Author Topic: young adults learning the hard way - update post #29  (Read 31897 times)

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snappylt

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young adults learning the hard way - update post #29
« on: February 28, 2013, 12:29:38 AM »
I was reading elsewhere about young adults sometimes not understanding appropriate clothing for certain occasions and it reminded me of a (true) story I want to share here.  (Question of sorts at the end.)

One of my sons is a young adult who seems to often have to learn things through experience directly, the hard way, as he is very advice-resistant.  I have learned the hard way with this son to be very careful about ever offering advice, as he often interprets advice being offered to mean that I am implying that he is stupid...

Fall semester of this son's senior year of high school he applied for a very well-known, prestigious college scholarship program.  The evening before the in-person interview for the scholarship I took a risk and asked my son if he was considering dressing up for the interviews.  He said that the letter inviting him to the interview mentioned dressing in "Sunday best," so he was going to wear what he himself wears to church on Sundays.

Well, my son had found a different church to attend, a very "laid back and casual" church where the teenagers wear t-shirts and jeans to church, so that is how he planned to dress for his interview.  I decided to risk his anger, and I volunteered that I wondered if the "Sunday best" in the letter might be what an "older person" would think of as "Sunday best".  (Trust me here - I'm being vague to protect privacy - considering the particular scholarship program I'm talking about, I know the writer of the letter meant "Sunday best" in an old fashioned way.)

Well, my son bristled at the unsolicited advice, but he did decide to wear a t-shirt and khaki slacks instead of a t-shirt and blue jeans the next day.

I drove him to his interviews the next morning.  The building where the interviews were held was full of young adults.  All of the boys except for my son and one other were wearing dress shirts and ties (and many wore sport coats, too).  My son and one other boy were the only boys in t-shirts.

I kept my mouth firmly shut (regarding clothing, anyway).

After a few minutes my son leaned over and whispered, "I wish I'd worn a shirt and tie."

I made a non-committal reply and changed the subject.

On the ride home, my son said he thought his interviews went very well, but he volunteered that he'd learned a lesson about dressing better for interviews.  I just agreed with him quietly.


My question is: Do others have similar stories to share about young adults having to learn what to do and how to behave through experience?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 11:18:00 PM by snappylt »

Katana_Geldar

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 02:13:20 AM »
Onya, snappy! He's got to learn the hard way sooner or later.

My one is about my younger sister. She was starting a new job and one of her coworkers was a girl who I had classes with. YS says that she was nice, but I'd known her longer and I said that she's nice to your face and then turns around and is very nasty once she knows you.

YS said that would never happen to her. I said nothing, then a month later YS came back to me and said I was right!

Funny thing about this girl is that her older sister was one of the nicest people I met. Shame her younger sister was two-faced.

cicero

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 02:14:32 AM »
wait -but did he get the scholarship?

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TootsNYC

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 09:09:38 AM »
I don't remember being "advice averse," but I do remember my mom doing this:

Quote
I kept my mouth firmly shut (regarding clothing, anyway).

After a few minutes my son leaned over and whispered, "I wish I'd worn a shirt and tie."

I made a non-committal reply and changed the subject.

On the ride home, my son said he thought his interviews went very well, but he volunteered that he'd learned a lesson about dressing better for interviews.  I just agreed with him quietly.

So now I wonder--maybe I *was* pricklier than I remember.

Those lessons are the ones that stick, aren't they?

And boy it's hard w/ advice and young adults, right?
There's something in the adolescent mindset/development that says, "all those old fogey rules are stupid."

I think sometimes that our best bet is to just insist from the very beginning so that things like "dressing up for church / interviews / dinner at a friend's house" become something that they do just because--and it "feels wrong" when they don't do it.

Of course, that means *I* have to dress up for dinner at a friend's house.

bopper

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 09:22:04 AM »
That is probably when I would have said "Throw a dressier outfit in the car just in case".

Piratelvr1121

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 09:31:58 AM »
My mother used to get so exasperated when she'd give me advice and then when someone else gave the same advice but worded in a better way (meaning not condescending and from an adult I admittedly had more respect for) I'd listen. 

