Am I being unreasonable in this teaching situation?

My mother wants to use email and Facebook. I’ve tried teaching her. I’ve had her write the instructions step by step and made sure she went over them again.

Yet I’m finding it frustrating to the point that I get angry. I don’t yell or curse but it must be pretty obvious that I’m feeling anger. I’m keenly aware that it’s not because something is obvious to me that it’s obvious to someone who’s not familiar with it. I understand that learning a new piece of software can be confusing. I accept that it’s possible to forget or lose things sometimes.

I guess the thing that gets me most is that she has lost every single note. I would bet 10 to 1 that if I ask her to write her email username and password on a note, a week later, that note will have disappeared into oblivion and she’ll be asking me to teach her from the beginning. I’ve also never seen her practice (maybe I missed it) and she’s been talking about taking a course for the past 6 months but that hasn’t happened.

Maybe I’m being a cunt about this. What can I do?

Step away dude. Tell her to take the course. I have seen ads for a course around here for seniors. So they are available. Good luck.

Tell her to take the course. Make a laminated card with the essential information and tape it to her computer. Then accept that you’re still going to get called to “fix” things. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anecdote: Years ago, my job was providing phone support for network administrators on a product. We had one guy who frequently skipped steps on a very simple, common task with the product, then called us to tell us that it was “broken again”. We eventually printed out the steps in a large font, laminated it, and mailed it to him with orders to tape it up next to his terminal. A week later, he called us. “It’s broke again!” We told him to read steps to us from the laminated sheet. “1) Blahblahblah. 2) Blahblahblah. 3) Blahblah…oh.” He had skipped a step.

He never really learned, but the prominent cheat sheet increased the average time between his calls by a couple of days.

This is exactly why parents shouldn’t teach their kids how to drive. Or spouses. Many many years ago my father-in-law tried to teach my mother-in-law how to drive. It ended badly, and she never did learn.

Have you tried writing all the steps, and her notes, on your computer so that you can print them every time she loses the notes?
I realize putting passwords in a file is usually a bad idea, but it might be the only way.
Writing down the steps might force you not to jump steps you find obvious.

My mother has a periodic problem with Excel which I need to help her out with about twice a year. It drove me up a wall until I finally wrote out all the steps, with screenshots, and saved it in a nice, neat Word doc which I can email her when she says she’s “having that problem again.” It has saved me a lot of grief.

How old is she? Is she showing signs of memory loss in other things? Some of what you say sounds like general memory loss.

Yes, but it also sounds like being disorganized and scatterbrained, which can be true at any age. Has this sort of thing (e.g. always losing things she’s written down) been typical of her, even when she was younger?

Yes. She’s in her late 60s.

To give you an idea of how much of a struggle it can be: I still haven’t been able to communicate to her the difference between a computer (the big box that hums) and a monitor (the flat thing on which the image appears), even while pointing at each and saying the name.
She can still handle things like driving just fine. She’s become able to use Netflix, a DVD player and how to switch the TV input from Netflix to DVD to regular TV. She’s able to use the computer to check out her library reservations.

It’s fine to be frustrated. And there are some good tips in this thread.

I’ve brought my parents up to the computer age, and often have to hold my tongue as they try to work through something. We have to realize that we all have our own ways of learning, and doing things. Especially if it’s entrenched behind 30-70 years of “this is the way I’ve always done it”.

For email and Facebook, I would just drop a .txt file on the computer desktop that is readily available to them. Could include basic instructions, and passwords, as long as it’s not the same one for their bank account.

XKCD - Man, you’re gonna like getting old

Your mom sounds like she has some learning disabilities over and above learning about new technology.

That said, as a person raised with Old Technology, I just want to point out that learning the new stuff is much MUCH harder than it ought to be. Is there a GOOD reason to have three thousand apps preloaded on my device, of which I am going to be using approximately five, and which will begin to operate whenever my finger does the wrong thing? Is there a GOOD reason to be forced to “upgrade” to a new, more complicated iteration of a basic system, which wasn’t broken, and which I knew how to navigate? Is there a GOOD reason to have a multiplicity of platforms, operating systems, hardware, software, all of which are actually TRYING to be different from and incompatible with each other?

