Author Topic: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life  (Read 16401 times)

BlueHouse

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Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« on: July 24, 2015, 02:34:05 PM »
Need Advice - my opportunity to help change a young life.

So my nephew is coming to stay with me for a while.  He's a recent HS grad, has never held a job, barely graduated HS, apparently has ADHD so bad that he probably couldn't get through college.  His parents live a fancypants lifestyle, but always have their credit cards maxed out.  Nephew thinks he should start out in a job that affords him a lifestyle like he's been used to living.  I really don't know too many details yet.  Many of the problems have been hidden for years from the rest of the family, so we had no idea that learning was so difficult for him. 

Questions:
1.  Any suggestions for helping him get started on a path towards independence and adulthood? 
2.  Advice on good career paths for ADHD people?  (I saw a recent post about ADHD and EMTs, and that's something I'll ask him about)
3.  Thoughts on how to let him know that adults pay their own way and that he's NOT too good to earn minimum wage? (without getting preachy)
4.  Advice on how long is too long to let him go without contributing toward household expenses?  And how to bring this up?  I don't want to say it's a matter of money, because then he'll just ask one of his grandparents for the money - and that's not the point.
5.  Thoughts about what kind of restrictions I should have while he lives under my roof?  How late does a 19 year old kid get to stay out in a strange city?  Should I try to impose a curfew?  What should I pay for? 
6.  Any advice on how to introduce him to a different lifestyle than what he's been exposed to in my family (college, work, retire, die)?  I would love to let him know that he can choose a less-productive work style and not be a "bum" as my mom would say.  But not sure how to convince him of that. 

This is my one chance to try to make a difference so I don't want to screw it up, but I've never been responsible for another human being for any length of time before.  I'll appreciate any advice you can offer. 

mxt0133

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 03:06:22 PM »
My recommendation would be to build up a relationship first before you start bombarding him with life advice.  You need to know how to communicate with him so that he will actually understand what you are talking about.

I don't know how well you know your nephew but most teenagers pretty much thinks that they know everything and that any advice from an adult does not apply to them.

I would still layout some ground rules and explain to him how things are done in your household.  Good luck.

mozar

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 03:55:04 PM »
So a grandparent is giving him money? That might be the toughest nut to crack, dealing with that kind of enabling behavior.

smilla

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 04:00:31 PM »
+1 to mxt0133

The ground rules I would start with are respecting you and your home/stuff and respecting himself.  You need to respect him in return. 

Lead by example but also explain the whys and wherefores of your example, not as a lecture, just as casual conversation, e.g. don't just say that eating out isn't in the food budget this week, say that your dine-out budget is $100 per month because you are saving for a trip to ___, or because your car is going to need a new transmission in the next year, or whatever.* 

Other than that get to know him, ask him what his plans are and go from there. 

*edited to add:  I'd leave the more hardcore MMM/FIRE plans for much later.  If you can get him on a path of spending less than he earns and earning enough to live, you will have done a great thing.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 04:15:31 PM by smilla »

abiteveryday

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2015, 04:15:54 PM »
I wouldn't get into a specific curfew time per se, it's not really relevant at this point.  Instead stick with rules about being considerate of others that might be asleep.     Come in at 3AM quietly without waking anyone?   Fine.    Come in loudly and wake people?  Not fine.

TrMama

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2015, 04:31:31 PM »
That sounds like a tough job you've signed yourself up for.

I think the best thing to do would be to help him job search. Walk him through writing his resume (or do it for him the first time). Walk him through looking for jobs, filing out applications, how to interview, etc. It sounds like telling him, "Go get a job." will be too big of a challenge. Break it down for him and hold his hand through each baby step.

I make sure to tell my kids (and any other kids in the vicinity) about all the crap jobs I had a youngster. It sends a pretty clear message that my working life hasn't always been this good, even though I was raised as a spoiled kid in a well off family.

As for deadlines, I'd give him a month before he needs to start contributing. You'll be able to tell pretty quick whether he's mooching vs working hard.

As for other rules, I'd just work on teaching him to be a good roommate. Don't be loud when you come home at 3am. Don't eat all the food. Don't leave a mess. Etc. On that note, let him know the next best place to land after your house is a place shared with roommates. Affording his own place is probably a few more steps down the road.

Trifele

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2015, 04:40:46 PM »
Will he be with you long enough that he will actually be looking for a job in your location?  Or not until he moves on?  Unknown? 

I would try to think of him like an adult, because he is. That will carry over to the way you treat him and speak to him.  Agree that you should right away have a friendly, straightforward talk with him about your household and what the deal is for him contributing to chores or whatever.  It's what an adult does.  As you develop a relationship with him you can talk about the 'deeper' issues.  The more "space" in general you can give him -- not hovering, not setting curfew, etc. -- will help him realize that he is actually an adult and it's time to get going with his life.  As long as he doesn't respond to the space by just playing video games all night and sleeping all day.

I have a nephew that is in a similar situation -- out of high school and absolutely lost.  It is sad how people infant-ilize young people nowadays, taking care of every little thing for them their whole lives, with the result that they never learn how to take care of themselves.  Some of them graduate from college never having had a job, or control of their own money, or their own decisions.   You sound like  a great aunt/uncle.  Good luck!

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2015, 06:05:55 PM »
My parents charged a percentage of my pay as rent when I lived at home after college. It went up as my salary did during my first year. Would that work?
Only if he gets a job!  :)

My recommendation would be to build up a relationship first before you start bombarding him with life advice.  You need to know how to communicate with him so that he will actually understand what you are talking about.
Great advice.  I know I need to do that. Let's just hope I can execute. 

