I know exactly how your feel. My son dropped out of high school when he was 17. I had been called to the office so many times, and he clearly was not motivated to attend. I’ll never forget the day when we were sitting in his principal’s office, and I looked at him and said: “This is your decision. Of course I dreamed of watching you walk across the stage, and I know you are more than capable. However, if this is not your dream, then I’m ok with that. The only thing I suggest is that you get your GED”. And he got up from the table and told the principal: “I’m out”.
One of the hardest things as a parent is to accept the fact that we raise individuals who have their own mind and their own choices to make in life. And status quo is not for everyone. But don’t let this make you feel guilty that you failed. Celebrate your child’s differences and help them find a place to channel their energy that will suit them! Be proud of his independence, and accept your part in helping to create that!
You know, 10 years from now, you wouldn’t remember the details of the prom, you saved yourself money on the class ring which he probably wouldn’t wear that long, and if anyone thinks less of you or him for his decision, then that is their issue. Not his or yours. You didn’t fail him at all! Sounds like you raised a very strong independent young adult who just wants to go down a non-traditional path. Walk with him! Who knows where it may lead!!