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My story recounts my struggling relationship with my father across my life and how it has changed me as a person. When I was first born, my father was still in high school and was constantly causing trouble and hanging with the wrong groups. He was always doing something to be shunned by the people around him which threw him into a rebellious part of his life. This is the beginning of our rough relationship.

When I would be sent to spend the weekend with my Dad, I was constantly in a horrible mood and always crying to go home because of the different environment and rougher attitude I had never experienced. This was the first big cause of our struggling relationship in me absolutely hating whenever I had to visit.

Because of this, I began to see my dad less and less because of my constant crying and whining of never wanting to visit him. Now that I have become older, I can see that the imagery of his home and attitude made me come to resent him and led to my attitude recently. So, all across my early years of elementary school, I would be forced to visit my dad even when I didn’t ever want to. So, every chance I could get I would be with my mom and only ever travel to my grandmother’s house. Even when he moved into the same apartment and was literally walking distance, I would still be reluctant to visit him.

So fast forward when I believe I was either 9 or 8 when I began to reconnect with my dad. I would go over to his house and hang out with family. It was a very good time in my life where I could talk to and rely on both of my parents. But it all ended when my dad was arrested again for theft and was in jail for nearly a year.

But because of his choices, I began to develop independence and a belief of not needing him. I would never call and he never called me unless he wanted me to attend an event which I never wanted to. I can see now this was in to protect my feelings as I didn’t want to be hurt by his decisions again.

Later on, when I turned 11 years old, my dad began to try to force his way back into my life. He began making me come to his house and after a while I enjoyed it being able to spend quality time with family. He even signed me up for basketball, but soon everything started going downhill.

He became angry and aggressive out of nowhere which was very uncomfortable to always be around and I would once again not want anything to do with him. He would even get angry at me, yell at me, and call me ungrateful because at times I couldn’t make it to basketball practice, which is something I had no control over due to the fact that I was 11 years old. I found this to be very annoying, and soon the last straw was pulled. My dad later did something I don’t really feel comfortable speaking on and after, it made me very scared. I avoided him for months until I finally had confrontation and let him know how I felt.

Today my relationship with him has been very low with me avoiding him and trying to stay back from bonding with him. But now I'm just reflecting on what could have happened with our relationship if he was to make better choices to help build a better relationship with me now.

© Alton Patterson. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.