Thursday, November 05, 2009

Can't or Won't


The biggest dilemma that we as adoptive parents of older kids who come into our lives at a later age is the "can't or won't" question. When a child or, in my case this morning, a full grown adult, is not doing something is it because they can't or because they won't? Are they trying their hardest to do what they should or are they trying to avoid work at all costs?

With most of my kids after a while I've been able to figure out after a while which one it is. And when they are younger, I encourage parents to assume can't because I think that is less demoralizing than to assume won't. (and often defiant kids, if you assume they can't, will go on to prove you wrong). But i'm really not sure with adult children that assuming they can't do the most basic things is a good idea.

I am at my wits end some days with the cluelessness (whether it's real or faked) of a couple of our older kids. Generally good natured and appropriate among other adults, our 21 year old at home becomes helpless. The smallest tasks become impossible. He is no longer getting scheduled at his former job and can't seem to turn an application in to find another. His saving grace is that he runs lots and lots of errands for me and keeps me from having to live in the van, but other than that most contributions that I insist he make to the family system are a real struggle.

Today I think I'm going to drop him off at the mall. Most of the places there are hiring and he can at least be there for a while and pretend to look for a job. While he's home nothing much is happening and even when I make a detailed list of things he is supposed to do. We'll see how that goes.

6 comments:

DynamicDuo said...

Do you think he would consider working in the agriculture business? There may be farm hand, or hog industry jobs that he could do. I am keeping that in mind for our girls as we live within a stone's throw from several hog operations and much of the work is simply hard work, labor don't need to be a rocket scientist. Most of my neighbors pay pretty decent and some of the larger ones even have good benefit packages.

k....mom said...

I have found that my kids ARE adults out in the world but as soon as they walk in my door they become little kids again. I have yet to find the kind solution for not being the 'mommy' and still be the mom. Good luck and please share when you discover the secret :)

momma-o-minnie said...

This is what I tell my children, "There is no such thing as 'can't.' It's one of the few words that does not translate from English into other languages. That's because the word 'can't' actually means either "I don't know how..." OR "I don'w want to..." So pick which side of the fence you're on. If you don't know how, I will happily show you or take you to someone who will. But if you won't, then that is stubborn disobedience. I don't tolerate that. You will have to figure out how you are going to handle this..."
Once I've said that a few thousand times, then all I have to say is, "There's no such word as 'can't." and they miraculously start figuring things out.

Torina said...

I wonder about this ALL the time with my daughter who is developmentally disabled...if she just put as much effort into avoidance as she would intro trying she would accomplish so much!! ...I think...or maybe she can't...oh I don't know either.

acceptancewithjoy said...

[He is no longer getting scheduled at his former job]

Did anyone from this job talk to him? Marissa works at Taco Bell. She was getting 12-16 hours a week. Now, nada...

She swears she has no idea why. I called and asked if a manager could sit down and do an exit interview with her... you know strengths, weaknesses and eligibility for re-employment and no one has done so. This happened at McDonald's too. The only place she has worked which gave her feedback was Arby's. I cannot believe that this in an industry standard.

robyncalgary said...

in reference to what k...mom said, i am a 26 year single mom of soon to be 2 girls, "neurotypical", grew up in a great family atmosphere, parents are still together, and i STILL turn into a child the minute i step into my parents house- i dont want to do dishes, i just want my mommy to take care of me. im working on it, but just being in those same walls around my parents, i go right back to lazy brat mode lol