached them about needing to talk about something “serious.”Rick Kimpel/Flickr
The parents never expected their son would be sharing the news that he got his girlfriend pregnant:
I could not believe it. I asked him over and over if he was sure. He said he was sure, [she] showed him the pregnancy test, and she is going to tell her parents that night.
He went on to explain:
[She] seemed to be a nice girl. A year older than my son but in terms of maturity, they seemed on even terms. [She] has always been kind to my son and patient when he gets overstimulated. They got along well and we even met [her] parents at a school function. They seemed like nice, average people. […]
[Her] parents were upset at first but quickly (a little too quickly I think) they accepted it and began actually acting excited for a grandchild. I cannot relate to those feelings.
According to the father, the girlfriend never considered adoption or abortion and ended up giving birth to a healthy child. He wrote:
My wife insisted once the baby was born that a paternity test be done just to be sure my son was the father. Ann’s parents were very offended by this and it led to some tension. My son is the father.
And while the baby lives with her mother, their son has not adapted well to being a father:
My son has not enjoyed holding his daughter or caring for her. [The girlfriend] and her parents do 99% of the care for the baby but my son goes there after school each day to spend time with her and baby. He tells us he hates it. He can’t stand the baby screaming and crying. He can’t stand the smell of breast milk or poop coming from the baby. He had his first meltdown in years while at her house when the baby would not stop crying. He basically had a tantrum in front of her and her parents about not liking the baby.
As a result of the boy’s behavior, he has been banned from seeing the child.
The parents have been left feeling like they have failed. The dad said they “struggle every day to get up and face the world,” while adding that they take “full responsibility for not preventing this situation.”
Their son, on the other hand, is “thrilled to be off the hook.”
The father continued:
My SO and I have been devastated and feel like we have failed as parents and failed to be involved enough to prevent this. […]
I have no idea how to handle this situation and we are at the end of our rope. Everyone else involved seems ready to let my son off the hook in terms of responsibly to this child except my wife and I. But we don’t know what the right thing to do is.
How would you handle a situation like this?