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.