My father's two sisters were great for talking to their nieces and nephews with respect.  You never felt like they were talking down to you at all, you were never made to feel stupid and actually most of the time they were able to get kids to come to a solution on their own by saying things like "Well what do you think would be the best way to handle that situation?" Or "What might the outcome be if it was done that way?" or "How do you feel that was handled?" And they'd actually listen. 

I do think the lessons I learned the hard way were the ones that stuck.  (I also learned that about 1/2 the time my mother's advice was wrong.)
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Virg

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 09:38:54 AM »
I agree with bopper on this one.  I'd have tossed in a "dress up to dress down" suggestion, saying that if he put on a dress shirt over the t-shirt he could always remove it if he felt overdressed.  I might even have put said shirt and a tie in the car and then offered it if he mentioned it.  In general, though, I've found that there are some people who must learn things for themselves.  It's more common for that to show up during teen years, but I've seen it in all ages, so the only thing you can do is politely suggest and then step back and let them go through it themselves.  In the OP's situation, I'd rather let him go in with street clothes than fight him on it, knowing that the next ten times will be a little easier for not dying on this particular hill.

Virg

Cami

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 10:12:04 AM »
My (much younger) BIL was like that. Ugh. It was so hard to watch him make wrong choice after wrong choice, solely because he was determined to either make his own decisions and/or do the opposite of what his parents told him to do. He was about 25 when he finally woke up and stopped being so contrary. His life improved greatly once he did so.

kymom3

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 10:18:00 AM »
DS3 and his Scout troop are camping this weekend.  A mom of one of the younger boys asked DS3 and one of the other youth leaders to talk to her son about the importance of getting some hiking boots.  Younger boy has been resistant and insisted to his mother that he could wear his tennis shoes or whatever.  They are planning a pretty big hike for Saturday and everyone needs appropriate footwear!  DS3 took younger boy aside and spoke to him and younger boy came to his mom and told her that they needed to go shopping!   Mom said that she knew her son would listen to my son and other older boy even when she had tried to tell him the same thing.   ;)

bloo

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 11:02:19 AM »
My DD! Went on a hike a couple of years ago and she insisted she'd be fine wearing flip-flops. I told her that a hike really needs better footwear but no, what do I know? I only have 25 years more experience.

On the way home she did admit that sneakers, at least, would've been a better option. Her feet were sore!

I tread lightly around her, like OP. If it even smacks of 'do this, I know better' she will do the opposite. If I make a suggestion and give the reason why, she'll pause and listen and may make provision that my suggestion makes sense.

Treading lightly has helped as she has (gasp) started asking for a little advice here and there!

NyaChan

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 11:10:43 AM »
DS3 and his Scout troop are camping this weekend.  A mom of one of the younger boys asked DS3 and one of the other youth leaders to talk to her son about the importance of getting some hiking boots.  Younger boy has been resistant and insisted to his mother that he could wear his tennis shoes or whatever.  They are planning a pretty big hike for Saturday and everyone needs appropriate footwear!  DS3 took younger boy aside and spoke to him and younger boy came to his mom and told her that they needed to go shopping!   Mom said that she knew her son would listen to my son and other older boy even when she had tried to tell him the same thing.   ;)

I don't know if 27 counts as young adult...but we are trying this approach with a student I am coaching.  She won't listen to even our practitioner coach, let alone us student coaches as to appropriate courtroom attire.  So we've asked any outside people coming in to help judge or play jury to please address professionalism and courtroom attire as part of their critique.  Sure enough, they all independently pointed out that bright red high heels aren't a good choice for competition.  Hasn't worked yet, but we will keep trying. 

Promise

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2013, 11:20:29 AM »
At this point, they are about to leave for college. Don't you know yet that they know everything?? (Being sarcastic of course!) You are doing exactly the right thing by allowing the gift of failing. If he doesn't get the scholarship because of how he dressed, it's a huge life lesson that he will learn so much more than by you giving him advice about how to dress. Yes, he'd be wiser to listen to you, but that's not his bent. Kudos to you for allowing him to experience real life!

