I need to have a discussion with my son concerning behaviors. It is so difficult for me to break things down sometimes to where it doesn't sound like a lecture. I'm trying not to hurry his progression but I want him to fit society and not experience the setbacks when society doesn't meet his expectations and he is being judged as a 21 year old man and not a recovering addict.
There are times his behavior makes little sense to me, but I have learned that people do what makes sense to them at the time. I have found in my job and in life seldom do people strive to do wrong, they do what makes sense in their world. The trouble is "their world" and "the world" may be disconnected at the time or not enough information or learning is available. My struggle is how to communicate this to him.
Laws, rules and norms are something I do not feel my son has a of grasp of in his life. Obviously laws are a problem otherwise we wouldn't be going to court next week. But once again, doing what makes sense to him, he needed drugs, he had no money so the only way to get money was to violate the laws. Laws are something I feel he gets, he just makes a choice to break them and doesn't connect consequences to actions.
From my perspective, rules are definitely something he feels if they don't make sense to him, they have no impact on him. As an example, a rule is no smoking in our house and the house includes my garage and shop. If it's raining or cold he thinks it is stupid to have to smoke in the rain or get cold. If we are home he will go outside but if we are not home he obviously thinks no one will know. But as any non-smoker knows you can smell that nasty stench long after the smoke disappears.
Norms are a whole other subject that I feel are just as important but I am not sure he even recognizes. To me behavioral norms are the lubricant of society. When people act as others expect them to act, societal actions move smoothly. When a person does something that may be fully within the law and not breaking a rule but it is recognized as bizarre by others a tremendous amount of processing power is expended by those adjusting to the action. This is hard for me to put into words, I'm not trying to deal in conformity and non-conformity. It's more about meeting the expectations of yourself and others. I guess some might say, "yea, common sense" but I was awakened a long time ago that common sense is not that common.
The problem is with most of us learn these these gradually. We learn to adjust and adhere.
It seems with my son at times he works very hard to try and please and want recognition for his work. I think this is from him being so far down sometimes he is just trying to get his bearings as to what actually is up. But as he begins to move forward, and he does have interviews at Oxford Houses this Sunday, he needs to fast track his learning of these concepts. I have supervised and managed people for over 25 years. In this time I have watched as people succeed and fail just because of the struggle with rules and norms. Maybe an example would be one way of illustrating what I feel. The other night I had forgotten to sweep up under my table saw and I ask him to sweep up under my saw in the shop. He really jumped right on it and did the task. That was exactly what I ask, he swept up and left 2 piles of sawdust sitting right next to the saw. In my world sweeping up means picking up the pile, obviously in his world sweeping up is just that. I tried being patient and explaining the concept of the whole job. He thought I was picking on him and I thought it was a teachable moment. I just kept thinking of if he was working for me at my work and he was just another employee it would not be handled as a "teachable moment".
I haven't decided whether to say anything about these things to him. First I'm not really sure how or what I would say, but I know it needs to be said. Secondly, I'm not even sure he is in a place where he could do anything about it. Maybe solving my own dilemma is exercising patience.