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Thread: How do you motivate an 18 yr old? I'm frustrated!!!!!

  1. #1

    How do you motivate an 18 yr old? I'm frustrated!!!!!

    I'm angry and frustrated. Our son is 4 1/2 months post and since his release from phase one rehab (12/23) it's like pulling teeth to get him to excercise or do anything he should be doing (with the exception of the pt that comes twice/week).

    We've built a standing frame, installed a winch to support him in the frame, bought an excercise mat and ball, a bowflex and much more and he hates it when we try to get him to workout even for just 30 minutes. Yesterday evening he said that he would get in the standing frame for 30 minutes, but as the evening passed, I asked him, "When do you plan on getting out there in the garage", and he kept putting me off. Finally, we had a huge blow up. Dad and I are frustrated with his lack of interest and all he could say is, "I don't need all this stuff to make me walk". Then after much more arguing, he claims that Dad & I got all the equipment to make us feel better. WHAT?

    We KNOW he needs to be excercising, range of motion, upper body strengthening, standing, etc.. but getting through his thick skull is driving me batty. As all parents, we want what is best for him and have tried to provide as best we can. It's killing us to see him sit in the chair and have no interest whatsoever and honestly, I'm tired of arguing about it.

    We're currently on a waiting list for PT/OT rehab at the Brain & Spine Center in Austin. Once admitted, I know he'll have to work, but in the meantime, he should be doing more than sitting in front of his computer all day.

    He's had some return so far, hip flexors and some other muscles here and there are starting to contract and he's having sensations (off & on) as low as his calves. We feel he needs to capitalize on these things, but he's not the least bit interested and we don't know what else to do. I've asked him to visit this site, but he refuses....
    FAITH: Is not believing God can, but knowing he will.

  2. #2
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
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    I do not know if you can do anything else than what you are doing. With him being relatively new in his injury, he is dealing with a lot of stuff, and he may be just rebelling against you. The more you push, the more he will pull away. He has to be willing to do things...it is not enough that you want him to. Maybe when he gets into that intensive rehab program, he can see what is possible, and also realize how much work he will need to put into it.

    I know after my diagnosis I did not want to do anything. It is part of our grieving process...some throw themselves into it all the way, and others like myself and your son, just does not want to do anything. I know that once I saw others in my circumstance doing things for themselves that I did not think possible, I started to come around, and hopefully he will too.
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faithful1990 View Post
    I'm angry and frustrated.
    ....
    Until you solve this problem, you won't have much success helping your son.

    Rehab is tough. It takes great skill and patience to motivate and produce the best result. Taking his actions personally is normal, human, and totally ineffective. Encourage, encourage, encourage - even when you think he is slacking. Remember, you can change your behavior, but you have no power over his.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  4. #4
    honestly, if he doesnt want it, all the pushing in the world wont motivate him. was he an athlete b4 injury. i was young 15 when i got hurt, thats all i wanted to do was lift. seems, all i did was lift and fall on my face the 1st five years. keep pushing,,,,,,,,,thats all u can do. DO NOT let him give up and be dependant on you, i see to much of that here an in the world, let him know thats not acceptable.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    It's a tough call. I took all my folks encouragement as criticism, all their suggestions as "you are not good enough" and I had had my condition since birth. At 17 I discovered weightlifting and slowly came out of my shell.

    Add to that raging hormones, bad acne and braces on my teeth and I was one big mess.

    I'd say keep the low level encouragement and focus on self care for now, but be prepared to practice some tough love when called for.

    B

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old View Post
    Until you solve this problem, you won't have much success helping your son.

    Rehab is tough. It takes great skill and patience to motivate and produce the best result. Taking his actions personally is normal, human, and totally ineffective. Encourage, encourage, encourage - even when you think he is slacking. Remember, you can change your behavior, but you have no power over his.
    Great advice.
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  7. #7
    Faithful, could it be that you have too much "push" and not enough patience? Your son is 18. Legally, he's an adult. If he wants to sit on his butt and do nothing all day, that's his perogative. Your pushing him is likely making things worse. Perhaps you might take that "tough love" you're trying to hand out to your son and take a dose of your own medicine.

    Have you asked your son what he wants his life to be.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  8. #8
    horrible advice. there isnt an 18 yo alive that knows what they want. letting him be unproductive isnt right. young injuries need pushed hard imo

    Quote Originally Posted by Danine View Post
    Faithful, could it be that you have too much "push" and not enough patience? Your son is 18. Legally, he's an adult. If he wants to sit on his butt and do nothing all day, that's his perogative. Your pushing him is likely making things worse. Perhaps you might take that "tough love" you're trying to hand out to your son and take a dose of your own medicine.

    Have you asked your son what he wants his life to be.
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  9. #9
    What DOES motivate him? If he doesn't have anything now since he's such a recent injury, what motivated him before? Maybe it was sports, band, games, making money, acting, computer programming, writing, or just about anything else. Let him continue to work towards those goals or let him explore and find new goals. As fuentejps said, letting him be unproductive isn't right. If he won't do anything himself (he is only 18...) make the time to take him to places where he can engage in activities he enjoys. Action often proceeds motivation, and that's the hardest step to take.

    As far as exercising goes, in order to get him motivated, it has to be linked to a functional goal. Exercise for the sake of exercise isn't very motivating. Exercise with a goal is a key. It can be a specific goal of doing a marathon in a year, or a generic goal of just being healthy.

  10. #10
    Yes, of course, we have asked him what he wants. He wants to WALK. How can you walk if you don't work? One example of my frustration, we've been instructed to make sure he lays on his stomach for stretching at least 1 hour day and he doesn't see the need. That is what is so damn frustrating. He says he wants to walk, but won't stretch to make sure the muscles don't get jammed up. His injury is still new. He just turned 18 and hasn't even graduated HS yet (May 30). What HS senior KNOWS what's best for them? I certainly didn't.

    Obviously, I'm not in a chair and I'm not in his shoes and I have no idea what's he's going through. But as his mother, caregiver, provider, it's difficult to say the least, that's he's not even trying.
    FAITH: Is not believing God can, but knowing he will.

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