December 1, 2014 at 11:53 pm #30982
We have talked in a number of threads about various skills we either personally work on or that we look for in others that we want to ally ourselves with. Here I’d like to get a discussion going specifically on decision-making skills. What prompts me is my having concluded that I can’t fix my nephew’s abysmal decision-making skills. He is smart, bold, fit, incredibly hard working and extremely personable, but he can’t think a situation through to a decision that’s in his own interests. I used to think his good qualities could come in handy when the SHTF but at this point I don’t want him here. Not only can’t he make good decisions, he is eternally convinced that he knows the right answer. That’s a dangerous combination.
The rule of thumb I tried teaching him, using real life and personal to him examples, was if what you want to do works, do you get much of a reward/upside? If it doesn’t work, is there much of a penalty/downside? If the answer is little reward/high penalty, then its probably not a good decision to make. If high reward/low penalty, it is worth considering. The other part of this was to consider what are the odds of success vs failure. Lastly, I posed to him the concept of focusing on the long term goal. Winning the war is more important than winning any given battle. Your short term actions need to support achieving your long term goal. I started coaching him after his Dad (my brother) died nearly three years ago, but at this point I give up.
It would be OK to have a poor decision-maker in your group if they added value in other ways and accepted the leadership of whoever was the best decision-maker in the group. A poor decision-maker who wants to do their own thing (such as my nephew) rather than defer to the group’s leader would not be OK.
Other thoughts?December 2, 2014 at 12:34 am #30984
How old is your nephew?
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1December 2, 2014 at 12:47 am #30985
There are individuals that subconsciously or consciously make self defeating decisions to avoid success. I can’t explain this behavior but I know it exists.December 2, 2014 at 12:49 am #30986
Sounds like you’re not attacking the root of the problem. He’s been taught to have no self.December 2, 2014 at 1:02 am #30987
28. Plenty old enough to have learned decent decision-making skills. Just so you know I’m not talking little stuff though he is as bad with small decisions as big ones. His choices have taken what could have been a charmed life to a life that is going to be a struggle. Except for one item that I was oblivious to, every other major bad choice was something I had specifically coached him on, which he promptly ignored.December 2, 2014 at 1:14 am #30988
MB have you considered he’s rebelling against your input? ” Except for one item that I was oblivious to, every other major bad choice was something I had specifically coached him on, which he promptly ignored. -“December 2, 2014 at 1:18 am #30989
Brulen, he had really bad role models growing up. Though both his parents were attorneys they were really bad making decisions. One small example. At the very beginning of this process I had to help him get a bank account because he had already mucked up his finances that badly. In talking to him about how to restore his credit, he was completely surprised to hear that people with good credit pay their bills on time every time. He had never heard that before. Knowing he was coming into a lot of money, I spent a lot of time trying to teach him how to manage money. He pissed it away in only 2 years. This was more money than most people will ever see or accumulate in their lives. When I recently learned the money was all gone, I made it clear to him he won’t be getting any from me regardless of whether he’s being evicted, need to pay his child support, or needs to be bailed out. I told him don’t even ask.December 2, 2014 at 1:22 am #30990
Ya sounds like oppositional defiant behavior. There could be a deep rooted resentment hidden deep inside. Probably totally unjustified.December 2, 2014 at 1:32 am #30991
stingray, I’ve thought about that and hope it isn’t the case, but I think its more a matter of no impulse control. He never had any as a kid and with his parents being attorneys they were quick to go on the offensive with the schools or anybody else that tried calling him on his behavior. Heck, they’d get mad at me when I’d tell him no at my own house. One example. When he was 3 or 4 they were at our house for a pool party. I had steps which were just slate set in pea stone leading up to the pool area from the driveway. He’s throwing the stones into the lawn and I tell him to stop. He does, and goes over to a young tree I had planted and is bending it back and forth to the point it was maybe going to snap. I tell him to stop, and my brother tells me I just told him he couldn’t throw the stones and now I tell him he can’t bend the tree, I need to let him do one or the other. I tell him no I don’t, he can’t do either, he has every toy known to man here to play with (my son’s stuff) plus the pool. This is how he grew up, and after my brother died I thought maybe I could save him, but I can’t. His mother knows he doesn’t know how to make good decisions and is trying to help but isn’t so good at it herself. She’s been coming to me looking for advice of late herself.December 2, 2014 at 1:42 am #30992
I’m sure you realize, even though it’s heart wrenching, your not responsible for whatever happens to him. In fact it sounds like his mother has been a enabler his whole life.December 2, 2014 at 1:57 am #30993
74, his mother recently admitted to me (and herself) that she has been an enabler. I was clear to her that I was not going to help him financially as that would only be shielding him from his bad choices and he’d never learn, that I will not be an enabler. If he wants advice I’m glad to give it but I’m not otherwise wasting my time being he hasn’t listened to anything else. I saw yesterday when I helped him move that she’s not ready to do any tough love herself.
