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Thread: helping vs. enabling

  1. #1

    helping vs. enabling

    the recent heat over fuente's "lazy quads" thread bugs me.

    let me propose that it's an issue of helping vs. enabling.

    • helping is doing something for someone that they can't do for themselves.
    • enabling is doing something they could and should be doing for themselves.

    obviously it's entirely a situational issue about which is applicable.

    discuss...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    So, if you fix your wife's computer, you are an enabler? And that's a bad thing?

    Who determines what a person can do for themselves? Who determines what they should be doing for themselves?
    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

  3. #3
    apples :: oranges

  4. #4
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -scott- View Post
    apples :: oranges
    Not at all. How about answering the question of who makes those determinations of can and should?
    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

  5. #5
    I consider enabling to be assisting someone to accomplish something they cannot do alone. i.e. my husband picking up our toddler and placing her on the change table enables me to change her even when she has a fit and hides where I cannot get her.
    Helping is just assisting or doing something for someone that relieves them of some duty/work. i.e. my mother helps me with my laundry by putting clothing away after it has been folded. Or my nephew pours juice for my daughter because he is closer and less busy. Likewise I might help my mother by marking her students work.

    Of course there is the other way to use enable - the way I think you mean - i.e my parents enable my brother to be a bum by supporting him and withstanding his bad behaviour without making him take responsibility for himself.

    I don't really understand the divide in our community between those who are independent with ADL's etc. and those who choose to use assistance or must use assistance.
    I think that independence is a worthwhile goal but realize that many of us accept/require assistance with certain activities in order to live the life we want.

    It doesn't bother me in the slightest that there are people who are more or less independent than I...what bothers me is the disrespect and attitude that divides us.
    en·a·ble

       /ɛnˈeɪbəl/ Show Spelled[en-ey-buhl] Show IPA
    –verb (used with object), -bled, -bling. 1. to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize: This document will enable him to pass through the enemy lines unmolested.

    2. to make possible or easy: Aeronautics enables us to overcome great distances.

    3.

    help (hlp) v. helped, help·ing, helps
    v.tr. 1. To give assistance to; aid: I helped her find the book. He helped me into my coat.
    2. To contribute to the furtherance of; promote.
    3. To give relief to: help the needy.
    4. To ease; relieve: medication to help your cold.
    5. To change for the better; improve: A fresh coat of paint will help a scarred old table.
    6. To refrain from; avoid or resist. Used with can or cannot: couldn't help laughing.
    7. To wait on, as in a store or restaurant.

    v.intr. To be of service; give assistance.

    n. 1. a. The act or an instance of helping.
    b. Aid or assistance.

    2. Relief; remedy.
    3. One that helps: You've been a great help. A food processor is a help to the serious cook.
    4. A person employed to help, especially a farm worker or domestic servant. Such employees considered as a group. Often used with the.



    to make ready; equip (often used in combination): Web-enabled cell phones.
    Emily, C-8 sensory incomplete mom to a 8 year old and a preschooler. TEN! years post.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old View Post
    So, if you fix your wife's computer, you are an enabler? And that's a bad thing?

    Who determines what a person can do for themselves? Who determines what they should be doing for themselves?
    I think the key word is SHOULD. Who has the right to tell anyone what they should be doing? About anything?

    I try not to go around telling people what they should do - what they could do, sure....but should is a bossy kind of word.

    should (shd)
    aux.v. Past tense of shall 1. Used to express obligation or duty: You should send her a note.
    2. Used to express probability or expectation: They should arrive at noon.
    3. Used to express conditionality or contingency: If she should fall, then so would I.
    4. Used to moderate the directness or bluntness of a statement: I should think he would like to go.


    In the parenting circle there is a similar dynamic regarding subjects like breastfeeding, vaccination, etc. An attitude from some people that they are better mothers than others because they are 'supermoms' who breastfed, cloth diapered, non-vaccinated, organically fed, attachment parented...
    Emily, C-8 sensory incomplete mom to a 8 year old and a preschooler. TEN! years post.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old View Post
    Not at all. How about answering the question of who makes those determinations of can and should?
    You tell me. IMO, there's no authority on that question. Some may say it's self-determined, but there are plenty of arguments against that. If it was entirely self-determined, everyone w/ a new SCI would skip rehab, unless of course they really wanted to go... but then again at an acute stage no one really knows what's possible & what's not.

  8. #8
    Why?

    There are too many variables to judge others independence.
    Such a strange subject considering that every injury is different.
    Add in the secondary injuries that came with the sci or as a
    consequence of the sci. Some people deteriorate faster due
    to genetics and shouldn't do some of the things I do for risk
    of injury.

  9. #9
    In many ways, what Emi says supports what my wife and I have discussed many times through the years. People with disabilities are some of the worst when it comes to discriminating against people with disabilities.

    As to enabling (in the pejorative sense) vs helping.... That is up to the people involved in the situation, how they want to deal with their lives, and what makes their lives work for them. What is the harm in enabling (even in the pejorative sense) if there is no harm to anyone outside the unit. In the case that Emi sites, her parents enabling her brother to be a bum, there is probably harm outside the unit of her parents...harm to her brother and potentially harm to society, if he decides for instance to rob a bank etc. But a husband or a wife doing something for one another even though they could of should do that something for themselves to help the unit function well is not a bad thing and harms no one.

    We need to stop "shouldn' on each other."

    All the best,
    GJ
    Last edited by gjnl; 10-07-2010 at 05:48 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emi2 View Post
    I think the key word is SHOULD. Who has the right to tell anyone what they should be doing? About anything?

    I try not to go around telling people what they should do - what they could do, sure....but should is a bossy kind of word.

    should (shd)
    aux.v. Past tense of shall 1. Used to express obligation or duty: You should send her a note.
    2. Used to express probability or expectation: They should arrive at noon.
    3. Used to express conditionality or contingency: If she should fall, then so would I.
    4. Used to moderate the directness or bluntness of a statement: I should think he would like to go.


    In the parenting circle there is a similar dynamic regarding subjects like breastfeeding, vaccination, etc. An attitude from some people that they are better mothers than others because they are 'supermoms' who breastfed, cloth diapered, non-vaccinated, organically fed, attachment parented...
    One of the first things I found out when I moved to the West Virginia hills as a cocky young street punk from South Philadelphia was that I had a lot to learn about living in the mountains. The people there never told me what I SHOULD do when I did things wrong or was stumped. It was always, "Could a man do it this way?" or "Do you think it would work if you...?" It didn't take me long to figure out that they knew for certain that I could, it would, and I should.

    They taught me most of the manners I ever acquired.
    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

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