There is indeed a reason, which has a succinct name, laissez-faire capitalism. But it’s a shitty fucked up reason.

ETA: damn, I should have just read the XKCD link and saved my breath.

Wait, wouldn’t someone currently in her late sixties have been in her early forties when e-mail first became commonplace? It sounds like she doesn’t actually want to learn how to deal with technology, even if she thinks she wants to learn it, and therefore, probably will not learn it. It’s frustrating, but I think all you can do is step back as far as possible.

Yes. If she can operate the DVD and go online to check her library account, then she can do this. I bet the problem is that she doesn’t perceive herself as a part of an email/Facebook community. If that’s the case, she probably will do better in class as part of a cohort of other people like herself, and even better with a teacher her age.

Who really wants her to learn this - her, or you?

She’s acting helpless, and that’s probably either because she doesn’t want to learn in the first place, or because acting helpless is a standard life strategy for her, … or because she’s actually helpless.

Is this necessary for her to know in order to check her email?

Maybe there’s fault on both sides. Check your local library for IT for seniors help/classes.

She. I would be glad for her to learn it from someone else.

It’s not necessary. I tried teaching her that to see if she would retain extremely basic stuff.

She has an Apple desktop computer and she tells me the local library doesn’t offer courses on Apple computers or she would have to bring her desktop Apple to the library, I’m not sure which.

Nope, email wasn’t really that commonplace 25 years ago. It existed, but it took longer than that to become common among the general population (which includes a lot of people who don’t use email for work) I know my employer didn’t get real email until 2005, and most of my coworkers had never used email before then.
But if she frequently loses things that are written down, I’m assuming that they are written down on individual sheets of paper- and there’s a simple solution for that. Don’t write this stuff down on individual sheets of paper - use a notebook. I lose things written down on single sheets of paper all the time but I have a notebook with various userids and passwords that’s at least 15 years old.It’s very easy to throw out that sheet of paper with the email info accidentally when getting rid of unneeded papers but it’s much harder to mistakenly throw out a notebook.

I’m in my late '60s, and I’ve taught my kids things.
From observing how my wife tries to figure computer stuff out (and she is both smart and with it) I think that some people have internal models of how computers work and some don’t. Things obvious to the former are mysteries to the latter. People in the first set can figure out how to do things in new environments, people in the second set get totally confused. So don’t even try to get her to skip a step, write very explicit instructions and expect to be called for each new situation.

This sounds an awful lot like my mother in the very early stages of her multi-infarct dementia. Some things were easy (Netflix/DVD players/driving are reasonably intuitive), but new things on the computer were beyond her retentive abilities.

I’ve known a lot of people that don’t know the difference between a computer and a monitor. Or, rather, I think they know that there’s an actual difference, but in their mind, they (or they choose) to just refer to the entire thing as one or the other. In one case, I had a friend that called the computer ‘the modem’. To be fair, that really only comes into play when you’re trying to troubleshoot. "My monitor won’t turn on’ means something entirely different to you than to them.

As for facebook. I’ve found it best to just let people (‘parents’/50s/60s etc) just get on there and figure it out. IME, if you explain to them that typing something ‘here’ means everyone sees it, typing something ‘there’ just replies to something and 'just scroll up and down for and see what you see, they’ll figure it out. The only thing they really need to know, other than very basic security/scam stuff is to assume that whatever they type, anyone can see. Don’t call Jane a slut or she’ll probaly find out.

Now, when I’ve used this method, I’ve told people to ask me if they have a question or concern about how to do something, but, in general, they’re not going to hurt anything by posting a status, or using the comments under a picture of a grandkid to say ‘did you want dateline last night, we need to get together’.

Give them a shot and see what happens. Don’t under estimate what they can do.
ETA, OTOH, I have an aunt that took her hatred for Spectrum to the grave because I couldn’t convince her that it wasn’t actually them that locked up her computer (random call, then she downloaded ransomware). So there’s that too.