I’m in an terrible scenario and at a loss as to what to do. My 59-year-old husband is in a nursing house with a terminal situation. I’ve a 19-year-old who has simply left house (I gave her an ultimatum due to repeated dangerous behaviour), and my 27-year-old daughter and nine-year-old granddaughter stay with me. Until a couple of months in the past, my older daughter had solely dated; she didn’t introduce my granddaughter to any of those males. However, she has now met a stunning man who stays on weekends, and that’s changing into an issue. My granddaughter is completely satisfied in his firm till her bedtime, when she turns into abusive and violent (she has trashed her bed room many instances). She is generally tremendous with me – she generally is a bit impolite, however I can deal with that. At Easter, when my daughter and her boyfriend had been out on a date, my granddaughter minimize lengthy slits in their garments and mattress sheets.
They exit loads on the weekend all collectively and, regardless of having nice experiences, my granddaughter can nonetheless sulk and be moody. She says she hates her mom’s boyfriend, however is completely satisfied to spend time with him alone. What can we do?
I’m so sorry about your husband – that by itself isn’t a simple factor to take care of. As in your granddaughter, it’s worthwhile to look past her behaviour to what she is attempting to speak to you: the outbursts disguise worry, and that is what must be addressed.
My antennae had been twitching barely at her behaviour in the direction of the boyfriend, and I did surprise about abuse of some variety, however you say she’s completely satisfied to be with him on her personal (this doesn’t rule out abuse, by the best way, however nothing in your longer letter made me suppose you suspected this). I known as the kid and adolescent psychotherapist Dr Danny Goldberger, who puzzled if “your granddaughter was expressing a lot of the difficulties [going on in your house] and, on the most basic level, a need to feel secure”. Often, kids present up the cracks that adults paper over.
We thought the massive concern right here was that your granddaughter worries that her mom goes to be taken from her by the boyfriend. This, Goldberger mentioned, would clarify why her fury intensifies when she is requested to depart them alone and go to mattress: “She’s worried about what’s happening between them.” Also, Goldberger requested, “Was bedtime her special time with her mother?”
This would clarify the ripping of the garments – once more, fury hiding worry. Your granddaughter appears to have a very good time when she’s on her personal with the boyfriend, but it surely’s when he assumes the position of somebody who might take her mom away that the issues begin.
Goldberger feels that the smashing up of her room is worrying as a result of she appears to be turning her anger in on herself. “You and your daughter need to agree what’s acceptable [behaviour] and what’s not, and think about how to communicate these things to her. It’s also very important that there is a reward when she is doing well.”
Realistic and constant boundaries should be set, as a result of they make kids really feel secure, however she additionally must know that the bond between her and her mom is unbreakable: that is what she’s testing. At instances of nice change, kids want stability. Goldberger added that she might must know that she will “like and hate – have mixed feelings about this situation at the same time”.
Something else I puzzled was, the place is your granddaughter’s father? You say nothing of him and I ponder if that’s had an impact: does she suppose, maybe, that males don’t have any place in households?
Finally, has anybody requested your granddaughter how she feels? Someone wants to offer her time and house to attempt to clarify what’s mistaken. In a very good, quiet second (not a row), your daughter wants to do that. Children typically can’t clarify complicated feelings, so a very good query to ask is: “What is the main thing you feel? Anger, sadness?” This begins the dialog. Then, when your daughter has listened, she additionally wants to elucidate how it’s for her, and that possibly they should compromise on sure issues. Children reply amazingly nicely to being listened to and being a part of the answer.
While her mom must attend to her personal grownup life, possibly she may put aside a weekend a month only for her daughter, so the 2 of them can do issues collectively. The significance of this one-on-one time can’t be overestimated and can pay dividends.
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Annalisa Barbieri from theguardian.com