Short story: What can my 20yo nephew do with his life? Joining military is out. I need suggestions, please!
LONG story: I have a 20yo nephew by my brother (drug-brain-damaged induced schizophrenia in mental hospital) & a gal I'll call Mary (also severe mental illness). At age 8yo nephew got some matches & burnt down a building; he said voices in his head told him to do it & the authorities promptly gave him a schizophrenic diagnosis, too. Family view was horror, & that he just said that (about voices) to try to get out of being punished, and because hearing voices was normal condition among Mary's friends. He kept the schizo label until he was 17 when he finally went to a regular High School where he got straight A grades.
Nephew lives in California with Mary who does her best. Nephew has had very little exposure all his life to anyone who worked for a living. I think neither he nor Mary have good life skills.
I moved to other side of the planet before nephew was born so don't have much contact or influence. I don't know much about their lives, really. My kids take most of my energy, too. For almost 2 yrs I have financially supported nephew, though, out of a pot of money that has now dwindled to $8000, because I recognised job market was tough & especially awkward for someone with his record, and I hoped the financial support would let him get organised and into college. He also doesn't drive or have a car, he keeps somehow missing the deadlines to sign up for college courses or he just takes a few community college classes each semester. He's not screwing up his life, but he's not getting on with it, either.
I am thinking about cutting off the money, OR using it very differently. Like getting him a driving license & a car. But then he will have to find money to pay his own rent that much sooner.
If he didn't have the history of schizophrenia diagnosis I'd heavily pressure nephew to join the military, but I doubt very much he'd get in.
What could he do instead? He needs something or someone to help him grow up, finally.
Does he understand the support is limited? I mean, maybe there just isn't any motivation for him to take care of himself if he feels like he's supported financially.
I bet there are some community programs available where they live. There are places here that do training for people - besides helping them find a job they teach interview skills, managing a bank account & budgeting & that sort of thing. I think our Workforce Commission offers training & job search assistance too.
We did the " you get money if you stay in school" route.
One quite school after a quarter. One stayed longer, but has made some pretty questionable decisions. Just took on a $500/m car payment. We refused to co-sign. Didn't think a waitress should take on such a thing.
Main thing is as long as they are surrounded by people with very questionable behaviors, it bring out that aspect in young adults.
If the child lives with his mom, I would try to work with her. If she is too unstable there's not much you can do by just throwing money at him.
your post does not indicate why you are giving him this money- has it only been these past two years? if so, I would not see that you are doing this for basic needs and given that you really don't even know this young man IMO I would stop all together-do I understand you did not support him growing up-prior to 18?
if there comes a time (and a real need) later on that is fine- put what you have left into an interest account and let him know he will receive it on such a date (maybe age 25 or 30-what ever)-I feel he must be in some ways baffled as to why someone who doesn't know him wants to tell him what to do with his life and hold money over his head at the same time- if you care just give it without strings attached or don't do it at all-regardless of what requests you make you are not there to see where it is going
if money is needed for him to live (and it helps the family situation) that is different but to want to direct him as to where he should be according to you I feel you are too far removed to be pushing that end of things
Can you help the situation in any other way besides with money?
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HI, thanks for replies.
Bit more background:
My mom died in 2003 & left money to me saying it could go to my psycho brother if he improved within 2 yrs else keep the money for myself, but I always felt the money should go to brother's kids.
Nephew & his mum lived on welfare until N was 18 (didn't want to touch on welfare controversy too much). N's funding was cut when he turned 18, I've paid $600-$700 towards his living expenses since then, which actually, I think is a bargain price in Southern California.
Yrs ago I talked this over at length with my dad & step-mum, especially given how bad job market was just then. Step-mum felt that my mother would have supported Nephew (her fave grandchild, & he'll inherit nothing from anyone else) to go to Uni which was what I was trying to do, but every time I ask it seems like he has only signed up for a few classes or he just missed the deadline to sign up <<Skeptical emoticon insert here>>
My dad gets very stressed out dealing with Mary & step-mum gets annoyed with having to screen Mary's contact, so I can't ask them to get much involved. I live 8 time zones away & didn't even know about things like JobCorps until this thread, so thanks(!)
Mary just asked for more money (I send it in 6 months installments) & I think I need to phone her & talk thru options, but I need to do some research hence why I asked here. I've always told her the money was limited. I needed ideas of what options were, iyswim, before I lean on them or cut off his allowance (Victorian style). Nephew is not contacting me directly at all, bit poor really. but like I said, his mom has always taken care of all that, so he doesn't know how to be an adult, I guess.
I think it's weird that N isn't even on Facebook, though.
I'm off to look more at Job Corps & Workforce Commission.
Getting in touch with him and having a chat about your expectations about the money and what it is there for should be your number one priority.
I would keep in mind that it would be pretty hard to be an 18 year old who might be mentally ill, having little direction in life and being surrounded by others who don't work or are sick. Maybe university or work isn't a realistic expectation? He might need counselling or to move out or different support. Whatever you are willing to support, decide before you have that conversation with him. Its a shame he doesn't have a better support system.
Getting in touch with him and having a chat about your expectations about the money and what it is there for should be your number one priority....
Whatever you are willing to support, decide before you have that conversation with him. Its a shame he doesn't have a better support system.
Exactly, that's why I'm asking here, and am trying to figure out what options should realistically be available to him. I'm trying to figure out what is realistic to ask him to do, iyswim. I know I should have asked for proof from the beginning that he was signed up for classes, etc, but I feared he just wouldnt' do it & I'd end up having to feel responsible for making him homeless. I was hoping he'd find his feet after a year or so but it would now seem he's not managing to do that.
Nephew+his mom live in San Marcos & I found out Job Corps in San Diego County is in Imperial Beach, vast distances apart if you rely on public transport. Arrrgh.
I presume with Job Corps the applicant has to physically go to their offices to get the training they offer?
The Workforce Commission thing I can't figure out what they do or offer, not in CA, anyway.
Would it be at all helpful to post in the California forum in Finding Your Tribe, seeking some suggestions for resources for him?
My initial thought was that you could make payments directly to some kind of reputable career counsellor or youth social worker or some other entity that might offer him some support, guidance and resources. It's really tough to find that kind of help from such a distance. Kudos to you for caring and trying to help.
As a kind of "out there" suggestion, would he consider something like an Outward Bound wilderness survival course? I think vocational counseling and training make a lot more sense and would be my first choice. If, however, there's nothing along those lines that he can access, maybe a wilderness experience might at least give him some experience in self-reliance and resilience that will serve him in the future.