offering help

Relieving childcare pressure without watching kids

said to :

There’s a problem in my family: my cousin and his wife are in quite a tight spot (little kid, both work full-time, even overtime sometimes, not a lot of money), and receive little to no support from my cousin’s parents.

As my mum (his aunt) was always really close to him, we often help them instead, both with money and babysitting (esp during the holidays). I’d like to help them as well, but I’m rubbish with kids (she’s four and very hyperactive). Is there another way for me to support them?

realsocialskills said:

Probably.

I don’t know them, so it is hard for me to say what they need help with.

The best way to find out might be to ask them, possibly by saying something like: “I’m not comfortable watching children, but I’d really like to find other ways to support you. Is there another way I could be helpful?”

That said, asking an open-ended question might not make it possible for them to tell you what they did. Open ended questions don’t tell them much about what you are and aren’t ok with. If you don’t know what someone is likely to feel comfortable helping with, it can be really hard to ask for help.

So it might be better to offer something specific.

You may be able to help with childcare needs indirectly:

  • People who have young kids and no childcare have to take their kids with them to a lot of places
  • That makes a lot of errands take longer
  • It also makes them more draining for both the parent and child
  • Eg: Parents who have no childcare have to bring their kids to the grocery store
  • At best, this means that grocery shopping takes longer because they have to supervise their kid and shop at the same time
  • And they have to bring their kid even if their kid is too tired to tolerate it well
  • Then the kid is miserable, and the parent has to deal with caring for a miserable (and probably uncooperative) kid in a public place while judgmental strangers stare at them
  • And it’s likely that both parent and child will be upset even after the errand is over
  • And it can interfere with sleep and make the next day difficult as well
  • If you can do some of their grocery shopping for them, that can relieve childcare pressure without you having to watch any kids

Some other things that might help to relieve childcare pressure:

  • Picking up their mail
  • Picking up their prescriptions when they or their child is sick
  • Dropping off things that they need transported
  • Being at their house for the plumber/cable company/etc so that they don’t have to take off work (which means they have more time off available to deal with child-related things)
  • Household tasks that are difficult to accomplish with children who need close supervision (eg: mowing the lawn if they’ve got one)

A rude thing that people do to wheelchair and mobility scooter users

So, here’s a thing that happens a lot:
  • Someone rides a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a room that has many chairs in it
  • They want to sit on one of those chairs.
  • Several people, trying to be helpful, dart in to remove the very chair they wanted to sit on

This is very annoying.

  • Especially when it happens several times a week
  • Especially when the people who dart in to remove the chairs are very proud of themselves for Helping The Disabled
  • Even more so if they don’t understand “actually, I want to sit in that chair”, and keep removing it anyway
  • Even more so if the person has to physically grab the chair they want to sit on to prevent it from being removed
  • (And sometimes people react badly to being corrected and become aggressive or condescending)

Do not do this annoying thing.

  • Instead, find out what the person you want to be helpful to actually wants
  • People who use mobility equipment are not actually glued to it
  • And different people have different preferences about where they want to sit
  • You can’t know without asking them
  • (You can’t read their mind, Some people seem to think that mobility equipment transmits a telepathic call for help regardless of the person’s actual apparent interest in help. Those people are wrong. You have to actually ask)
  • You can’t know where someone wants to sit unless you ask, so ask
  • One way you can ask is “Would you like me to move anything?”

If you forget to ask, and make the wrong assumption:

  • Recognize that you have been rude
  • And apologize, and say “Oh, excuse me” or “Sorry. I’ll put it back.”
  • This is the same kind of rude as, say, accidentally cutting in line
  • Or being careless and bumping into someone
  • This is not a big-deal apology, it’s basically just acknowledging that you made a rude mistake
  • People make and acknowledge rude mistakes all the time with nondisabled folks
  • The same people who say “excuse me” when they bump into a nondisabled person, are often completely silent when they do something rude related to someone’s disability
  • Being on the receiving end of a lot of unacknowledged rudeness is degrading and draining. Particularly when you see that the same people who are rude to you without apologizing say “sorry” and “excuse me” to people without disabilities they interact with
  • Do not be part of this problem
  • When you are inadvertently rude to someone who has a disability, it’s important to acknowledge and apologize for it in the same way you would for any other inadvertent interpersonal rudeness

sillysillysillysilly:

ragingpeacock:

realsocialskills:

I’ve recently made friends with a guy with a seizure disorder and he let everyone in the class know about it, so i figured it wasn’t a big deal but he started having a seizure today in class and it…

sillysillysillysilly said:

Excellent post. I have epilepsy, and most of all what I need afterwards is to be told that im ok, that I had a seizure and that everything is alright. Comfort them of that’s what they need. Mostly what I would add is to ask, “can I ask you about what you need if you have a seiZure?” This sounds less pushy.

mayaminamoto:

realsocialskills:

selfcareafterrape:

realsocialskills:

