listening to chopin’s fantaisie impromptu and imagining my crush playing it for me
Waiting for an 11:00 showing of Star Trek… freezing my ass off, but first in line!
got a phone interview for a very exciting job doing exactly what i want to be doing for a year in a place i don’t necessarily want to be but i will stick it out if i have to because seriously who is going to turn up their nose at paying work that will garner me experience and maybe point me in a direction to pursue a doctorate
the end of the school year is the only time i actually have a social life because everyone throws big parties and i can sneak in unnoticed.
she wears short skirts i wear short skirts
we are sailor scouts and in the name of the moon we will punish you
prom is so much more fun when everyone is of legal drinking age
so, things that are going on with me, and partly an explanation of why i am so absent lately:
i am graduating from my masters program in 4 weeks (?!), and spending a lot of time trying to get good grades so that i can apply for a good doctorate program. i’m also trying to spend more time with my classmates, because it’s getting down to the wire and i don’t have much time left with them.
over the past week, i have been having trouble with one of my professors. he has been changing the syllabus and none of the students are sure what he expects, but he’s sent out emails that are demoralizing, and replied hostilely to my response. it’s been giving me panic-attack-like symptoms, and it’s gotten to the point where i’ve alerted student affairs to the situation and how uncomfortable it’s made me.
because i’m graduating, i’m also job-searching - trying to find a job in London so that i can be close to my family. unfortunately, since i’m applying from the US, it’s difficult to get employers to notice me.
so i’m pretty busy lately, not a lot of time for blogging or writing fanfics. i’ll be heading to the UK the day after i graduate, for family visits, and maybe by then i’ll have a little more control over my life. :)
so i’m rereading brainbent instead of sleeping (shut up i make excellent life choices) and had a little…
Yeah, but… What do you DO to help people like you guys out?
I mean, a lot of this rings true for me too. I’ve almost failed classes because of missing homework alone (autism), but that’s NOTHING compared to my ADD sis and my ADHD bro.
I’m worried about my lil bro in particular. (I think my sister’s got the mostly grow out of it/adapt variety.) He’s almost 15, entering high school this year. When he was a kid we had to literally stand over him while he did his homework just to make sure it got done, but that’s not really practical with a moody teenager. Particularly not with all the after school activities he does and how much the rest of us have going on.
How are you even supposed to tell “I am having a legitimate problem” from “I am 14 and irresponsible and really did waste a bunch of time on xbox live in a clearly negligent way.”? Because I know my brother well enough to know that there’s a heavy dose of moody teenaged excuse machine in there. But I can also tell he’s having problems, and kicking his ass into gear is only getting him so far.
My bro IS lazy. He’s a lazy lazy lazy bony butt teenager. Example: “I’ll play on xbox live all today and clean my room tomorrow. Tomorrow is my work day and today is my lazy day.” Cue my overly-dramatic eyeroll because he’s got an excuse like this for every day of the week. Tomorrow it’ll be “oh, but I’ve suddenly got this school thing that’s going to take ALLLLLL DAY LONG” or there’s suddenly some friend he HAS to practice with today. Yeah, no. That’s laziness. It responds well to a firm kick in the seat of the pants.
But then there’s all the rest of it. The late projects because he forgot the book and just started it the day before and the last minute “OH I NEED THIS RIGHT THIS SECOND FOR IMPORTANT REASONS.” Now all that’s coupled with shitty personal responsibility too. Particularly personal hygiene. (Wow, the smell. And the rotting food. It’s icky, man. I can’t wash him by hand.)
And it’s like… OK, you’re a teenager and all this responsibility is piling on you, but it’s clear you can’t handle the responsibility you already have. But what are we supposed to do? We can’t stop the clock til he’s ready. We can’t do everything for him. We can’t even stay on top of the things he’s supposed to do to make sure he’s doing them, because now he’s got eight different teachers and three different after school activities which are all structured to make him responsible for relaying information to us.
And that kind of pushes us into the corner of “let’s have that talk about organizational skills AGAIN” because what else can we do? We can help him with execution in a variety of ways, but he HAS to be able to relay that information from school/whatever to us for us to be able to help him. And he HAS to have enough responsibility to actually take care of some things without us constantly standing over him, because there are literally not enough hours in the day for constant vigilance on our part as his family.
What are you supposed to do when you tell a kid to do something every hour of every day for a WEEK and he STILL doesn’t do it? We take so much time removing distractions and punishing him into doing things. Take away this, take away that, spend 30 minutes fighting with him over how “unfair” we’re being, then spend the next six hours checking in on him every five minutes just to make sure it’s getting done AND getting done properly while continuing to deal with moody teenage excuse machine attitude.
It’s just all kinds of frustrating AND exhausting, particularly when trying to help him gets you that typical teenager scream, cry, run away, refuse to do ANYTHING response. :/
YMMV, and I am not a doctor and do not play one on tv, but here are some of the things that I wish someone would have done for me at that age.