So a grandparent is giving him money? That might be the toughest nut to crack, dealing with that kind of enabling behavior.
All grandparents give their grandchildren money.   I'm just wondering how much and whether or not he does something to encourage it.  He wants to "take a trip to see his grandparents" before he comes here.   I'm trying to convince his mother that he shouldn't go there until after he makes some progress towards a goal -- you know, like we don't take vacation until we earn it?   We'll see how that goes over with his mom. 

+1 to mxt0133
 You need to respect him in return. 
I need to put this first, and then I hope the rest will follow.  He's a good kid.  And very polite with everyone who is not his parent.  I'm wondering if we'll get to know each other well enough that he stops treating me like a stranger, without leaning into disrespect.  I hope he's here long enough to find out. 

I make sure to tell my kids (and any other kids in the vicinity) about all the crap jobs I had a youngster. It sends a pretty clear message that my working life hasn't always been this good, even though I was raised as a spoiled kid in a well off family.
I'll have to put some thought into how to work this into conversation without sounding preachy.  I'm pretty sure I'm very good at preaching. 


As for deadlines, I'd give him a month before he needs to start contributing. You'll be able to tell pretty quick whether he's mooching vs working hard.
Oh yeah, I can tell, for sure.  I don't think it will take a full month. 

That sounds like a tough job you've signed yourself up for.
I'm worried that I don't realize how tough it will be.  I'm the childless, pet-less person who watches Caesar Milan and "The Nanny" and then thinks she has all the answers.  I know I'm in for a rude awakening. 

Will he be with you long enough that he will actually be looking for a job in your location?  Or not until he moves on?  Unknown? 
Unknown.  Once we start talking, I'd like to find out his expectations and get a commitment from him before he actually tries anything.  He tends to quit things if it is unlikely that he will succeed, so he ends up not trying much. 

Thanks to everyone for advice.  I'm more worried about how well I handle things, having never been around many kids long term.  I hope I don't make it worse!


3okirb

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2015, 07:05:08 PM »
Sounds to me like the best thing you can do for him to start with is to build him up to believe in himself.  When I hear things like he probably couldn't have made it through college because of ADHD, it sounds like his parents haven't allowed him to be challenged.  That sends a message to kids that he's not expected to do great things because he's not good enough.  That's rarely the intention, but that's probably how he feels beneath it all.  I'm in a different career now, but used to be a high school teacher and can't tell you how many kids are exactly like you describe because no one believes in them enough to show them that they CAN be awesome. 

All that to say, make sure you build him up at every opportunity.  Let him do challenging things with you and encourage him and praise the crap out of every positive thing you see in his work ethic and character.  He'll learn to WANT to do things to please you knowing that someone is on his side and has his back.  Provide for him the safety net to excel while holding him accountable in a positive way.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 07:07:19 PM by 3okirb »

okits

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2015, 07:06:05 PM »
Why is he coming to live with you?  Is the reason relevant to how to approach helping him?.

11ducks

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2015, 07:10:35 PM »
Make sure you set out your roommate agreement, explicitly, in writing. The kid has likely never done his own washing, or scrubbed a toilet before, and will have no idea what it means to be a roommate. Make it super clear that you are not a parent, and will not be supporting him more than the basics. He needs motivation to get a job, so I would be really reluctant to give him money unless it is gas for job interviews etc. I would pay for only basics, and maybe something like a cheap 24 hr gym membership?

At 19, if been out of home, supporting myself for 3 years. Choosing not to work is a luxury this kid can't afford.
Make your expectations clear upfront- Is he allowed overnight guests/mooching friends over? What chores is he expected to do? If give him a clear review date 1-2months in, as by then you'll know whether it is working out or not.

Good luck! Hopefully you'll be the making of him.

lbmustache

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2015, 07:16:31 PM »
Not necessarily advice to give you, but I didn't discover MMM till 26. I wish someone had told me when I was 18-19 (a reoccurring theme here, it seems) about all of this. Why the hell didn't I have a retirement account? Why did I max out credit cards? I've earned a relatively good amount of money and I literally have nothing to show for it (lots spent on consumables, going out, etc.).

I think a good thing to mention (once relationship has been established) is: CREDIT CARD INTEREST IS GIVING THE BANK MONEY. THE BANK SHOULD BE GIVING YOU MONEY!!! For some reason, it never connected in my mind. I was convinced I "didn't have enough $" to pay off my CC, and instead could only afford the minimum monthly payment, of which like $80 was interest.

One day I cracked open my statement - see, by having them ONLINE, I never have to look at them. So I'm over here in la-la land never thinking about it, because $4k of debt is "not a ton" (in my mind), especially compared to other people.

Back to the statement. To pay off the CC: 19 years and nearly $12k in interest if I keep making the minimum monthly payment. I was like WHAT THE HELL?! Why had I never looked at this before?! 19 years for $4 measly thousand?! And my brother kindly pointed out that the "$80 interest" was my money going to the bank when I could have an extra $80 to myself if I didn't have this damn payment.

It literally sounds like the dumbest thing: but this thought process never occurred to me. I consider myself to be relatively intelligent. I guarantee that there are millions of people who think this way. 

Now I am 90% of the way there paying the debt off, and only intend to use my CC to rack up the cash back deals. Thus, the bank giving me money. Again, I wish someone had told me this when I was younger.

GizmoTX

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2015, 07:17:46 PM »
How long is "for a while"? Be sure you define the goals. BTW, he's not a kid. Treat him like the adult he's supposed to become, but expect him to respect you & your things.

