Author Topic: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.  (Read 4659 times)

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Pippen

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Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« on: November 15, 2012, 02:12:46 AM »
So I have this kid, well he is 20 now, so technically an adult but he doesn't function like one. He came and asked me for a school holiday job when he was about 14 and I gave him one doing odd jobs around my business. Basically a kid from the wrong side of the tracks with the deck stacked against him. Over the years he has been on a massive down ward spiral including 2 stints in prison. On a few occasions when it all goes to hell in a hand cart for him it is not unusual for him to turn up on my doorstep at 2am needing a someone to talk to or a place to tuck down for the night. Apparently I am the only 'normal' (does such a person even exist?) person he knows who doesn't look down on him.

About 2 weeks ago he turned up on a Saturday afternoon looking for some help with yet another of his legal issues and said he was desperate for a job and offered to paint my house. I agreed as it needs doing, he did a course on it in prison and it will help keep him out of trouble. We agreed on a rate and I set out what my expectations were and worked out a project plan on how we would go about it. Now reliability is not his strong point for a number of reasons. I am aware of these and flexible with him. Too much stress and he just goes to pieces and it is back to square one. But at some point I need to draw the line and let him know the real world is not a forgiving and accepting place and if he wants to make some serious changes he needs to buckle down and just get on with it. The work is not difficult but it is a bit tedious and exacting.

When he does work, he works well and is happy and engaged and proud of what he is doing. Earning his own (and pretty good) money and gaining some experience. When he doesn't show up because his idiot older brother is prospecting for a gang and tries to drag him into it I get mad as all get out. Wayward youth are not my specialty. I really want to tell him "You either want this job or not and if you don't you need to tell me now so I can give it to someone who does." Is that a fair call on someone you know to have a number of mental health, social and educational disadvantages? He has cut himself off from a number of opportunities by his choices. He says how no one understands him or gives him a chance but he has one here and just seems to be missing the mark.

Margo

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 03:43:41 AM »
I think it is a fair call.

You can sit down with him and explain (again?) what your expectations are, in terms of when he has to show up, and what the consequences will be if he doesn't.

This could include making it clear that if he has a genuine reason (such as illness) he needs to phone you by 9a.m. to let you know, for instance.

In my job I work with people who have very chaotic lives and lots of difficulties and it's quite common to have a written 'schedule of expectations' making it very clear what is expected in terms of behaviour.

Winterlight

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 11:20:26 AM »
I think giving him a fair shake is one thing and enabling is another. He has contracted to do work for you. The work needs to be done if he wants to be paid for it. Set up a schedule with him and make it clear that there are consequences for not working. If he's 20, then he needs to learn this now.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Virg

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 11:55:25 AM »
Pippen wrote:

"Is that a fair call on someone you know to have a number of mental health, social and educational disadvantages?"

The fair call is giving him chances after he doesn't show up to work.  In the real world, blowing off a job once is quite often sufficient to get fired, so you're already being understanding.  However, as Winterlight says, too much "fair shake" is enabling his self-failing, and so at some point he's going to have to do the job if he wants to get paid for it.  I say there's nothing wrong with sitting him down for a last chance meeting about the job and then following through with consequences based on his subsequent actions.  You can't take his whole life on yourself just because he's gotten a bad start.

Virg

bah12

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 11:58:27 AM »
This is basically the difference/choice between giving the kid a break so that he can get to a better place and being his crutch so he doesn't have to.

I think it's totally fair to say "I'm willing to give you this job and even be a reference for you as you try to get other jobs later, but in order to keep this job, get paid, and get a good reference from me, you have to be reliable, show up on time, stay on schedule, and do good work.  If you end up back in prison, or don't show up to work for anything other than being legitamately sick, you will be fired. And you won't get a second chance."

But, if you're constantly willing to be there for him when he needs legal advice, work, a place to stay, etc. and you don't require anything from him in return as far as changing his behavior, then as someone already said, you're enabling him.  He doesn't have to change, because you will always be there for him to help him pick up the peices and make some extra cash on the side.

It sounds like you might be the only responsible adult he has in his life, so maybe it's time to enact some tough love.  Give him some choices, offer rewards and consequences for certain behavior and then stick to it. 

