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

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    Part of his not responding to your requests is his age. My daughter is a senior, and in a quiet moment the other day told me that part of the reason that she doesn;t do things is that I keep bugging her. The more I ask, remind, suggest, the less she wants to do it. Its a double edged sword of course, you DON'T suggest, it may never happen either. ALtho I did ignore the fact that the deadline for scholarshop application was looming, and she did it on her own.

    But w/ rehab coming up soon, I too would back off a bit. Like said, don;t wait on him or anything. At T12, he has the capabilities to do pretty much anything he needs to, so self care, food, etc ..... leave him to do himself. But stop reminding him about exercises, standing and such.

    The video game ..... it is something he can compete w/ peers on the same level, so it is pretty compelling for him. Not sure whether you should worry about stepping in or not. But once he is in rehab, with the travel time and the workouts, it will probably not continue to be as big a problem.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005


      OK, this sounds like I'm a total bitch (and there are many days I won't argue with that), but it's time to pull rank. Plain and simple, he is a high school student and an injured child and you are his parents -- 18 or not, he's under your roof and is your responsibility. He really needs to be in school (even if it's only until he starts rehab in Austin) like all the other students in his class. My son was 14 when he was injured, the rehab facility insisted he return to school right away. It was a good decision. It forced him to get back to living, get into a routine where he was taking care of himself, get back into social circles, and get out into the world. It also, put the onus on him because he knew he had to go. And the school worked with him on PT twice a week. I know the rental chair sucks and weighs a ton (we had a 50 lb. invacare dinosaur to deal with) but it builds great upper body strength rolling around the school halls.

      Whether or not he exercises 1.5 hours a day or not is not the point. He needs to get back to living.

      When he's open to exercising (and I'm a HUGE proponent of it for SCI), then he can work on it. And he, his doctors, and the PTs can develop a plan for him. My son hated the standing frame with a passion and flat out refused to use it, so he stood with his KAFOs and a walker -- he even learned how to play Wii bowling while working on his standing. There's almost always another way to get things done.

      What about outpatient PT until he goes to Austin? The PTs don't need to come to him, he needs to go to them so he can use all the professional equipment. Plus, we found out real fast that our son listens to the professionals a whole lot better than us.

      At T12 (and it does sound like the complete diagnosis was premature) he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself and he'll probably feel better about himself when he does. My son was elated when he took over his own bowel program. And even more so when he started doing everything for himself.

      There are a lot of really great articles on this site about the importance of exercise post SCI. My son still finds those motivating.

      Is there a local wheelchair sports group? Just getting out and watching them could be good for your son. It made a big diference to my son to see other SCI people out in the world (many much worse off than him), living their lives and having fun. Try the school nurse and see if there are other disabled kids who could mentor him. Have you called Voc. Rehab?

      We found it helpful to make a checklist for everthing SCI that had to be done each day (it helped us keep track and not miss anything since the first months are so overwhelming). But it also helped motivate my son, because he knew that when the homework and the list were done, his time was his own -- there was no playing video games until everything was done. It probably helped that our son was a little younger when he was injured, but it might work with yours.

      I agree with the posts that parents often push too hard (and I'm sure I did at times too), it's a tough balance. Plus, it's hard to for parents to wrap their minds around the situation. It's all too easy to fall into a codependent relationship that isn't healthy for anyone. It takes balance.

      The tears will fall for both of you, but the sun rises each morning and life moves on we've all got to make the best of it.

      I realize this rambles on and on, but I hope it helps. The fab thing about this site is you can get dozens of different opinions and find what works for you and your family.

      Hang in there.
      Ugh, I've been kissed by a dog!
      Get some hot water, get some iodine ...
      -- Lucy VanPelt


        Group discussions or group therapy with his peer group will allow him to take the initiall steps in coming to grips with his injury and self motivation to work toward recovery. Once he begins therapy, a lot of these problems will go away.



          ask him if he would like to ride THIS, one of the better handcycles out there and for sale here cheap!

          my nephew has lived on a computer since I first turned him onto gaming 9 yrs ago. Can't drag him outside, WOW is his fav game also. Now he is doing college with the intent of game programming.

          Good luck!