We have a similar situation, only further down the road. My nephew is staying in our vacation house because his mom (my SIL) has mental issues & his home life wasn't healthy for him. For much of the year, he's by himself -- we pop in at various times & lately have been spending full summers there. DN was supposed to stay for about a year while he went to community college to get the knowledge & credits he missed getting in HS, due to his getting the lowest level of diploma which is unacceptable to accredited universities. His plan was then to  transfer to a 4 year school for a degree in Communications. He's now been in the CC & our house for 3 years, & has demonstrated that he cannot handle an academic program because he's been suspended twice for low grades. He is bright enough but has some learning differences plus no inclination to do more than the minimum necessary. An academic suspension at the CC requires the student to sit out for a semester., supposedly figuring out what went wrong. DN then switched to a trade certificate program in Film/TV/Radio that was supposed to take a year, but it's taking him longer because he's not taking the usual number of courses. We expect him to do basic housekeeping & some yard maintenance but that doesn't happen unless we are there to supervise. However, he is very polite & never sullen. After a year of this, we started charging him a minimal $200/month to cover the increased utilities. He hasn't worked since he moved into our house, initially because he was supposed to concentrate on his studies & because his grandparents set up a college fund for him in the form of UGMA stocks that became his on his 18th birthday. He's enrolled for the fall semester but isn't doing anything during this summer except play video games all day long.

Meanwhile, our son (1.5 years younger) is also staying in the house this summer while working full time at an engineering internship (he's a rising senior due to graduate next May). The guys have been close -- neither has siblings --  & it's been nice having someone in the vacation house to watch over it, since it's 200 miles away from our house. However, DS has been getting really annoyed at his cousin's aversion to work.

We know we're enabling DN & worry about it. He's 23 & completely oblivious to the fact that he's becoming unemployable & his peers are leaving him behind. He's supposed to complete the CC certificate this fall but only if he obtains an internship for his final course, & so far that hasn't happened. However, we have our primary house on the market & plan to either completely renovate the vacation house to live in or sell it too; either option ejects him once we decide. (Either way we will rent in the interim but DN will not be invited to join us there.) We have told him to expect this within a year.

To answer your questions, you set the rules because it is your house. It all comes back to why he is there & what you all expect to accomplish. Just know that the best plans & intentions have a way of dragging out or not materializing. Have an exit strategy.

ambimammular

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2015, 07:35:27 PM »
11ducks has it right.

He's got to know what your expectations for him are before he moves in. Otherwise he will resent not being able to spend his time sleeping and playing video games. You're not the parent and not the babysitter, and those are all the roles he's known. He'll need to clearly define what his plan for the future is, and the steps it will take to accomplish it, and the reasonable time frame. These are all things that have never been required of him. As a good uncle I would totally help him examine these questions, because I'm sure having future game plan has never occurred to him before.

I would want that game plan in writing before he gets his key.

ambimammular

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2015, 07:38:58 PM »

Jakejake

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2015, 09:35:36 PM »
I have an adult child, and though she never did come back to live at home after college, I was prepared for it. My plan was that she either works while she lives here, or volunteers. The idea was that if she couldn't land a job, volunteering would give her job skills, networking, and something to put on a resume.

I would make that a requirement for your nephew also, although I could see altering it to add going to school full time. If he doesn't think working for minimum wage is appropriate for his station in life, then maybe working for free (volunteering) for a bit will give him a different perspective. 

and everything 11ducks said, minus the gym membership because it's totally possible to get a good workout without belonging to a gym.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2015, 09:33:46 AM »
Email him your expectations before he is on his way.

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2015, 11:26:27 AM »
Why is he coming to live with you?  Is the reason relevant to how to approach helping him?.
I really wish I knew more now.  I think he is embarrassed that he has no plan and that his friends are all moving past him. I don't think he wants to hide out forever, but I think he wants a fresh start or a different POV.  He lives across the country in a suburban/almost rural setting, making it difficult to live at home and do anything other than get a dead-end job.  I live in an urban area where jobs and opportunities are plentiful.  I'm hoping that a little exposure to other things may give him some idea of what he' would like to pursue.  And I think his parents think that I'll be more than willing to give him a little dose of reality.  My sister lives in the area too, and she's uber-successful.  She could give him a job if needed.  I hope he'll do something on his own rather than be given a job.  We'll see. 

@11 ducks, you have some good points.  I will make sure we all know what to expect and for how long before he comes. 
I did set down the requirement that there has to be return airfare on an open-ended date. 

@Gizmo - Thank you for your comments.  They make me aware of some of the possibilities and I should be aware not to expect things to happen on my timeline. 

I really do want him to set his own goals with the help of an adult, and I worry that either he is convinced that there is much he can't do, or that much of that might be true, and if it is, I am ill equipped to handle it
 

okits

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2015, 11:57:16 AM »
If he is polite and a good worker, it's not the end of the world for your sister to give him a job.  Some people are passive and not the go-get-em type.  But if you stick them in a situation they will devotedly work the job they're in and be productive and self-sustaining.  It will expose him to 1) people who work for a living and 2) opportunities for advancement.  Plus there will be more people (than just you) to teach him and expose him to new ideas.

It sounds like in his case, the worst thing would be to have to move home with his tail between his legs, having accomplished nothing in his time away.  It's okay to use "do something with your life and be proud of yourself" as a motivator.

GizmoTX

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2015, 01:41:32 PM »
OP, you might want to think of your mission as nephew urban boot camp; he's not a boarder or roommate. Your nephew should not view his stay with you as a vacation, but as an opportunity to experience a different section of the country & to be working to build his self confidence. Can he use public transportation and/or a bike?

Have him open his own checking account (no fee) if he doesn't already have one & start him on Mint software if he has a smartphone or other computing device. With ADD, organization is essential. Make him responsible for his own laundry & housekeeping; show him exactly what you expect. Teach him some easy cooking skills & meals, including cleanup. Show him how to shop for groceries, clothing, etc. As time goes on, you & he should have some discussions about his journey.

Since school is not & should not be in his immediate future, a job definitely should be. Just about any job will teach him life skills, people skills, & being productive. However, if your sister has some good safe options, I'd start there. It's critical that he get started on a job, not spend a lot of time searching for the "perfect" one.

