Life Skills 101


DSS is here with us. He is an absolutely lovely 17.5 year old.

He has no life skills. I find it very disturbing. He doesn’t go to school, he doesn’t drive, he can’t structure himself, he barely manages money.

He does know what to do in an emergency, he can cook microwaveable food, he works hard when you tell him what and how to do things, he doesn’t drink, do drugs or is sexually active. He is polite and interacts well with people (most of the time), he is helpful, he is kind. He is good with little kids.

Did I mention he has a 139 IQ?

His mother does absolutely no teaching. He describes her as, “more of a friend than a parent.” This is clear as she is the kind of friend that doesn’t take you for glasses (when you are very far-sighted) for 6 freakin’ months or make you go to school. Some friend. I find the whole thing absolutely shameful.

(To give some perspective: I went to a Montessori preschool because my mother wanted me to learn “useful skills” like polishing silver. I could cook a full dinner by age 10; bathe, diaper , feed and babysit younger sibs by age 10 and was working mostly full-time EVERY summer of my life since age 12, until I finished school. I’ve never been unemployed except for 1 month in my adult life and that was when I returned from Bosnia and had to wait for my job to start). MO2 worked part time through high school, lived alone starting at age 16,  joined the Navy at 17 and has been in one branch of the Armed Forces since then (except for the 4 years he was in college and then he worked as much as his coursework would allow).

So we’re starting from scratch. DSS is learning to cook two dinners of his choice 2x a week during his visit (with 100% supervision), passing his GED (we’ve been doing GED prep every day he has been here) and doing home improvement chores with MO2.

His goal is to go to a vo-tech program for auto body design. We have told him quite bluntly that we will not pay for college unless he is here so we can see him go (given his track record). He is 18 in September. His child support ends then. I will continue with the life skills curriculum until he returns to KS. We can’t work on driving until he turns 18 because in our state, you have to wait until 18 if you are a drop out. He’ll go home before he turns 18.

 I can only hope and pray that he makes some good choices for himself. I just don’t know what else to do besides love him, be supportive but firm and hope for the best.


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