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I feel very concerned about how my youngest granddaughter is 'allowed' to behave as she does?

(39 Posts)
greenmossgiel Sun 10-Jun-12 14:36:59

My youngest granddaughter who is nearly 13, is an only child, though does have 2 adult half-brothers on her father's side. My daughter had her when she was 34, and went back to work more or less straight away, with granddaughter being left with my other daughter, then with a childminder (who was very good, I hasten to add). However, (I will call her E), E's behaviour towards her parents, her mother especially. She more or less directs how things should be in the house and very regularly has outbursts of what only can be described as tantrums. She's very bright (above average, perhaps) at school and has a good circle of friends. My daughter commented yesterday that E is the 'odd-one-out' because she's the only one in her group of friends whose parents are still together and married. E has always favoured her father over her mum, and leans all over him on the sofa whenever they visit, while my daughter sits by herself on another chair. My SIL tells her to stop leaning (and sulking!) but after a while she starts again. This is just a small thing - the main thing is that she actively dislikes her mother and wants to exclude her from anything that she (E) does with her father. She told her mum that she wishes her dad would divorce her so that she would have to go away. Much of the time if SIL is out, E and her mother don't talk. If this was a sudden thing, I would put it down to her hormones, but it makes their house an unhappy one, and I know my daughter is very sad about it, and doesn't know how to change it. sad

greenmossgiel Wed 13-Jun-12 20:40:24

glass, sorry, I'd missed your post. Yes, they do have time away occasionally, and I often think they do that to actually have a rest from E's behaviour, as much as anything. That sounds awful but I really think it may be true. So it may actually be counter-productive their doing that. confused
petra, I have thought about the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll....and that thought leaves me quite cold. I just hope that E's common-sense will kick in should any such opportunity arise.

petra Tue 12-Jun-12 21:48:37

Nobody has mentioned Sex And Drugs and Rock & Roll. She is of an age when all 3 will be rearing their heads. If this is not taken in hand now, God help her parents.

greenmossgiel Mon 11-Jun-12 21:34:55

Mishap, I'm pretty sure that my daughter has a good relationship with SIL. However, I do think he may milk the situation rather. Perhaps this has eventually led to it seeming that only he can communicate to any degree with E. I won't be able to say anything unless I'm asked what I think, so I'll have to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut! However, IF I'm asked what I think, I will be saying that they have to stick together over this, and not only for E's sake.

glassortwo Mon 11-Jun-12 21:13:29

green just thinking does DD and OH every have time away from DGD say for a weekend for them to just be a couple, if not it may be worth planting the seed.

Mishap Mon 11-Jun-12 17:48:29

I think there has been general agreement here that the united front is the best (indeed only) approach.

But......YOU cannot make that happen; only the parents themselves.

A few questions.......does your D generally have a good relationship with her OH (as far as you can tell - we can never get inside anyone else's relationship)?.......does she actually say to you that she is concerned about the situation and ask for advice? - if she does then this is your opportunity to say (kindly, as I am sure you would) that you find it distressing to watch and feel that the only way forward is for her and her OH to be absolutely as one over the situation, resisting all attempts to divide and rule (as she is very effectively doing just now).

The temptation for her OH to milk the situation and enjoy the adulation must be quite strong; but your D needs to have her own confidence boosted in this situation and she can only really achieve this if she has the backup of her OH.

Achieving unanimity over this situation is good for their relationship too - and gives them a solid foundation for when this lass kisses them goodbye and sets off to make her own life.

This is another of those frequent situations where grandparents have to sit on their hands until they are invited in!! - grrr!

greenmossgiel Mon 11-Jun-12 17:06:31

Sometimes you just feel like shaking them, don't you? It's so blindingly obvious what needs to be done, and how it could be dealt with, but meanwhile the problems build up because no-one is addressing them in the right way. AlisonMA, it's taken a long time for things to get to this stage. As time's gone on, the problems that have occurred have been put down to 'just being E'. I agree that my daughter should be there in the room, as well. I think, though, that she's come to the stage where she feels so left out that it's easier to stay out of the way. I'm getting more angry about this as I write, actually. I cannot understand why she hasn't stood up and said, "Ok, that's an end to all this nonsense. We're a family of 3 - not 2, and that's how it will be, as from now." I really hate to see this happening. She holds down a stressful job with a foul boss and suffers from thyroid problems, which cause her to be really tired much of the time. Probably that's one of the reasons she doesn't push her way in more. sad

AlisonMA Mon 11-Jun-12 16:24:39

green why is your daughter sitting upstairs when they are watching a film? Why isn't she in there with them? She doesn't have to let them exclude her at all times, she needs to get more involved with them rather than just giving up.