Does he have medical insurance? Get this settled before he comes. Entry level jobs usually don't provide health insurance & he may no longer qualify for his parents' plan if he's not living with them. Also, the HIPAA rules will bar you as a non-guardian from helping him in a medical emergency; you need a parental permission release until he's 18, & then you will need his.

Lski'stash

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2015, 01:56:43 PM »
I would just talk to him about what he is into and what he enjoys doing and work from there. Most people who have ADD ( ADHD is actually an outdated term, as many with ADD do not have the hyperactive part) have some sort of "hyper focus" activity that they will do for hours at a time. For many, it's technology and video games, cars, robotics, science, or other hands on activities. Many people with ADD are also incredibly creative and have really wonderful ideas for solving problems that others don't. The main issue is just getting someone with ADD to finish and follow through with the idea/task at hand:). Also, mundane tasks are NOT well suited for people with ADD, as it has the effect of 'nails on a chalkboard.'

Think about having all of the ideas you have ever had in your brain going on at once, and that should give you some idea about what's going on with your nephew. Really, there's no reason he can't have a great job and an enjoyable life, he just needs to use his strengths to his advantage when choosing a career like anyone else.

G-dog

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2015, 08:16:41 PM »
He needs to help with household upkeep - you could discuss possible chores vs. just assigning. May be good to do these together - e.g. Clean house on Saturday. Also, cook some meals together - good time to talk - he learns more about cooking, sharing workload...

He needs to keep his room / space clean ( more easy to enforce if you have set a good example) - and define what you mean by clean, but be somewhat flexible.

No strangers in your place until you have met them first / he has asked permission. At least until he gets used to your area, etc. this is a personal safety issue fior you both.

He needs to get a job within time period 'x' - 2 weeks, a month, etc.

Are there any courses he is interested in? If he is interested and got to pick (vs. HS where they tell you what you have to take ), he may find some future direction.

Do you have time where you could both volunteer some place? Helping others less fortunate, or any volunteer work may help demonstrate that goodies are not just handed out to everyone.

Some folks swear by a gratitude journal.

I hope you have a lot of time to spend with him / talk with him. He likely needs a mentor, support person who will spend time with him.

Agree with the exit plan.

Good luck!

firewalker

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2015, 08:49:36 PM »
Do you already know the nature of difficulty he experiences with his ADD? All are different. I know of some who have worked with their strengths and weaknesses to great success. I also know of some who cannot look at a bank statement without for more than 30 seconds before the numbers start to blur on the page. Some cannot muster the patience to sit on hold on the phone or focus long enough to type in a password on a web site. All are different.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:52:00 PM by firewalker »

southern granny

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2015, 09:10:31 PM »
My sons was ADHD.  I always told him that ADHD was not an excuse, it was just an explanation of why some things were harder for him than it was for other people.  College did not work out for him and he dropped out.  He works at an auto manufacturing plant, has been married 10 years and has three children.  He is still impulsive and hyper focuses on things, but he turned out good... but definitely not MMM.  I would like to know if there are any mustachians with ADHD.

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2015, 10:03:46 AM »
Do you already know the nature of difficulty he experiences with his ADD? All are different. I know of some who have worked with their strengths and weaknesses to great success. I also know of some who cannot look at a bank statement without for more than 30 seconds before the numbers start to blur on the page. Some cannot muster the patience to sit on hold on the phone or focus long enough to type in a password on a web site. All are different.
I don't know.  All the time I've ever spent with him was doing active things -- he was a kid and we always did our darnedest to try to tire him out physically.  I was surprised the first time I was told he had ADD/ADHD.  He stopped taking meds prescribed to him over 4 years ago -- he just doesn't like them and I don't know enough about his circumstances, but if he's able to concentrate on some things, then I don't think he should have to be a zombie just to fit in with 8 hours of structured school. 


BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2015, 11:02:18 AM »
One week update:

First, thank you to all who provided advice earlier as it was very helpful.  Second, to anyone who makes it through the next few paragraphs of bragging thank you again. 

Today marks the one week spot and my nephew has done exceptionally well.  I am happy to report that his ADHD is not nearly as debilitating as his father let on.  Nephew is an incredibly personable young man, who focuses completely on the person he is speaking with and can relate conversations and observances back with remarkable clarity.  He is splitting his time (living quarters) between my sister (his Aunt) and me, so we're both coming up to speed on living with a teenager and being responsible for another human being. 

Sister was able to get him an internship at her company and is able to oversee nephew.  All reports are good.  Other than some minor professional advice along the lines of keep the cellphone in the backpack and stop checking it every 2 minutes, he has had a great first week and seems terrifically excited about his first foray into the working world.  He's enthusiastic about everything:  his work, the people, the project, the location and amenities that he has around him.  He says he is thrilled to have work to occupy his time during the days. 

He is not given a car.  He carpools when staying with my sister.  When with me, he uses bikes or public transportation. 

So far, he's worked 10-12 hour days and then commuted 45+ minutes each way.  As a result, he has been given no chores, other than cleaning up after himself, doing his own laundry, etc, which he did on his own with no input.  From day one, he has displayed very courteous behavior and is very thankful about the opportunity.  AFter meals, he picks up and rinses the dishes, each time without my asking.  When going to the kitchen, he always asks others if he can get something for them.  His clothes are neatly arranged in my guest room, and he pulls the comforter of the bed over the balled up sheets, but I'm not going to complain about how someone makes the bed -- it's great that he makes it!  He's very kind and I think I have a lot to learn from him.

He returned to my house last night and was up early to take the train to work this morning.  He's needed no prodding about getting his wardrobe ready ahead of time -- he's doing that on his own.  My sister and I are both helping him plan his lunches ahead of time (sandwiches and batch cooking with crockpot). Not sure this part is sticking yet.  I'll see this weekend when we actually cook something together - and shop for the ingredients.  I may have him choose a recipe from budget bytes and then figure out how many days it will last, how many days he cares to eat it in a row, and then what to do for those other days. 

