Parenting

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by DerStrom8, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. DerStrom8

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Hi everyone.

    So recently I found myself "parenting" two 20-year-old boys. They're both college students studying at the school where I work. They also live in the same dorm room. I won't go into details about how I ended up parenting them, but I want to get this off my chest.

    One of the students, let's call him Fred, has a minor mental disability. Essentially it is Asperger's Syndrome, though not as severe as I have seen it in some young children and adults. I have discussed it with him, and he told me his parents had him tested when he was younger and he showed 7 out of 12 autistic traits. Because of this disability, I have noticed he tends to have a lot of tics--scratching, grunting, moaning, stuttering, etc. They worsen when he's under stress.

    The other student, let's call him Jim, has no disability that I am aware of, but is very stubborn and thick-headed. Small things annoy him, and sometimes he can really lash out if continued. I think you can see where this is going....

    Lately Jim has gotten annoyed at Fred's tics--little things, like the scratching. Things that are hardly worth getting annoyed over, but happen frequently. Over the past couple of months. Jim has begun to lash out at Fred, criticizing everything he does. The main one lately is Fred's instrument playing. Fred enjoys playing the piano and saxophone, but Jim doesn't like it at all. In a way it's understandable--Fred has woken Jim up from naps, or even his night's sleep, with his instrument playing. I was able to solve the problem with the piano--it's an electric keyboard, so there's a headphone jack. Fred recently purchased an adapter so that his 3.5mm headphone plug could fit in the 6.35mm jack on the keyboard. To my knowledge, there has not been an issue with the piano since. However, the saxophone has been another problem entirely. The sax tends to be the most disruptive to Jim, since it is loud and the sound carries more than most other instruments. I had asked Fred if he would be willing to take his saxophone to one of the study rooms in his dormatory to practice (provided nobody was in there trying to study), and he agreed. Problem solved, right? No. Just today Fred started playing his saxophone in the dorm again, when Jim was trying to sleep. Fred did not realize Jim was even in the room, so he assumed it was okay to play. Jim became very irate, verbally assaulted Fred and stormed out. Fred is very depressed now, and Jim refuses to listen to my urges to work this out between them. I suggested they talk to their Resident Assistant in their dorm, but Jim refuses. I have suggested a "Do Not Disturb" sign to show that he is in his room and trying to study or sleep, but instead of giving it a try, he has decided to cut all ties with Fred and move out.

    Are there any parents out there of older children who have any thoughts or suggestions? I am not technically a parent--I do not have any children of my own--but I want to ask you if there is anything I should have done differently. Did I go wrong somewhere? What would you have done in this case? These two students were best friends when I first met them, and now they're going their separate ways, Jim very angry, and Fred emotionally insecure. I have done everything I can to help them settle their differences, to compromise and become friends again, but all my attempts seem to have been in vain.

    So that's my story. Been a long few weeks, and I've pretty much exhausted all my resources trying to resolve the problems and eliminate the tension between Jim and Fred. I guess I just don't know what to do anymore.

    Thanks for reading.
    Regards,
    Matt
     
  2. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    Doesn't the university have a music room? I would think everyone on the floor could be disturbed by the sax playing. Maybe it should be explained to Fred that if everyone in the dorm played a musical instrument then no one would ever get any sleep or study.

    I have never stayed in a college dorm but I have stayed in many of a hostel. The golden rule when you are in the dorm QUIET. This means no music playing not even talking. If you have a private room which is more college dorm like then talking at low volume is permitted.

    So at least you have a suggestion for one side of the equation.:)
     
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  3. DerStrom8

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Fred and I have discussed his instrument playing, and how it can be heard from a long way off. As far as I know this university does not have a music room--it is a technical college, and I rarely stray far from the electronics labs.

    I have suggested playing on a street corner or in a subway station to earn a little money, half as a joke and half to settle the problem. To my surprise he agreed. The thing about Fred is that he's eager to solve the problems. He's willing to sacrifice a lot to make everyone else happy. In my opinion, the problem now isn't with Fred, it is with Jim. He's simply too bull-headed to stick around and try to solve the problems.
     
  4. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Kids often make rash decisions, I think you already know that.

    Especially young men, once they have something locked into there heads, that's they way it is, not matter what.

    I've raise six children. It's only afterward that they regret those decisions, with some you can redirect their energy, others will not or cannot see the bigger picture.

    I think you have done what you can, now it's up to them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
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  5. spinnaker

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    Maybe with Fred playing elsewhere Jim will be a little more understanding? Sometimes a major annoyance like sax playing can cause someone to use a magnifying glass to look for all of the tiny other little annoyances that would otherwise go unnoticed.

    It might also be explained to Jim that everyone has a few things that annoy others, You just need to overlook some things to keep the peace because you probbaly do something equally annoying to the other.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
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  6. DerStrom8

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    You're absolutely right, and that's what I thought at first. It wouldn't take much from Jim to work things out. All he needs to do is give the new arrangements time to work. The problem is that Jim refuses to be more understanding, and is unwilling to give it any more time. In a way I can understand--this has been going on for quite some time, but has only recently become a major issue. Jim says his patience has run dry and he will not put up with it any longer.
     