So, if I see the SHTF starting, I will not be calling him to hightail it to my place.December 2, 2014 at 2:07 am #30995
The best way to help them is to suggest to her that she go with her son to professional counseling. She has to convince her son to go. You should stay clear. Just my opinion.December 2, 2014 at 3:15 am #30997
MB – accept the fact a part of you will always feel torn about ‘helping’ your nephew…because he is blood…and your brother’s child…and there is probably some feeling of ‘helping’ by stepping up to fill the gap left by the loss of your brother. However, IMHO, don’t listen to that sentimentality. It will do neither you nor your nephew any favors. You can not, by force of will or desire alone, no matter how well intentioned, save this young man from himself, his poor choices, and their consequences. All of us have made poor choices in our lives. Some more than others. Some of us are faster learners than others. Some never learn any lessons from our poor choices at all. All you can do is to be there if and when HE chooses to seek you out for advice or help – and by help I mean advice only.
One of the hardest things in life is to watch another make choices that you can ‘see’ are not to their benefit. But, you can still love them just the same, even though it is hard to watch them stumble, fall only to stumble all over again…needlessly. We all have to give others the opportunity to fail – that is how we eventually, hopefully, finally learn about the ways of this life. Some people are humble and willing to seek and consider the advice of others…some aren’t. That’s what free will is al about. Hard as it may be to watch…and do nothing…but stand there willing to council…if only asked. Everyone learns differently. Your nephew may choose, choose, to live out his life never learning what he needs to learn. But that is not your problem nor your fault.
Tough love is a hard row to hoe…but a noble one. Stick too it.
I threw my youngest brother ( a diabetic – shots twice a day) out of my house when he began using crack in the 80’s. Family all thought I was so cruel. How could I do that. I didn’t do it out of the blue. We had talked, I had talked myself blue in the face, we made agreements, agreements broken etc. The day I threw him out, telling him I loved him I also told him whenever he was ready to come back to ‘my.our’ world and sincerelt make an effort to change and be a responsible adult – call me. No ‘I told you s;o – nothing would he get from me that I promised. 11 months later I got a call asking if I would come pick him up. I asked no questions, we discussed nothing about that time. I gave him a one way ticket he couldn’t cash and told him if he wanted to leave this chapter of his life behind to make a plane reservation and let me know when to pick him up. He did, I did. He has been clean for 35 years, great job, family etc. It was his choice to make and his alone. I refused to enable anything but positive choices.
Don’t doubt yourself my friend. You are doing the right thing. I wouldn’t have him come, in his present state/frame of mind, near my BOL either – family/blood or not. It’s hard but it is not your job to ‘fix’ a grown adult that doesn’t know they need repair. My 2 cents.December 2, 2014 at 3:19 am #30998
74, I am steering clear at this point. I only helped him move yesterday because I had previously said I would, plus I wanted to have a little face time with his mother to reinforce previous conversations in hopes she’ll stop enabling. After another major screw up earlier in the week my wife told me not to go but my word is my word and so I went. It is hard accepting I can’t fix him, but it is what it is. He knows where to find me if he ever decides that he’s ready to get his life on track. I won’t let him bullshit me in that regard. After every interaction with him I appreciate more and more what fine adults my kids are. Then again they had good role models.December 2, 2014 at 3:26 am #30999
Very well said tweva, and you’ve nailed my situation perfectly. I’m glad your brother turned things around. Time will tell with my nephew. No matter how he grew up, its his choice how he lives his adult life.
Thanks for your thoughts and guidance everyone.
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