My task this weekend is to help him learn how to budget. Any ideas on how to approach this?  Should I sit him down and give a lesson, or work it into the food shopping for his crockpot meal?  or just reference budget during all other activities?  I really don't want to turn him off of it.  I want him to see it as a tool to help him get what he wants out of life. 

Another issue I'm having difficulty with is his relationship with his father.  There seems to be much resentment from both sides of that relationship.  Father has been treating his son like a lazy, incompetent moron and Nephew has been fulfilling those expectations.  There seems to be passive/aggressive behavior and control through money.  I think nephew is very astute to realize that getting out of the house was necessary and that he can now begin to move forward - even though he doesn't necessarily know where forward is. 

tl;dr   So my two questions relate back to whether to stick my nose into the father/son relationship, and how to incorporate a mustachian love for thoughtful spending into my young nephew's life.  I'm considering the basic "1/3" method, just to keep it at a level he can grasp quite easily.  What should I do?

GizmoTX

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2015, 12:06:42 PM »
Distance should do wonders for the nephew-dad relationship. Since the nephew is earning money & should have minimal expenses living with his aunts, dad should no longer be controlling by money. You might want to limit how many messages of success that you relay to the parents because they may already think they've failed in some respects. Maybe suggest to DN that his communications be cordial & upbeat. He could initiate a call weekly, & politely end it if the parents go negative.

Take a look at the You Need A Budget website -- it has great articles & videos on simple concepts of budgeting & spending. I really like the concept of giving every dollar a job, especially for a beginner. I've been trying out the software, which is solid & fun to use, but it costs $60 after the one month trial unless you are a college student. You could incorporate the concepts into a spreadsheet if you are not sure about the expense. YNAB is essentially an electronic envelope system, so you could go with paper envelopes if you really want it simple.

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2015, 01:31:09 PM »
Distance should do wonders for the nephew-dad relationship. Since the nephew is earning money & should have minimal expenses living with his aunts, dad should no longer be controlling by money. You might want to limit how many messages of success that you relay to the parents because they may already think they've failed in some respects. Maybe suggest to DN that his communications be cordial & upbeat. He could initiate a call weekly, & politely end it if the parents go negative.
I think it's already improving.  His dad seems overly worried about him, calling every night, then calling both Aunts.  I have never seen this side of my brother.  I have a relationship with him where I can call him out on bizarre behavior, but I guess when his son does, it just causes friction.  But it seems much better already, so I'm happy about that.  Hadn't considered that the parents might feel like failures, so thanks for pointing that out.  I'll be sensitive to that. 

Quote
Take a look at the You Need A Budget website -- it has great articles & videos on simple concepts of budgeting & spending. I really like the concept of giving every dollar a job, especially for a beginner. I've been trying out the software, which is solid & fun to use, but it costs $60 after the one month trial unless you are a college student. You could incorporate the concepts into a spreadsheet if you are not sure about the expense. YNAB is essentially an electronic envelope system, so you could go with paper envelopes if you really want it simple.
Good idea.  I've used Quicken for about 20 years, and it's so ingrained in me, but I guess it's time to teach this old dog a new trick.  I'll look at it this weekend.  There's no doubt in my mind that if I showed him Quicken, I'd get some eyes glazed over.  Is Quicken to budgets what the AOL domain is to email addresses?

G-dog

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2015, 02:02:31 PM »
Great news! Glad this is working out.

When you talk to your brother, his dad, it may help to compliment him on what a good job they have done raising their son. Not just, nephew is wonderful, but you guys did do a good job as exhibited by nephew's <insert specific example of good behavior/responsible action>. Of course, if you don't believe this, don't lie!

Also, compliment your nephew on what he is doing well. Things like, I appreciate not having to get you up for work. Tie that into how a boss or coworkers view that same behavior. People are always watching!

Sometimes you are too close to a person or situation to really see the shoe picture, that may be going on here. The parents may need emotional support too. I don't have kids, but I imagine there are a lot of times when you may feel like you are not being a successful parent.

Budget - I would use all the day-to-day activities, like cooking. When making a recipe, estimate the cost of ingredients, how many meals, what percentage of total meals/pay period this covers. When you get your electric, etc. bills, go over them. Go over how much it costs him to take public transport, how much of his pay does this take? Etc.

SandyBoxx

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2015, 02:50:00 PM »
Take a look at the You Need A Budget website -- it has great articles & videos on simple concepts of budgeting & spending. I really like the concept of giving every dollar a job, especially for a beginner. I've been trying out the software, which is solid & fun to use, but it costs $60 after the one month trial unless you are a college student. You could incorporate the concepts into a spreadsheet if you are not sure about the expense. YNAB is essentially an electronic envelope system, so you could go with paper envelopes if you really want it simple.
Good idea.  I've used Quicken for about 20 years, and it's so ingrained in me, but I guess it's time to teach this old dog a new trick.  I'll look at it this weekend.  There's no doubt in my mind that if I showed him Quicken, I'd get some eyes glazed over.  Is Quicken to budgets what the AOL domain is to email addresses?

If you do take on YNAB (you should), perhaps the two of you could learn to use it together.  You may find that he will take to it quicker, and could end up teaching you! (It is a different mindset than Quicken - some people struggle with it at first.)

mlejw6

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2015, 03:17:51 PM »
It sounds like you're doing great and your nephew is blossoming under your care! It sounds like he was in a rut at home, perhaps not being treated like the adult he is now, and a change of scenery was all he really needed to get going. It's probably difficult for your brother to realize his son is no longer a child and can handle responsibilities.

For budgeting, I highly recommend YNAB! I think your nephew will enjoy the interface and it will be very useful to him. I know the price sounds steep, but it is a one-time only price and the budgeting discipline that results will save many times over that $60. It really is worth it!

