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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Responsibility

How old are we when we start taking responsibility for ourselves? As children, once we are potty trained we are responsible for knowing when to go to the toilet. We become responsible for looking after our toys. When we start school at 5 years old we instantly become responsible for many things.  As we grow our responsibilities increase and one would believe that our sense of self as well as self confidence grows with our growing responsibilities.



How does that all go horribly wrong? How do you end up with a young adult who does not want to take on any responsibilities? In fact a young adult who does not even acknowledge responsibility for his own actions and behaviours?

There is an element of entitlement, "the world owes me".  An element of being the victim, "others are to blame, it is their fault".  An element of arrogance, "people will do things for me because I deserve it". An element of laziness, "I can't be bothered, it's too much work". Though some of these behaviours/ideas may seem to be contradictory, they can all be present in a person. I see them all in my son.

I seem to be responsible for everything in his eyes. He thinks I have to wake him up and if I can't manage to do so then it is my fault he slept so late. He thinks I have to make sure he gets to appointments, if not it is my fault. He thinks I have to finance everything he wants and needs. He has two parents, but he thinks since he does not live with his father his father is exempt from helping for the cost of things like passport fees, driving lessons, etc.. He thinks I am forcing him to be in a drug rehabilitation program. He thinks it is the school's "over reaction and dislike for him" that resulted in the permanent exclusion, not the fact that he was smoking weed on the school grounds, during school hours! He thinks the arguments are not because of drugs, or his behaviour, instead it is my reaction to the drugs which is the problem. He seems to think it is my responsibility to cook for him when he demands, wanting dinner at 10 pm, though I say if he wants to be fed like his sisters than he should be awake for mealtimes!



I am a single mom because I could not tolerate the controlling relationship I was in and I could not keep witnessing the emotional pain and abuse my ex husband subjected our children too. However, because I choose to ask my husband to leave and have perused a life as a single mom, does not mean that I am a slave to my children. I am not the only one in this household who is expected to do their fare share of work.


Before drugs my son and I were so close and in fact my husband was actually jealous of our relationship. My son was kind and helpful and loving. He always did his chores and helped me. After we had our second child, my son would help me and read to his sister to give me time to do things. When he would come home from school he complimented me on how much work I got done. I remember being pregnant with my third child, my son was 9, and he would hoover for me and change his own sheets and even cooked some meals. After his little sister was born, he was her "babysitter" and he would watch her and play with her and entertain her while I cooked dinner. He even cut the grass and helped when and where he could. All was good.



Somehow the drugs started, and eventually the home involvement started to slowly decrease. There would still be some help and sticking to chores, but it soon became less and less. Now I live with a son who appears to be a male chauvinist pig, he assumes I will do all the work while he contributes absolutely nothing.
What is worse when I try to explain to my son that he should do some work around here and then he will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when he steps back and says, I did that.....he says, "You know that feeling you are talking about?  Well, times that feeling by 100 and that is the feeling you get on opium and it was for zero effort. Why should I do work and make myself tired for that feeling when I can get it in an instant?" How can I compete with that? How can I get the message through to him that a life of purpose and achievement and self worth  through hard work is SO much better than an instant high?