            Thank you all for your suggestions and comments. This journey is certainly not a road untraveled, but I have realized everyone must find their own path (patients, family and caregivers). We look forward to getting him back in rehab with others and believe it will encourage him to do more. As far as school, if we put him back in now, he won't be able to graduate as they must count his therapy days as "absences". I've selected the Seton Brain & Spine Center in Austin rather than going back to TIRR for more "learning how to live in a chair". The trips to and from Austin are an all day affair, 2 1/2 hours there, 4 hours pt/ot/exercise and 2 1/2 hours back). I really wish TIRR wouldn't have put him on homebound when we were released. Since there isn't a manual on new SCI, we didn't know what to expect.

            Right now, we've backed off the exercise, making him do all his self care and he's doing a good ok, takes his meds, caths (still have to remind him) dresses, showers, etc.. I even found him with his feet propped up because they were swelling, so I was encouraged.. The only thing he hasn't done, except for once, is his BP. He did it Wednesday for the first time and hated it.

            I do believe we've pushed hard, but it's so difficult to sit back and not do anything when everywhere you read says, exercise and use promotes return and prevents secondary condition. Our thoughts were that we'd provide SOMETHING for him to use while we were waiting for phase 2 rehab. I never thought it would take 4 months+.
            FAITH: Is not believing God can, but knowing he will.


              I'm not SCI, but I have a birth defect of hip/arthritis...

              I just want to point out one thing...and that is something I have learned from having friends who have a SCI, and from countless hours of reading/posting on this message board...

              Every SCI is different.

              Yes, there is a gauge of sorts that reflects a general expectation of what you can accomplish on a given SCI level...but unfortunately or fortunately, the outcome is not set in stone...just because person A can accomplish X, Y, and Z, you can't compare person B and say that they MUST also do X, Y, and Z. I honestly feel that strength of body/condition of body PRE SCI has a bearing on what one can accomplish, as does state of mind, length of time injured, surroundings, stress level, and severity of injury.

              In other words, if you were a 90 pound weakling before SCI, then you probably will not be able to do as much as someone who was physically fit and muscular.

              I am not talking about "return" here...I am talking about common sense every day things that we all do and take for granted...

              Another couple of things you must have are hope and willpower. If either are lacking then you will not want to try as many new tasks.

              I think that giving your son responsibility of taking care of himself as best he can is great. Pushing him to exercise, or to do any other tasks he is not yet comfortable with is treading on thin ice. He probably already feels like he is a burden to everyone because he can't do some of the things he has done prior to his injury. He may not say that, but in his heart of hearts, it COULD be the way he feels. And maybe he thinks that if he does not start anything, then he is helping by not having to ask you for additional assistance to accomplish what he can...

              Tough love is one thing, but I belive that given the newness of this situation that most of the things you are so very frantic about will take care of themselves as time goes on. They say that patience is a virtue, and I know that could be the motto of SCI groups everywhere. Your whole life slows down, and you have to find ways to do old things in a new way. It has to come from the person with the SCI. Every suggestion in the world may not work to accomplish a task, and the person may have to do their own thing to accomplish the task at hand.

              I have a friend who was a quadriplegic, and he typed with theh handle end of a hair brush. It worked better for him than all of the little medical inventions for typing. Still another resorts to the eraser end of a pencil. Still another uses his pinky knuckles...

              So you see???

              Different things help different people.

              SCI can't be put in a box and labled "this level SCI will accomplish this and this by doing that." Because everyone is different.

              By the way, welcome to CareCure. I'm Teena...

              Hope your son continues to improve and hope to see him here at CareCure in the future.

              I am NOT a medical professional, and have never claimed to be and the above is said as opinions only and should be taken as such. If you seek medical scientific advice, the SCI nurses here are wonderful, and they will reply back to you in a timely manner.

              The fact that your son stays online playing games does not alarm me in the least. If he is not yet ready to dust himself off and start over again, then at least the games are keeping his mind active.

              As far as school goes, many factors can play into whether he goes back to college soon or not. If he (God Forbid) gets a pressure sore somehow, then that could set him back, as could other various health situations. And if he does end up with a pressure sore and is told to stay off of it, then going to school should be secondary to getting himself healthy.

              Sometimes with SCI, the best plans in the world get an adjustment from time to time.

              So try not to have a rigid schedule of events...SCI knows no timeframe.

              Take care and God bless...


              PS--please tell your Son that we care what he is going through and we care how he feels...and we will listen.