GizmoTX

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2015, 04:19:54 PM »
From the YNAB website: "You can install YNAB on as many computers (and operating systems) as you'd like as long as it's for your personal/household use. This includes Windows PCs and Macs, so your same license key will work on both operating systems." YNAB supports multiple budget files. It can also be accessed on a free iOS or Android app via Dropbox (it requires the computer file), which is great for portable expense tracking. You can get a free 30 day no limits trial, which I recommend. I initially did this to see if I'd recommend it to my DS, & I like it a lot.

okits

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2015, 07:41:15 PM »
Congrats, your update was a pleasure to read!

Even parents who mean well can resort to control via purse strings.  Teach your nephew that independence, self-respect, and respect from his parents (and society) comes from supporting himself and being able to take care of himself.  He can live the life he wants and be the person he wants if he doesn't need money from anyone (besides what he can earn or his assets.) I expect that would motivate him to learn all the financial stuff.  He needs the "why?" part.

And you can certainly tell your brother all the great stuff about his son and that "you and DW must have taught him that." They may not think he internalized much of what they tried to teach him.  You can also point out that "it takes a village." Parents don't need to teach or give their kids everything, family and community play a part, too (and some lessons are easier if your parents are absent.)

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2015, 05:21:03 PM »
Great news! Glad this is working out.

When you talk to your brother, his dad, it may help to compliment him on what a good job they have done raising their son. Not just, nephew is wonderful, but you guys did do a good job as exhibited by nephew's <insert specific example of good behavior/responsible action>. Of course, if you don't believe this, don't lie!
GREAT advice. I completely forgot about this part.  Yes, they've done a great job and I'm so proud to be out with him. 

Quote
Also, compliment your nephew on what he is doing well. Things like, I appreciate not having to get you up for work. Tie that into how a boss or coworkers view that same behavior. People are always watching!
So true -- will work this into conversation tonight. 

Congrats, your update was a pleasure to read!

Even parents who mean well can resort to control via purse strings.  Teach your nephew that independence, self-respect, and respect from his parents (and society) comes from supporting himself and being able to take care of himself.  He can live the life he wants and be the person he wants if he doesn't need money from anyone (besides what he can earn or his assets.) I expect that would motivate him to learn all the financial stuff.  He needs the "why?" part.

And you can certainly tell your brother all the great stuff about his son and that "you and DW must have taught him that." They may not think he internalized much of what they tried to teach him.  You can also point out that "it takes a village." Parents don't need to teach or give their kids everything, family and community play a part, too (and some lessons are easier if your parents are absent.)

thanks okits, that makes me feel good.  That will be a good way to start tying in money to the conversation.  I'm starting to feel like that's all I talk about when I'm doing the talking.  I am listening  a lot though, so that's positive. 

I can already see nephew appreciates much of what his father has done, just not so much how he has done it, but I think the distance and perspective may start to change that. 

Thanks again for all the advice.  It was very helpful. 

Now, if anyone can tell me how to get him to quit vaping, then that would be a huge win too.

G-dog

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2015, 06:05:59 PM »
Any data on vamping vs. smoking? I hate smoking - but I don't know if gaping is a safer option or not.

It is likely expensive (not sure how the costs compare to cigs), so an awareness of what this costs may be motivating.

okits

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2015, 06:58:34 PM »
Is vaping terribly bad for his health?  I'd focus on other things and leave that alone for now.

Letj

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2015, 07:47:07 PM »
Yes! Nicotine is bad for your health.

wordnerd

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2015, 08:04:40 PM »
Jury is still out on all the health consequences of vaping, but it's definitely not good (and the products are pretty unregulated so you don't always know what you're getting). The one thing he's for sure getting is nicotine, which will addict him no time--if it hasn't already. So, while my impulse is to work on one thing at a time, I think you're right to nip this in the bud early.

A few resources for young adults that may help:
SfT (Smokefree Teen) http://teen.smokefree.gov/
A Web site that provides free, accurate information and assistance to help teens quit smoking and stay tobacco-free.
SmokefreeTXT http://teen.smokefree.gov/smokefreeTXT.aspx#.Vca1IflViko
A mobile service that provides encouragement, advice, and tips to help young adults quit smoking.
Smokefree Smartphone Apps http://smokefree.gov/apps-quitstart
Smokefree smartphone applications that help you track your quit smoking progress, receive motivational reminders, and more.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2015, 08:43:36 PM »
I'm glad this is working out for both of you.

As for vaping....does he like girls? You could mention how many don't like to kiss anyone with tobacco type breath and that the money he saves from not doing it could REALLY further his independence a lot...maybe mention car? (not in your urban area, but for when he branches out on his own).

There's a guy at work who does it nonstop...he looks ridiculous to me. Like the Cheshire Cat.

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2015, 05:57:25 AM »
I'm glad this is working out for both of you.

As for vaping....does he like girls? You could mention how many don't like to kiss anyone with tobacco type breath and that the money he saves from not doing it could REALLY further his independence a lot...maybe mention car? (not in your urban area, but for when he branches out on his own).

There's a guy at work who does it nonstop...he looks ridiculous to me. Like the Cheshire Cat.

Smokers breath doesn't seem to be an issue.  he has shown me some of his stuff. One is vanilla flavored and one is cereal-flavor. Basically sugar.  I let him smoke on my balcony, and yesterday I was out there with him. It smells great. I found myself trying to get deeper and deeper breaths of his exhale in just a few short minutes until I realized what I was doing. As a reformed ex smoker, I don't want to get sucked into addiction again
He fully admits he is already addicted. Vaping is NOT good but they convince you that you have more control by selling the nicotine flavors in different strengths.  They even sell them with no nic. So they seem to get you hooked with the nicotine and then keep you hooked with the oral fix. It is such a hard. Addiction to break, I just think anyone that encourages any addiction is evil.