Stormtreader

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 12:01:22 PM »
Its kind of the difference between a job and chores - if your child doesnt take the bins out on time, its not going to affect them having to do it next week and they might even still get their allowance. If an adult doesnt turn up for work, the boss is not going to be quite so understanding.

Sounds like hes definately old enough to start being shown that the Chore rules dont last for ever.

bopper

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 03:56:59 PM »
I guess the only thing you can do is sit down with him and ask him what he wants....does he want to make money from this job? Then he has to finish it.  What is preventing him from finishing it? When those things come up...how does he make a decision? Is he trying to keep his brother happy?  If so, how does that affect him? Is he then happy?

LadyL

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 04:30:28 PM »
Can you refer him to any other services so that he's not leaning so heavily on you? Nonprofit legal centers, unemployment/job training centers, etc.?

Adelaide

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 05:46:33 PM »
I think giving him a fair shake is one thing and enabling is another. He has contracted to do work for you. The work needs to be done if he wants to be paid for it. Set up a schedule with him and make it clear that there are consequences for not working. If he's 20, then he needs to learn this now.

This. You'll be doing him a favor in the long run.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 08:44:03 PM »
Can you refer him to any other services so that he's not leaning so heavily on you? Nonprofit legal centers, unemployment/job training centers, etc.?

I think this is the best course of action.

Pippen

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 09:24:32 PM »
Can you refer him to any other services so that he's not leaning so heavily on you? Nonprofit legal centers, unemployment/job training centers, etc.?

I think this is the best course of action.

The Judge will probably be doing that on Tuesday when he is due back in court for a breach of his conditions. The external agencies are actually the cause of his latest problem. He doesn't expect much from me and I'm not heavily involved in his life by any means. He just came to me for some advice about how to handle the current situation and while he was here offered to paint my house. He didn't even want to be paid. He just wanted something to do besides hanging around with his idiot friends and getting into trouble. He is just one of those kids that just can't seem to gain any traction in life. It just quite frustrating when he could be doing so much more and you have to see things just slip through his fingers though a endless succession of poor choices.

gramma dishes

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 09:27:05 PM »
...   He says how no one understands him or gives him a chance ...

But you have been understanding for years.  And you've given him chance after chance after chance. 

I think it's time to draw the line and just tell him how the "real world" works.  He can do the job -- correctly and carefully -- and he'll get paid and maybe even a reference for future work elsewhere.  If he fails to do it, or does a sloppy and careless job, he will not get paid and he will not get a second chance.  That's real life.

It's unfortunate that he still is in close proximity to his brother.   My guess is that eventually, no matter what you or anyone else does, the brother is going to "win" in the end if they still have contact.  Sadly, sometimes family isn't such a great thing.

Maude

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 12:08:15 AM »
I think that when he sees the judge on Tuesday part of his plea for mercy will be
I have a job(painting your house) and I have a place to stay(living at your house).
You do not need any more moochers in your life.
What if the judge says ÖK no jail time but you MUST live and work at Pippen's house?

Pippen

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2012, 01:31:12 AM »
I think that when he sees the judge on Tuesday part of his plea for mercy will be
I have a job(painting your house) and I have a place to stay(living at your house).
You do not need any more moochers in your life.
What if the judge says ÖK no jail time but you MUST live and work at Pippen's house?

Trust me, he isn't living here and he never will. He just turns up when he has a argument with his mum and it doesn't happen very often. Maybe 2-3 times in the last 4 years. The Judge can't determine where he lives and works, only Probation can, so no chance of that happening. Thank goodness.

cheyne

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Re: Scrag him, or take a deep breath and be understanding. Again.
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2012, 09:42:51 AM »
One thing I have finally learned over the course of my half-century on this planet, you can not care more than they do.  If he doesn't want to change his life enough to show up and do the job, get away from the gang/criminal lifestyle, and improve his own life, you can not make him.

I would give him one last chance.  Explain your expectations.  If he fails to meet them, hire the painting out to someone else and wash your hands of him.  You can't save him if he doesn't want to be saved.