                Check out the PVA or Paralyzed Veteran's of America group that has a tremendous number of books and booklets (for free) that explain the basics of SCI in non-medical language that discourages one from reading it. Look them up and you will in fact find a book on learning about SCI. The hallmark in the rehab is the book from PVA called "Yes You Can" (before Obama came up with the slogan). There is a litany of resources in the back of the book. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation also have an excellent reference book to help one with a new SCI as well- the price is right too- free! These two will then open the doors to many other resources. Good luck, I hope your son only sees your loving intent, and that the longer he waits to "rehab" the harder it gets, and the more problems he can have.
                Take Care, Pam


                  Update: Well, now he's developed TWO pressure sores on his butt and will be in bed for a while. I started a thread in the care forum in March and had the sores looked at by TWO physicians and both stated they were NOT pressure ulcers, but he did have a staf infection. We've been carefully watching them ever since and constantly reminding him to lift. Well, apparently he didn't lift enough. So... he's completely OFF them. Sure hope they don't call and say that his number is up for the waiting list in Austin. AND.. there goes getting his driver's license this week. He knows these are preventable and hopefully, he's all ready sick of being in bed while they heal.
                  FAITH: Is not believing God can, but knowing he will.


                    Ask his friends to talk to him maybe


                      Ummm, one thing? We ALL hated doing our bowel programs. Eventually we got used to it and now it's a thing we do. He needs to get over THAT hump, or he'll be tied to your apron strings forever. And the fact is you could be hit by a bus this afternoon, you know? It's not that big a deal but takes time to fine-tune. He can't do that if you do it for him. He needs to learn the connection between what goes in and what comes out, too.

                      Sorry about the sores, truly. Action (or inaction) = Consequences 101. What really sucks is that that skin will be weak forever. Tell him I said to cram the protein and the liquids if he ever wants toplay WOW sitting upright again.

                      Sorry the doctors said they weren't sores too. That's a brutal lesson we learn the hard way. Doctors are often wrong, and frequently don't care.

                      Sounds like TIRR hasn't changed. LOL @ "Living in a Wheelchair Therapy". Although that is vital and crucial information, as it turns out. I was so hellbent on walking that I should have learned more chair skills than I did. Wish I could go back now, strong and healthy.
                      Are you in the Houston Area? I lived in Kingwood when injured. The VA is sometimes doing exercise studies. I did suspended treadmill therapy there. Walked out. If he were mine, if nothing else I'd take him down to the VA SCI Unit to talk to the old-time SCI survivors. Just sit out front where they are smoking. Meeting guys that had been laying on their bellies on a gurney for 6 months made me aware that my skin was worth protecting. I've never had 6 months to dedicate like that, what a waste, nobody wants that.
                      Last edited by betheny; 20 Apr 2009, 11:46 AM.
                      Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


                        reading this I am so thankful that I had decent insurance and went to Shepherd. They wouldn't let me leave unless I could do my own bp, care etc.
                        If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

                        Sometimes it is easier to widen doors than it is to open minds.


                          Addiesue-TIRR tried not to, at least in 2000. This confuses me, for a para. I was sent home dependent that way bc of finger function. I'm guessing he doesn't WANT to do it, not that he doesn't know how. TIRR, w/ all its faults, is a damned good rehab and the best option in Texas. It's a Model SCI Rehab.
                          Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


                            hey im sorry bout the pressure sores..but im c5 complete just gotta out or rehab to learn to do more stuff now i can get my own chewing tabbaco put my shirt on bath myself but id luv to do more..but if he is willing to chat ill try motavating him but i hope u the best


                              Hi Faithful1990, I seem to be in the same boat as you. It is very hard to get my son motivated. He is 20 and his accident was July 14, 2008. His injury is C5 incomplete, Asia A. We are constantly getting into it about his exercise and the lack there of. He has no insurance but did get help with OT and PT once a week when he got out of Spain. He has come a long way since getting out of Rehab in October. He does feed himself, dress his upper body. He was very outgoing before his accident and is still that way. He goes to the movies with his friends and out to eat with them. Him and his girlfriend at the time of the accident have broken up but he is currently talking with someone else. It's not his attitude toward life but his attitude with exercise that bothers me. I know he needs to stretch and exercise. I had a friend build him a standing frame but it's hard to get him motivated to use it. Right now the longest he has stood is 2 minutes. I know how you feel about the frustration.


                                Just curious, Faithful -- did your son have any chores or duties around the house that he was responsible for doing before he was injured?
                                It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

                                ~Julius Caesar