Developing ICT skills and networks of support.
Other Mencap sites
I am the mother of a 23 year old man with a moderate learning disability.
In recent years he has been building up his independent living skills including managing his own money (as far as is possible), cooking and household tasks. He really enjoys this and say he feels much more 'grown up' now, which is really great.
However, I have found that having 'money in his pocket', and the freedom to spend it how he likes has not been without problems. The point is that the money is his to spend how he choses, but I feel sometimes the decisions he makes aren't always the best for him. I know that he spends nearly all his money on 'junk food', often purchased while he is at college, or when he goes out with a support worker at the weekend.
The support worker is reluctant to discourage this, as it is upto him how he spends his money, and I agree with this; having given him more independence, in terms of finance, no one really wants to take this away from him. Also, as long as he understands the impact of his choices, there is nothing anyone can do, and he is well aware of healthy eating, and has demonstrated this in conversations and in his college work. So far be it for me to overrule this.
I have a dilemma because I want him to continue to enjoy his independence, and I have no wish to make decisions for him, now that he is a young man, but I do worry because he has never enjoyed great health, and in the last year or so has put on a lot of weight, which isn't good generally, particularly in relation to his asthma, which has worsened.
So I just wondered what you would do for the best in this situation.
I understand your dilemma, All mothers worry about their children. You would be concerned about his helath even if he didn't have a disability. You have a right to let him know you are worried but he has a right to ignore you. However it would be re assuring it you felt that his support worker felt the same about your sons health and encouraged him to make good choices, Most of us have had to diet or cut down on something and it is much easier when we get encouragement from friends family and colleagues I sure your son would benefit from the same support
Yes, I do wish it could be ensured that everyone who supports him would help him with this, but often they seem to prioritise what they see as promoting his independence. I think they issue is to find a way to do encourage him to eat a healthier diet without it compromising this. I had thought that I may try to encoutage him to make his own (healthy) packed lunches instead of bringing lots of money, and helping out with the cooking, as this could be away of appealing to his sense of wanting to manage these things himself! It also could be a sensitive way round it, as when I talk to him about it he often gets upset and interprets it as a criticism or an insult about his weight. I think this can be done, just finding a way around it that will be agreeable to everyone. I just hope this approach will work, as I don't really know what to do if he decides he still wants to buy snacks and things.
Thanks for the help,
I am almost grateful that our son (23) doesn't have the ability to have that measure of independence and is subject to the rules of our home!
0808 808 1111
Lines open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Charity number 222377 (England, Northern Ireland and Wales); SCO41079 (Scotland)