First, talk to him like an adult. Ask him what he needs, what would be helpful, what doesn’t help. Don’t assume that he’s being lazy when he might be trying to cope with things and not knowing how. Don’t condescend to him or talk about how “if he’d just done x he wouldn’t have to deal with y.” He knows, I can almost guarantee Don’t be surprised if it takes a while to get an honest answer, because by that age most of us have avoided talking about this stuff for so long that we don’t know how to do it honestly.
You say he has ADHD. Is he medicated? If so, do his meds work for him? Is he seeing a therapist or counselor? If not, I would give that a try if it’s a possibility. (Honestly, I would recommend therapy to just about every kid that age, because adolescence is hard, yo.) If he is seeing someone, how well do they click? Do they listen to him honestly, or do they dismiss what he says because he’s a kid, or because he’s a teenager? Seeing a therapist can help him with things like coping mechanisms and boundary setting. If you can, consider seeing a therapist together to help figure out ways to communicate.
If he sets a reasonable boundary (such as having a certain amount of time to himself when he gets home, for example) respect it. Do this consistently, not just when things are going well. Do this even when you’re mad at him or want to punish him, even when he’s done something worth punishing. Do not treat having boundaries as a privilege that can be taken away when he fucks up.
If he tells you he needs a certain thing (time to unwind, background music, something to fidget with, frequent breaks from work) believe him. If he tells you he can’t do something, or that something is hard for him, believe him. Don’t tell him why he does something or how he feels about something: you are not in his head, you have no way of knowing. Don’t tell him he’s lazy, or making excuses, or trying to get away with slacking off. He might be, some of the time, but telling him that you don’t trust him won’t help and might hurt.
If you’re having trouble communicating, try using a text format. This leaves a record that can be gone back to, and helps everyone avoid saying things they might regret.
Recognize that he has internalized toxic attitudes when it comes to mental health. Recognize that you have, too. It’s pretty much unavoidable with the way attitudes are toward it. Recognize that some of this may have been because of you. Recognize also that not all of it is your fault. Be prepared to apologize when you screw up, and be prepared to fight for him when other people (teachers, etc) screw up.
I think it’s also important to note that for me and many others, things like poor hygiene and looking for ways to escape (for me it was reading and art, sounds like it might be video games for him) can be signs of stress or depression. If that’s the case for him, punishing him will not help, it will only make things worse.
There is no magic bullet, none of these things will fix anything right away. Some of this may be helpful, some of it may not, some of it you may be doing already, and even the helpful stuff will take a while to make any kind of impact. Remember that all people have hidden worlds inside them, and there is probably enough about his life that you don’t know and never will know to fill a book or ten.
I hope some of this is helpful.
^^^ a whole pile of this. you said it better than i could.
@chromobear: wow, you sure are judging him harshly. count up how many times you said ‘lazy’. think about how he is going to hear your voice in his head slagging him down for the rest of his life. now knock it off.
he sounds to me like an extremely stressed out kid who isn’t getting the kind of help he needs, and way too much of the kind of ‘help’ that doesn’t.
i reckon he could really benefit from narrowing the scope of his responsibilities/activities, but for god’s sake don’t frame it as a punishment. don’t be like ‘we’re nixing one of your after school things because you failed and are lazy’, be like ‘it seems like you have too much on your plate right now, might be a good idea to take activity x out of the mix.’
i just… from the language you used to describe him, it sounds like he’s living in a stew of blame, disapproval, and negativity. it sounds like he’s trying to escape into his video games because the real world is way too much. it sounds like maybe people are making some things that won’t matter in the general scheme of things way too important, and things that will shape the rest of his life not important enough.
who gives a shit if his room’s clean or if he gets mediocre grades freshman year? isn’t it kind of more important for him not to grow up with a constant chorus of YOU SUCK YOU FAIL YOU CAN’T in his head?
health is more important than achievement. especially for children.
@chromobear: my little brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in elementary school, and he had a lot of problems with academics throughout his entire school career. it didn’t help that i did extremely well in school, and he must have been under a lot of pressure to live up to the standards i set. he always “escaped” using video games and cartoons. back then, it seemed lazy and a waste of time.
he is now going to college for video game design, and if i had half the passion and work ethic for my field of study that he has for his, i would have a doctorate by now. he loves what he’s doing, and he’s good at it. he’s taking his time at school, but that was always his style.
this is more along the lines of “wish-i-had-done” than actual experience or expertise, but i think one thing you can proactively do is to be in his corner. you’re his sibling, not his parent, so it’s not your job to keep him “on task”, and things like that can seriously strain a sibling relationship. point out the things he does well (not necessarily academic things, but qualities like loyalty or generosity or being generally likable), because if he feels good about himself, he’ll feel less pressured. and if he feels less pressured, he’ll be less likely to put off things he needs to do in favor of escaping into video games.