  7. spinnaker

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    That is one thing that would stink about college dorms is that most times you can't pick your roommate.

    My buddies and I both friends and we both sail together and bicycle tour together. It is a hard thing to try and get along and that is with friends and it is only a week or two.

    On sailing trips, I am usually skipper. I tell newbies, you need to learn to get along because the furthest you will be able to get from someone on a 35ft boat is 35ft. :)

    Cycle touring is a little easier because you have your own space. If you want even ride on your own for a while but even with all that we still have our squabbles but always go home friends to ride together some other trip.
     
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  8. maxpower097

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    Feb 20, 2009
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    I have aspergers but not as severe as "Fred" Sounds like Jims just a Bleep, I remember that age very well and sometimes people just don't get along. It may be the very best for both of them if Jim moves out and a more understanding person moves in.
     
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  9. DerStrom8

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    I'm leaning that direction myself. As I mentioned, I don't think there's really anything more I can do, and I'm about ready to back out. I wish they would settle their problems, but if they can't both agree to, then so be it.

    Thanks for the guidance everyone. It really helps take a load off.

    Have a good night.
    Matt
     
  10. strantor

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    Oct 3, 2010
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    These dudes are 20 years old, they aren't kids. Your opportunity to influence their behavior ended quite a few years ago, before you met them. The only thing that can change them now is their own conscious decision to change. You may be able to lead them to water (ideas), but it's up to them to drink.

    I've had similar issues cohabitating with other adults selected at random, and I can testify that adults in close quarters do not always act like adults. I've had a 45 y/o man tattle on me to my boss half a world away because I left a few small pieces of ramen noodle in the sink drain. This was on the day I moved in, before I had ever met him, or was aware that I even had a roommate. On the second day we got into a confrontational standoff over the placement of shoes inside the door.

    You fancy yourself as "parenting" these men; I can't argue with the feeling. Dealing with immature adults often feels like parenting. But honestly, if you really feel like a parent in this situation, then you should reevaluate your role. You aren't their parent and you can't make them behave like adults. If it were me, I would wash my hands of the situation. It's not your problem. They will learn how to sort out their differences or not; it's part of maturing, and some people never mature. Stop beating yourself up about not being able to "fix" them. Even the aspergers guy. You shouldn't pity him or cut him any slack or treat him any differently than you would treat any other adult, IMO. You shouldn't think of him as a child when he's not.
     
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  11. gerty

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    My "kids" are 37 and 38, raising them, the process seemed to be
    1Parenting.. up to about 14 years of age
    2. Chaperoning about 15 to 18
    3 Refereeing 18 on up. Late teens early 20's were interesting at my house, while there never was a knock down-drag out fight, they had tempermental conversations..:eek:
    They get along fine now:D
     
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  12. loosewire

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    Apr 25, 2008
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    Before things get to far out of hand ,you need the free advice of a social service.

    Cost you nothing for service and protects you if the boys harm each other.

    It seems like you are in the middle of a good deed going wrong ,with out the

    third party social worker you are in a bad position if any one get hurt or

    just appears to be harmed...be careful.....you have a lot at stake.

    It could work out with the third party to the court,no other way. They

    have 27/7 hot lines,you should be on one after youy read this.
     
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  13. DerStrom8

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Thanks loosie. So far it hasn't escalated to the point of physical violence, and honestly I do not see that happening. However, 'Fred' did talk to his RA and now that she is in the picture, I am backing out. They're both great kids, but they're obviously still that--kids. I'm hoping they mature a bit more before going out into the real world....

    The reason I didn't call a social worker or someone like that was because these guys just turned 20. There are always arguments between guys that age--I remember it from when I was in college. I was in a 6-person suite, and we ended up having to kick one of the guys out because of his terrible habits and inappropriate behavior. I remember having similar problems myself, which is why I felt they could resolve it without the need of a social worker. I assure you, if it gets worse and the RA can't help them, she'll call the proper authorities. But again, I'm confident they can work things out.

    @strantor, the only reason I got caught up in this mess was because I was the only adult around, and I was worried about what might happen if they were left on their own. Now that they have their resident assistant involved, there's no real need for me. I was mainly acting as a mediator between them to hopefully avoid any severe issues. Now I'm hoping to be able to withdraw myself and they can solve any remaining problems with the aid of the RA.
     
  14. loosewire

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    Apr 25, 2008
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    Give it to the ra's and run,get another room,school P.D. foul's up too much.

    I know you are the strong sturdy adult figure,don't get caught in the middle

    its not worth it.
     
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  15. THE_RB

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    Feb 11, 2008
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    Just don't stress about it that much!

    When we were 20 yr olds I remember big fights one week and good friends the next week, things are so much more intense at that age and change and resolve quickly.

    If you were still to have some input, instead of trying to "fix" anything I would just put forward that point, that's its common enough at that age to fight one week and be best friends the next. And if that friendship never re-established then they will probably both have a different friend the week after. It's more important to have a good relaxed attitude and get on with moving on and being happy than to try to stress over fixing something (which probably involves trying to force something).
     
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  16. loosewire

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    Apr 25, 2008
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    The key word is parenting,that covers a large area,from food to education

    in a system that is not prepared to make a differents. All the parts are there,

    but they don't fit smoothly.