Now as to the letter, they should have known better in this day how to word their expectations. "Sunday Best" means many different things. My husband is a pastor and asked our laid back congregation to dress up for Christmas Sunday. He asked this in a nice way and put it in a context that made sense for the request. He didn't put any demands on what "best" meant, but the intent was that you come differently than you usually do. Like your son, those who were the shorts and flip flop people came in slacks and polos or nice tees. Those who are the polo/khaki people came in dress shirts. The dress shirt people came in suits. If the intent was to wear a button down shirt/tie or a skirt/dress, they should have said so in the letter.

As a person who hired 45 college students a year for an AmeriCorps program, I took notice as to how students dressed for interviews. I had one man who wore flip flops, shorts and an old tee to an interview. That said a lot to me. He didn't care about getting the job. Maybe he did, but he certainly didn't care about how he looked to me. If he didn't care about the interview what would lead me to think he'd care about doing the job well? I didn't hire him. He contacted me as to why. I was honest and he shot me back an response saying all kinds of nasty things about me judgmental attitude. Look, when I have 150 applicants for 45 slots, I can choose to be picky and I look at the nonverbal as well as the resume.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2013, 11:22:51 AM »
I could have my own newspaper column with young adults learning the hard way...Sometimes I think it is just the argument they like. 

I drove my younger daughter and I (in her car) to visit a college.  I drove with the headlights on even during daylight hours.  At one point she said, "turn my lights off, it wastes the battery".  I said, "no it doesn't, where did you hear that?"  She said, "well I think it does"  I said, "well it doesn't and you sound ignorant when you make a comment like that and then try to argue about it when you don't really know"   

I borrowed the space heater out of her bathroom (mine gave up the ghost of working) and when I returned it I plugged it back in.  She said, "don't plug my heater in, it wastes electricity"  I said "how does it waste electricity if it isn't on?  It doesn't have a display or anything?  Where did you hear that?"  She said, "an electrician told me that"   Hmmm, where does she know an electrician?  It can't waste any more electricity than the washer, dryer, blender, can opener, curling iron being plugged in - if they don't have a screen/display or other light when not turned on.  Not worth the argument.   

She brings home her practice jersey for basketball on a Friday afternoon and I said throw it in the laundry room and I will wash it.  She said, "we aren't supposed to wash them"  >:(    "I am certain that NO COACH told you not to wash your basketball jersey.  Just thrown the darn thing in the laundry room and stop arguing with me!"  She still wanted to argue - but about that time the glare from my eyes hit her eyes and she beat a hasty retreat.    Agghh - can you imagine how that was going to smell in a week???   ::)


Zilla

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2013, 11:27:05 AM »
My oldest is advice resistant and love to give unsolicited advice, so a double whammy.  I often have to say it in a vague way to dd like you did in the OP.  And many a times she will tell me afterwards but huh maybe I was right after all.  I tell her it isn't a matter of being right, just have been through it and then I change the subject.


Now my youngest dd is the opposite, she listens well and won't speak up unless she knows the answer for sure.  And has pissed off her older sister saying, "Didn't mom tell you..." lol  I have to tell my youngest to please back off her sister even though I know she means well.  And youngest always tells me, "But you are MOM!  You know everything!  Why is she being so stubborn?"  I only hope youngest doesn't outgrow that!

WillyNilly

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Re: young adults learning the hard way
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 11:35:27 AM »
I borrowed the space heater out of her bathroom (mine gave up the ghost of working) and when I returned it I plugged it back in.  She said, "don't plug my heater in, it wastes electricity"  I said "how does it waste electricity if it isn't on?  It doesn't have a display or anything?  Where did you hear that?"  She said, "an electrician told me that"   Hmmm, where does she know an electrician?  It can't waste any more electricity than the washer, dryer, blender, can opener, curling iron being plugged in - if they don't have a screen/display or other light when not turned on.  Not worth the argument.   


Actually a lot of appliances do waste electricity simply by being left plugged in, even if they don't have displays. Its usually not significant in an individual household, but its not non-existent.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/11/science/11qna.html?_r=0
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/06/20/12-household-appliances-you-should-unplug-to-save-money/
http://peninsulapress.com/2011/03/30/leaving-idle-appliances-plugged-in-drives-up-power-bills-which-devices-are-worst-offenders/
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2851/am-i-really-wasting-money-leaving-appliances-plugged-in