I don't think you can discuss 'the situation' with your GD as you said but I do think you could discuss a particular event as it happens because that could occur naturally and you could show how you feel about it.

greenmossgiel Mon 11-Jun-12 15:48:06

nelliedeane - yes, I'm pretty sure that E's behaviour is discussed within her hearing! I think as well, that it will be commented on when she has behaved herself, instead of just accepting the fact that 'good' behaviour is normal and doesn't need to be commented on.
After a particularly 'bad' episode the other day, her mum and dad decided that they would take her mobile phone from her, for which they pay a contract. She had hidden it and refused to tell them where it was. My daughter said that the charger was lying around so they would remove this, so that she couldn't charge the phone up. I'm beginning to feel that this is becoming a battle of wits, now. I agree that a united front from mum and dad is the only answer. My daughter is excluded, though....and I find it hard to understand why she lets this go on, unless it's just easier that way. E and her dad will watch films together in one room, while my daughter sits about upstairs. I feel that this isn't the best way of showing a united front, and shows E that her father is favouring her over her mother. It's not for me to tell them that's how I see it, but I'd actually like to.

nelliedeane Mon 11-Jun-12 00:07:23

Just a thought green is E's behaviour discussed where she can hear it and feel that would be cool to be thought of that way and live up to that reputation.
Really feel for you as experience similar issues with my GD but the more she pushes the boundaries the harder we push back,the word NO also produces the same reactions as you are getting....I think mum and dad need to stand strong and as been suggested sing off of the same hymn sheet,perhaps family mediation could help....we find a withdrawal of privileges which then have to be earned back a hissy fit does follow and things get trashed and the mood can then last for days we carry on as normal around her "ignoring "the mood.
I can strongly empathise with you and the feeling of eggshells,it is very wearing living with tension like this everyday. flowers

greenmossgiel Sun 10-Jun-12 21:52:48

Bless you - you lovely lasses! flowers

glassortwo Sun 10-Jun-12 21:45:54

green of course she is not a wee monster, she is only doing as all children do if they have been allowed to get away with it.

I think DD and SIL need to show a united front, but I think DGD does not need to be party to the decisions that need to be made.

Here is a {{{hug}}} for you, go and have a wine xx

whenim64 Sun 10-Jun-12 21:36:52

It's so easy to start thinking a monster has been created because they've been indulged and parents have been lax and inconsistent, but children don't want to be badly behaved any more than they want to dislike their parents - it's just part of growing up for many children and they usually come good in the end. Boundary-setting would get them there more constructively!

I have young relatives who are now at university and we thought they would never manage it out of bed, let alone into a lecture, but they meet new friends who chivvy them along. I saw one of them last weekend - she had come home for the bank holiday. She was being teased about her sudden ability to iron clothes and get up without a parent shouting up the stairs at her. She used to be a little horror, throwing tantrums when she couldn't get her way, 'forgetting' to phone home to say where she was when she didn't turn up from school, demanding money and expensive clothes they couldn't afford, refusing to do chores to help out in the home. She's grown up now, though.

greenmossgiel Sun 10-Jun-12 21:29:13

jingl - I knew what you meant, though. smile
Such good supportive advice from you all. flowers

Butternut Sun 10-Jun-12 21:12:16

Exactly green. If E has discovered that her behaviour benefits her, and hasn't been taught otherwise, then she will continue to be queen bee. I'm so glad to hear you say E is a lovely young girl. It's so important to look beyond the behaviour of youngsters. smile

glammanana Sun 10-Jun-12 21:10:42

green of course she is not a wee monster just a little girl growing up probably to quickly and really testing the water,I do think she will have a shock if her dad came down strong on the behaviour and stopped her having so much control,she is more than old enough to understand the conciquences if she doesn't comply with her parents.I would only interviene if my DD or SIL asked me to do so and then tred very carefully,does she have a good circle of friends at school and at home,do her elder brothers have give in to her every request ? She will grow out of this green I'm sure lets just make sure the parents are singing from the same hymm sheet on the "no" means "no" side of things.go and have a wine you deserve it.

