What do I do?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by everywoman, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I have a cousin who lives in Oklahoma---N. Nice girl, but definitely Aspie (lack of social etiquette). Her father (my 1st cousin/much older) was a brilliant mathematician/college professor who left her mom and married his 2nd wife. He then disowned N and her sister. He ended up dying in a alcoholic stupor all alone---after his 2nd wife died and he drove cross country with body (illegally) so he could bury her in the family cemetery---he was just a little "touched" as my family would say. Her father's only sister is also a little "touched." There has been no contact with her in 20 years. My old-maid sister and I are the only family she has any contact with.

    She has a daughter who is 20---Y. Y applied and was accepted to a local university. Y wants to be a marine biologist----this U one of the top ranked programs in the country, yet she has only seen the ocean once in her life. (We have a tripped planned to the beach tomorrow.)

    So N arrived with 4 of her 7 kids---so she can visit the school. N did call first and let us know she was coming. She and the four kids are staying with my old maid sister--who I am sure is about to have a nervous breakdown.

    Finally, here's the big issue. Apparently N plans to leave Y here until school starts---in August (apparently with my sis or me). Y does not drive(we have no public transportation). Y has never had a job. Y is very, very socially awkward. She dresses like the worst case scenario from "What not to wear." She has been home schooled and has lived in backwoods OK most of her life---20 miles to nearest store---80 miles to anything metro. Her socialization has come from attending Renaissance fairs. I am sure that "fashion" and "grooming" have not been stressed in their home. I am also fairly certain that money is very, very tight.

    Y is staying here tonight. Jana took her out with her to meet up with some friends. I want to help this girl be successful in this new venture. But, how?
    I'm very concerned about her entering a large uni. What can I do?
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Can Jana take her under her wing and do a sort of makeover "what not to wear" type thing? Maybe make it a fun thing to go shopping at a second hand store to find treasures that will update her current stuff that is salvageable. Then teach her to drive if that is going to be allowed. Let her find out what kind of music she likes so she will know that and get used to current bands. Let her get at least a cheap mp3 player some place.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Ohhhhh Janet, you beat me to it. lol ;)

    Janet is right. Let Jana take her under her wing. Odds are she won't be socially awkward for long. And 2nd hand stores have lots of nice stuff for cheap.

    Awfully nice of you to help give this girl a chance at her dream.

  4. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Oh, I totally agree.

    My Dad was transferred right after my freshman year in high school from Coronado, CA to Alexandria, VA. In those days you couldn't find a bigger culture clash unless he'd been transferred to the Far East- lol. So I arrived in VA wearing sneakers and full cotton skirts (ala California) to a place where everyone wore Villager clothes and Weejuns.

    Fortunately, some Marine friends had been transferred to VA a year earlier and tipped us off before school started. My folks were never much impressed with outward appearances but thankfully this other family laid it on the line to them that I'd be a social outcast if they didn't spring for a new wardrobe. And thank goodness my parents listened.

    I was soooooooooooooooooo grateful to that family for tipping us off. It would be a terrific gesture for you and/or Jana to help out right now. I am still grateful all these decades later- and so will she.

  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I'm thinking that you have the entire summer, along with help from Jana and perhaps one or two of her friends to bring N up to date so she's better prepared for a large university atmosphere.

    Immediately, I thought of that movie with Anne Hathaway where she has to go live with Julie Andrews and learn how to be a princess.

    If you can do it, I think you will be just as fulfilled as N will appreciate your efforts. Good luck!
  6. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I too think that maybe Jana could be of help. However I'd be sure to see how the two get along, if Jana is interested in helping to this degree. Nothing worse than being forced to be in charge of transforming someone else if you don't find the challenge fun.
    I have seen many backwoods raised type young people, with some initial help to acclimate to their new environment, do so well, just completely embrace a new experience that is beyond what they've ever known. It is a great sign that she has been accepted to such a good University. She must be one smart cookie!!! And a dedicated student likely too. All in her favor :) I have the feeling whatever happens, this girl is going to be a success :)
  7. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    From homeschooled to big University......I think it's going to take a lot more than a wardrobe change to prepare her. Though, I do think that would be a good start. Wow, is she in for a culture shock. Poor kid.
  8. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Everyone took the words right out of my mouth. A makeover sounds not only necessary but fun, especially if presented by a peer and not an old fogie like one of us! LOL Plus your daughter could give Y the lowdown on the "atmosphere" of the area and which are the "good" hangouts and which aren't.
  9. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I think others have really good suggestions re Jana taking Y under her wing.

    Hope you, Y and family are having alot of fun at the beach today!

  10. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Everywoman, I'm sad to say that I disagree. Aspie like people have a fairly enlarged sense of self and are not really aware that they need to change. As difficult child said, many years ago."how I am is good enough".
    I think getting a sense of who Y is and what she wants or needs may be a good way to start to help her. If she wants your help.
    If her clothing style doesn't bother her or she thinks it's her personal signature then she isn't going to "hear" different ways of doing it. If she is aware that she sticks out, then you have a chance to offer suggestions.
    She may have little drive or need to be part of a group of neurotypical people.

    If she stays, you have to set a few, solid ground rules.
    1) she has to get a job and she has to pay something(even if you save it for her for school)
    2) she has to follow basic hygiene
    3) she has to contribute to the household by doing x chores that will be listed.

    Ask her what she thinks she needs or wants from you. If she is fairly articulate then she may tell you that she wants friends or to have a boyfriend or learn to wear make up.

    At this point, she may want to contact the university so that she can visit and become acquainted with aspects of college life. There are services for those who struggle. I know easy child's school had a group for people with social anxiety. She may not be good with having a roommate. She may suffer anxiety. She may need help with organization and getting to classes since she was home schooled. All thses issues should be addressed by Y and her mother before school starts.

    I sure would have a lot of questions for Y's mom.
    How is she going to be supported with school?
    Is she expected to work?
    Is mom going to get Y set up with the different supports for Y at the university? When do they as a family plan to do that?
    What does mom think you are going to do with this child all summer? What are the goals?
    There should be a reason why she is staying away from her parents. I don't understand why she can't do this stuff in Oklahoma this summer then come out a week or two before school to visit.

    I guess what I'm saying is that my experience with aspies is that they don't want you to "fix them" or help them be like Jana. You have to ask what they want or need and work that with what you want in your home.
    If she wants a mentor then it's great if Jana takes her on but to think these guys are sitting around waiting for n/t's to mentor them is not really understainding the self absoption of aspies. She may want to mentor Jana in all thing marine like.
    It's a bit arrogant of us to think we n/t's know what they want or need or to even think they want to be like us.

    I may be totally off base since I don't know anything about Y but from where I sit, thinking she is dying to be like us doesn't ring true.

    I would say to see who she really is and what she really would like to do with her life this summer and go from there.
  11. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Fran---I don't think Y is Aspie---she has been raised by one. She is just socially awkward. She doesn't know how to talk to her peers. She has spent much of her teen years as a baby sitter for her younger 5 siblings. I know money is tight and there has been little provided besides necessities. I will approach this with kid gloves...
    And dear God, one spoiled rotten princess in my life is enough---don't want another Jana. One is enough!!!LOL. But I do think she needs some schooling in social skills. Jana actually approached me with the idea---so she is on board for now. My sister and niece will assist too. They both see the need to get her adjusted. I think if we don't do something, she will be eaten alive at the University. I hate to see her fail at something because of how she was raised.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hopefully she will not have an aspie like response and will want to be socialized more. I'm sure you will see what will work and what won't.