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Boys Town Helps Put Family’s Happy Ending within Reach

Lisa was finally going to have everything she always imagined.

She had often dreamed of a storybook life, surrounded by her loving family and living in a house with a white picket fence. When the 18-year-old fell in love with her boyfriend and became pregnant, she thought it was just the beginning of her happy journey.

But not long after their son Joshua was born, Lisa’s dreams began to turn into a nightmare.  

Lisa had quit school after her junior year, so without a high school diploma, she wasn’t able to get a job. With no steady employment, buying a house was out of the question.

She tried to stay optimistic, but her seemingly great boyfriend disappointed her as well. Finding his marijuana pipe stuffed in Joshua’s diaper bag told Lisa he wasn’t ready to be a father.

So Lisa and Joshua moved in with her mother, hoping to regroup and start over. But as Joshua got older, his behavior got progressively worse. At age 2, he was out of control, throwing violent tantrums and sending Lisa into a spiral of depression.

One particularly bad day, Joshua’s defiance in a toy store pushed Lisa over the edge. She began to hit her son. A bystander stepped in to stop her and the authorities were contacted.

While Lisa was fortunate to maintain custody of Joshua, the incident made her realize her life was completely out of control. She gladly accepted a local agency’s referral to Boys Town South Florida.  

Lisa soon was working with Jennifer, a Family Consultant with Boys Town’s In-Home Family Services Program ®. During home visits with Lisa, Jennifer immediately recognized that the young mother was caught in a vicious cycle. Lisa wanted to work to support herself and Joshua, but her lack of education made it difficult for someone to hire her. Even if she found a job, it would be hard for Lisa to find someone who would watch Joshua because of his frequent tantrums. And then there was Lisa’s depression. Some mornings, she felt so defeated she couldn’t even get out of bed.

Though Lisa’s challenges were daunting, Jennifer was undeterred.

She introduced Lisa to a multitude of different parenting techniques that would help her discipline Joshua more effectively. As Lisa gained confidence in the parenting abilities, she genuinely began to enjoy her relationship with her son again and Joshua’s behaviors changed for the better.

Jennifer also helped Lisa begin to find joy in life again by discovering her own self-worth. She helped Lisa find a job, work on getting her GED and make arrangements for friends and relatives to babysit Joshua when needed. Jennifer also introduced Lisa to a therapy program, where she began treatment for her depression.

Lisa and Joshua still have a long road of healing ahead. And Lisa’s dreams now are of being a good mother for her son and making a good life for her family. With the continued help of Jennifer and Boys Town South Florida, Lisa is determined to make those dreams come true.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names and details may be changed, and stock photos may be used, to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.