A good sign:  last night he asked me to sit down with him (today) and teach him things like how to balance a checkbook.  I better go take a look at YNAB. If it's cell phone based, it might be a win and he may even spread it back to his parents if he is successful!  If it's not mobile based, I'm not sure it has much chance. His nose is in his phone A LOT during free time.

Zamboni

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2015, 06:54:52 AM »
I'm glad to read this is going so well so far!

Keep the compliments about your nephew's good upbringing leading to polite behavior going to your brother. It sounds like your brother is pretty insecure about the whole issue and needs lots of positive reinforcement. He's probably also really worried about the move to the city and that his son might get mixed up with the wrong kind of friends. Anything your nephew does right turn into a compliment to his parents (not when nephew is listening if you can avoid it.) If he ends up with friends his age who seem respectable, tell his Dad that and make it a compliment to Dad. And, since you get to call him on his BS historically, if he is calling too much, just let him know that at some point (not right away.)

Like others have also pointed out, keep the positive reinforcement of good behavior going to your nephew as well. Everyone likes to be complimented and feel appreciated.

Leave the vaping alone. He's an adult and can make his choices. I think the most you do is ask him more questions about it (sounds like you already learned about the flavors and that he thinks he is addicted, but how much does it cost? Do his friends or other people at work vape? What about girls? Do the ladies vape?) After he's given you all the scoop he knows about it, then maybe way down the road you can say is "I know you are an adult and can make your own choices about this, but I care about you and wonder about the long-term health effects." My advice is to not even do that more than once or twice a year. As you know, if he quits, it has to be his own idea to try to quit.

Yes, YNAB has a phone app and he'd probably do well with that since he likes to check his phone. YNAB also has lots of videos you can watch to learn about using it. In those videos they talk about saving, so that's a good place to let him discover the idea on his own. Awesome that you taught him how to bank! I felt like such an adult when I got my first checkbook. Let him roll with that for awhile and maybe suggest that something like YNAB sort of goes along with it but that you are old and clueless so maybe he can even teach you about it? People this age seem to love being "in the know" about useful apps.

Tax time will come around next year and you or your sister will get to help him figure that out. Almost no people his age have a clue about how to do this, but with online software for it he should be able to do it on his own as long as someone reminds him to do it; I teach college and I was shocked to realize how many of the students working student jobs didn't even think they had to file a return! I'm already guilty of preaching about starting a Roth with my own kids (who are in middle school and a long way from jobs!), but that might be the first saving suggestion you make, but wait until tax time next year.

Again, congrats that it is going so well so far. If he has a setback, buys something stupid, or massively over-reacts to something, just remind yourself that he's got an explosion of new neural pathways forming right now and that wrecks havoc with emotional control centers and self-regulation. In other words, it's more normal that not for someone his age to make the occasional terrible choice or wig out about something relatively minor sometimes (remark someone makes to him, girl trouble, etc.) He can't completely help it, and if you deal with it calmly and respectfully while making it clear that he needs to respect you as well (if necessary), then he will recover pretty fast.

lark

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2015, 06:35:30 PM »
Be patient about the vaping. He might be self-medicating with nicotine to help manage his ADD symptoms. As he feels more confident in his internship and new life, he might be in a better place to cut back/quit.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #42 on: August 09, 2015, 08:45:35 PM »
Just scrolled through the responses.  One big fight I have had with my brother in the past is regarding "courtesy updates" when you live with someone.  He would just go out after work and not come home until 3 am.  My parents would be worried he died on his commute.  No, you don't need permission after age 18 but it is still nice to let people know when you aren't coming home so they don't worry about you/leave a light on for you needlessly.  If this is important to you; make sure you let him know.  He doesn't need your permission but you do want a heads up if there is a major change in his plans that will cause you worry.  Especially if you normally eat together and you would be waiting for him needlessly.

partgypsy

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2015, 11:43:51 AM »
Be patient about the vaping. He might be self-medicating with nicotine to help manage his ADD symptoms. As he feels more confident in his internship and new life, he might be in a better place to cut back/quit.

Nicotine is a stimulant, right? One theory of ADD, is that ADD people have a defect that causes them to process adrenaline differently; they find it calming. That's why prescription ADD meds are all serious stimulants. The ADD people in my family, myself included, are heavy caffeine users. I can't focus without coffee. In a pinch, I have taken No Doz.

If he's using nicotine to control his ADD symptoms, suggest he tries a cup of coffee when he's craving a smoke.
There is a bunch of research out there that shows that people with various disorders including ADHD self-medicate with nicotine, for them it actually helps them focus. Not vaping is better than vaping (you are now addicted to a substance that affects your daily/hourly schedule and costs $$) but if he is already addicted, it is better than cigarettes (it was originally developed as a smoking cessation aid).

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2015, 02:21:24 PM »
I don't think I say much about the vaping, but where I register that I comment 1 out of 25 times that I otherwise would say something, he's probably registering that I say something almost every time I see him light up.  I don't feel like I'm being overly critical and I don't mean to be, so I think I'm okay on that end. 
I don't really see the symptoms of ADD that I expected.  I probably don't have a good understanding of it yet, but this guy seems pretty able to stay focused on the conversations we've been having.  I helped him with some pretty basic work paperwork yesterday and he did seem to jump around a little.  And then there are the life goals, which seem to be changing.  But for a 19-year old, isn't that normal?  I mean, who knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives?  I surely didn't. 
We were very high level (talking about it only) about the budget.  But what surprised me was that even though we only talked it through for a little while, he was able to recite it back to my sister 3 hours later with remarkable clarity.  I didn't even think he was really paying attention, and that's why I didn't get out the spreadsheet and the laptop.  Is this normal for ADD?  I'm pretty sure that when i look like I'm not paying attention, it's because I"m not. 