When people say “I can’t” I’ll sometimes encourage them to say “I decided not to” or something instead. Nobody can predict the future, so maybe nobody can know for sure whether somebody would be able to do something if they tried some more times. However, a person has a right to decide to stop. They may judge that it’s so unlikely they would succeed that it’s not worth trying; and doing it may not be worth a tremendous amount to them. I also have a right to my opinion that maybe they can.
realsocialskills answered:
You have a right to your opinion, but you don’t have the right to have them respect your assessment of their abilities. You especially do not have the right to have them take your opinion into consideration when they’re deciding what they can and can’t do.
Inability to do things is real. And yes, I may sometimes be wrong about my inability to do things, but taking it seriously when I think I can’t do something matters. Even if I’m wrong.
There’s a difference between deciding I don’t want to do something, and deciding that I think I am incapable of something, or that doing the thing is unacceptably risky for me.
Even if other people think I’m wrong - I still have the right to assess what my limits are and act accordingly. And even though I will sometimes mistakenly think that I am unable to do something I am actually capable of, “I can’t” is still a vital part of my vocabulary.
There’s a difference between not wanting to do a thing, and reaching the conclusion that I’m probably not capable of doing the thing and that trying is hurting me.
I need to be able to acknowledge that I have limits in order to manage them correctly, and do what I can instead of pretending that enough willpower makes everything possible.
So does everyone else. In particular, people with disabilities who have been taught that we’re not allowed to take physical limitation seriously. But being disabled and physically limited isn’t a moral failing. It’s just a fact of life that sometimes needs to be accounted for.
selfcareafterrape said:
respect people’s boundaries.
respect people’s boundaries.
respect people’s boundaries.
If you do this, you are being extremely invalidating. You are being gross. Don’t be gross.
though- I would like to say, in some cases it is appropriate and okay to ask ‘Could you do it with some help?’
Because sometimes people say ‘I can’t’ when they want to do a thing- but they can’t do it alone. and if you are offering to help them do the thing, it is okay. But do not ask if you aren’t willing to help- or point them in the right direction.

realsocialskills said:

Yes, there are cases where “could you do it with some help?” is appropriate, especially if it’s clear that what you’re doing is offering help and NOT trying to make them do the thing.

mayaminamoto said:

And sometimes “could you do it with help” is EXACTLY the right thing to say - assuming the asker really wants to help. It’s really hard to ask for help, especially if the task is perceived as “easy” in the society. In my eyes (could be different for different people) saying “I need help” is even harder than saying “I can’t”, since it makes me dependant on the helper. So yeah, ask if you can help, respect the answer (because sometimes there’s really nothing you can do) and don’t make people do anything they don’t want to/can’t do, regardless of reason.

realsocialskills said:

Yes, that is true. It’s really, really hard to ask for help. Particularly if you’re in a context in most people don’t expect disabled folks to be part of things on equal terms (which, unfortunately, is most contexts.)

selfcareafterrape:

realsocialskills:

When people say “I can’t” I’ll sometimes encourage them to say “I decided not to” or something instead. Nobody can predict the future, so maybe nobody can know for sure whether somebody would be able to do something if they tried some more times. However, a person has a right to decide to stop. They may judge that it’s so unlikely they would succeed that it’s not worth trying; and doing it may not be worth a tremendous amount to them. I also have a right to my opinion that maybe they can.
realsocialskills answered:
You have a right to your opinion, but you don’t have the right to have them respect your assessment of their abilities. You especially do not have the right to have them take your opinion into consideration when they’re deciding what they can and can’t do.
Inability to do things is real. And yes, I may sometimes be wrong about my inability to do things, but taking it seriously when I think I can’t do something matters. Even if I’m wrong.
There’s a difference between deciding I don’t want to do something, and deciding that I think I am incapable of something, or that doing the thing is unacceptably risky for me.
Even if other people think I’m wrong - I still have the right to assess what my limits are and act accordingly. And even though I will sometimes mistakenly think that I am unable to do something I am actually capable of, “I can’t” is still a vital part of my vocabulary.
There’s a difference between not wanting to do a thing, and reaching the conclusion that I’m probably not capable of doing the thing and that trying is hurting me.
I need to be able to acknowledge that I have limits in order to manage them correctly, and do what I can instead of pretending that enough willpower makes everything possible.
So does everyone else. In particular, people with disabilities who have been taught that we’re not allowed to take physical limitation seriously. But being disabled and physically limited isn’t a moral failing. It’s just a fact of life that sometimes needs to be accounted for.
selfcareafterrape said:
respect people’s boundaries.
respect people’s boundaries.
respect people’s boundaries.
If you do this, you are being extremely invalidating. You are being gross. Don’t be gross.
though- I would like to say, in some cases it is appropriate and okay to ask ‘Could you do it with some help?’
Because sometimes people say ‘I can’t’ when they want to do a thing- but they can’t do it alone. and if you are offering to help them do the thing, it is okay. But do not ask if you aren’t willing to help- or point them in the right direction.

realsocialskills said:

Yes, there are cases where “could you do it with some help?” is appropriate, especially if it’s clear that what you’re doing is offering help and NOT trying to make them do the thing.