j04 Sun 10-Jun-12 21:07:22

I didn't phrase that very well did I? Sorry.

greenmossgiel Sun 10-Jun-12 20:57:52

jingl, I'd really like to think that I was 'making it out to be as bad' as this, because it is actually as bad as this! I do agree though, that there's nothing I could do that could help matters, because I think there's been too much involvement from others, (and that their opinions have been listened to by E)! As glamma and others have said, I think certain standards have to be set, and both parents need to be seen by E to be standing by these. She's not a wee monster - she's a lovely young girl, but she's not been able to learn that 'No' means 'No' even if she wants to have a tantrum over it. hmm

j04 Sun 10-Jun-12 20:48:32

I don't see any harm in talking to the girl about her behaviour and how she is upsetting her parents. You are her grandmother! If grannies can't advise children, I don't know who can.

Anagram Sun 10-Jun-12 20:47:29

I do sympathise, though, green - your DD must feel wretched. SIL should definitely be more supportive.

Anagram Sun 10-Jun-12 20:45:48

I find it difficult to understand how they can let a 13 year old dictate their TV viewing! Surely they could present a united front on that issue, it isn't doing the child any good to think that she is entitled to overrule any other member of the family.

glammanana Sun 10-Jun-12 20:34:18

Green I do think that SIL should take a hand in this and support your DD more with the behaviour problem,I do think it should be tackled asap as your DGD will soon be on the road to thinking what she will be doing in later life and she will get more and more used to getting her own way and as you know this does not happen in the big world outside our homelife.I would also tend to not talk directly with your DGD about this behaviour as it could bounce back on you it is the place of her parents to stop it now,they will no doubt have to put up with tantrums when they set guidelines for her behaviour but they will have to tough it out for their own sake and for the future development of their child.don't these kids just try your patience I witnessed a similar strop with DGS3 to-day when he told my DD his eldest brother was spoilt and her favourite,this is the boy who has been adored since his first breath due to a difficult birth and very near loss of DDs life and he has been cossetted and loved ever since.If he wasn't so tall I would have boxed his ears but I can't reach.lol.flowersfor you green

j04 Sun 10-Jun-12 20:22:32

I don't think I would associate E's current behaviour with the fact that she was looked after by others when she was a baby tbh.

Are you sure the whole situation is as bad as you are making it out to be? You say she has a good circle of friends and does well at school. Well, that's really good. Isn't it quite normal for some girls to be 'daddy's girl' rather than mummy's?

It sounds as though your daughter has some unecessary guilt here, and is perhaps letting her have her own way too much because of that. Both parents need to 'man up' a bit and be firmer with her. But how you could possibly make them do that is beyond me.

Could she have her own television in her room so that there is no need for arguments about who watches what?

This does sound a lot like normal teenage rebellion. And most children of that age do not like to see to much in the way of shows of affection between their parents.

I think you just need to sit it out.

greenmossgiel Sun 10-Jun-12 20:00:02

I think my daughter has realised that she should have made a stand earlier on in E's childhood. I think she's always felt a bit overwhelmed by her 'rather strong' MIL, who was very happy to 'take over' when it came to childcare, for all of her grandchildren. I feel that too much has been made of E's behaviour ('how shocking, etc!), and that if more of the bad behaviour had been ignored then better behaviour could have been encouraged. It may now be rather late to change tack, and I'm concerned that it may affect her parents' own relationship. Her father definitely needs to 'man-up', and support her mother. I'd like to think I was able to talk through things with E, but then think perhaps any good would be undone by too much being made of the 'actual need' for the talk.
Everything that everyone has said has echoed my own thoughts and feelings about it all. confused

vampirequeen Sun 10-Jun-12 19:21:35

Maybe this is so ingrained in all of them that it needs more than a united front by the parents. I think they should consider family counselling because it's taken all three of them to get to this situation and it will take all three to change things.

Mishap Sun 10-Jun-12 17:43:34

This is so longstanding - they have let it go on for a long time and E thinks she is the boss! I have friends with a D exactly like this - now adult and left home. They love her dearly, but dread her visits - how very sad.

The only way forward really is for the parents to present a united front - "No, there is something we would like to watch on TV" etc. - and back each other up.

But if this is not what is happening and one or other partner is not willing to do this, then there really is little you can do - how very frustrating for you.