Here are the highlights from the budget (I didn't make any judgements...I thought he'd see what a waste some of these things were, but the truth is he just sees that there's a lot of money that he didn't have before)

Take home pay (bi weekly)                                                                                                                    $620.
"Rent" (we're not really charging this, but I told him it's a good idea to set aside 1/3 for housing expenses):  $200
Savings (toward moving/trip to S.A.)                                                                                                       $100
Breakfast sandwiches at work ("they're really good")               $3*5days/week * 2 weeks                           $ 30
Vaping & vaping supplies                                                                                                                        $ 25
Clothing   (he doesn't need anything, but willing to put it aside for when he does                                          $ 25
Food  (sister and I are feeding him now)                                                                                                   $  0
bikeshare key    (deciding between $85 annual or $28 for single month)                                                    $TBD

He couldn't think of anything else and kept saying "I don't really need anything" and "I don't really spend much money, etc.

Keep in mind, that my nephew wants for NOTHING.  He has SO MUCH stuff.  I guess I have to make him consider more about food if he's planning on going on a trip and maybe a more realistic rent.  I could also add a budget category for all of his downloaded music.  And the vaping cost seems low because he has a lot of the supplies right now.  I'll dig in more to how much everything really costs and start budgeting to set aside money to replace the MOD and his juice.

I'm trying to keep it real for him and his circumstances by letting him decide his categories, but unless he has to really start paying his own way, I don't see how I can make it more real.  Before he came out here, I thought I wanted to charge him rent and then give it back to him when he left, but I've come to find out that I'm a big fat pushover!  I WANT to do whatever I can for him.  I WANT to give him everything I have to make his life more comfortable.  He is just so darn nice, that I find myself wanting to give him things.  But I know that's not good for long term results.  I need to be a more bad-ass guardian. I hope I have it in me. 

Chrissy

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2015, 04:52:21 PM »
Um, health insurance?  Cell phone?

okits

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2015, 07:04:07 PM »
Make him give you $150/month in rent.  Tell him that's the catch-all for food, hydro, etc.

In a little while, motivate him to get investing by saying you'll kick in $1 for every $2 he invests (balanced portfolio).  That way he can "earn back" his rent money and his NW grows faster (motivating).  Keep the match part in a separate account until you're sure he's committed to growing wealth and not going to blow it on some luxury item (tempting as they are, that's not the point of this lesson.)

BTW, him being nice and eliciting feelings of "I want to help this guy" is also a life skill/advantage.  That will serve him well!

Zamboni

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #47 on: August 10, 2015, 07:29:56 PM »
It's hard to make a realistic budget before one has been tracking every penny spent for a few months. Otherwise, one tends to just forget about little items like deodorant, toothpaste, and entertainment that do add up. I think he could do this just by entering everything into the YNAB app (I just use an excel spreadsheet and there might be other good apps, but YNAB is very popular with MMM enthusiasts.) I would encourage that tracking, whatever method he uses, as it leads to mindful spending just by doing it, and then he could look back over say the first 3 months of tracking to see the real picture of his current expenses.

I was allowed to be on my parents' health insurance until the ridiculous age of 25. As Chrissy suggested, you might ask about that just to confirm he is covered.

11ducks

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2015, 02:31:52 AM »
I think diagnosis like ADD can be super unhelpful, as behaviours/responses often gets attributed to the disability, rather than the person. I work with teens, including kids with ADD an Autism, and they are incredibly different- their personalities, abilities and achievements are completely different (I have wonderful kids with ADD on As in math, scattered kids, brainy kids, nice and nasty kids, and absolute turds who get Fs and are horrid to be around. 99% of this is personality, the child, not the disability. I find all too often, in schools, kids with labels get free reign to slack off, fail to achieve, or act in antisocial/inappropriate ways , and this is attributed to the diagnosis, when sometimes it is the child. Maybe, inadvertently, this was happening with school/parents, and it has shaped his behaviours/expectations of himself in that environment

It is fantastic that you are giving him the option to start anew, and make his way in the world.

Ps- the 'look like I'm not listening' and the phone addiction is all almost teens.

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice needed: my opportunity to change a young life
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2015, 11:15:48 AM »
You guys have been so helpful. 
My sister's husband is a bit older and seems to want to have the feeling that this is a lazy kid who won't ever do anything if we don't push him to do everything now.  He accuses (good naturedly) me of being a pushover because I gave nephew some spending money until his first paycheck.  And yes, I GAVE it and don't want to be repaid.  I just think he can't hang out with his Aunt all weekend long and feel like an adult, so I want him to feel like he has the means to go do something else when that time comes. 

My family is very white collar focused and has expected everyone to get a college degree and go work in an office.  This forum has helped me see so many other possibilities for income, but my family doesn't really get that.  So I think I'm much more open to different career paths than my family is.  So far, nephew is pretty sure that he doesn't want to go to college; doesn't want to be an electrician or plumber. 

What I see about him:  He loves soccer, but is not good enough for professional sports.  Might be great at teaching or coaching.  Is especially kind to people who are not as socially tuned in as he is.  Is incredibly likeable and sociable with people of any age.  Willing to initiate a conversation with anybody.  Focuses intently on people when they speak to him and he's genuinely interested in what they have to say. 

Any ideas on where to point him?  I think he'll die if he has to go to an office for the rest of his life.  And if he's unlikely to go to college, then office work is usually pretty limited.  I know I'm biased, but honestly, my nephew could be a superstar if he's in the right environment.  But I don't know what that environment is. 
Two thoughts I've had:  Maybe a soccer cameraman or maybe a lobbyist. 

I don't need the perfect career, but if I have some suggestions that are different from "go to an office and do whatever they tell you to do"  then I think that may start him dreaming about a future.  And honestly, I don't know that he dreams big at all.