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teenage grandson needs a stable parent

(22 Posts)
sturn22 Fri 22-Aug-14 22:32:49

This is a dilemma I have been dealing with for many years.My grandson is 17 now and his parents split up when he was five.His Mother just disappeared out of his life one day and did not return for 8 months and this set her pattern until now.She come and goes with no warning ;sometimes he lived with her part -time sometimes not .

My son has been consistently there.Sadly he is only there physically as he has lived a full life,despite being a single parent, engaging in many political and other activities as well as his job as a University lecturer.His method of parenting seemed to me to be shouting at his son to be quiet from behind a book or a newspaper.My grandson has spent his life distracting himself from the emotional pain of losing his Mother and having a father who is not really present.He has been full-on, pushing the boundaries,hyper- active a
The situation with his Mother has never been discussed with him and I have had to watch more times than I can count whilst she let him down.

The issue I would so appreciate help with is that since she is around sometimes and as my son lives with him, I can do very little to remedy the difficulties for him. I now see the damage it has caused.He did not do well at school despite being bright .He had learning support as it is possible he is dyslexic but my son denies there is any thing wrong apart from the fact his Mother deserted him.Now he has left school and I moved to be near him to help support him as his relationship with his father was becoming more and more strained.My son is constantly loudly angry and hostile with him and highly critical of him.He gives him very little money and buys him few clothes or shoes so I step in and do those things and I give him pocket money.Now my son is shouting at me for giving him money as he says he buys beer with it.
I am supporting him in getting a place at college but his Mother encourages him to drink and laughs when he goes partying.She is like an immature pal to him not a parent.
Tonight I have just had my son on the phone shouting at me again about how irresponsible my grandson is and an endless list of criticisms of him.I am at my wits end.His grandfather on my son's side, takes no part in his life.He has a sister,my grand daughter, who is 5 years older and she has survived better, graduating this year and now living with her nice boyfriend and working.

Anne58 Sat 23-Aug-14 00:51:38

So sorry that you (and your grandson) are in this situation, sorry again that I have no advice to offer, but just wanted to let you know that I have read your post and am thinking of you.

Eloethan Sat 23-Aug-14 02:14:18

I can see from your post that this is a big worry for you. Your grandson certainly seems to have had a bit of a rough ride. On the plus side, he has your love and support.

I agree that having a dad who is constantly shouting and criticising is not likely to be very helpful, even if there is a degree of teenage bloody mindedness.

Are you able to have a calm and non-critical discussion with your son, explaining why you are worried, and working together, rather than pulling in different directions? He may not be aware that he has got into the habit of being over-critical and shouting, which is likely to affect your grandson's self esteem and possibly make him more inclined to drink.

If it is the case that your grandson is buying beer, it might be better if you don't give him too much money. What about your grand daughter - does she have a reasonable relationship with your grandson and does she see him at all? Could she have a chat with him now and again to see how he is getting on?

I understand how a parent can get into a routine of talking at teenagers, rather than listening. Your son may have his own work pressures and it appears that his ex wife has not been of much help in bringing up their son. And it is difficult for a grandparent to step in without it being seen as undermining a parent, so it has to be handled carefully.

I don't know if any of this helps. I'm sure someone else on here will also have some suggestions. I hope so because it must be very upsetting for you.

Stansgran Sat 23-Aug-14 08:43:27

I think I've seen a book about listening to a teen and getting a teen to talk. Someone here may know the title but it might be a useful present for your son.

Stansgran Sat 23-Aug-14 08:45:36

It's by Adele Faber and on Kindle I've just googled it but I can't post it. Never know it might help

whenim64 Sat 23-Aug-14 09:01:05

Here it is:

It could be that it's not all about mum leaving and dad shouting, as teens often experiment with alcohol, go partying, don't appear to listen or want to talk, and don't get on too well with the parent responsible for their wellbeing from day to day. Having you around as the voice of reason, prepared to support and listen to him, is what counts and if giving him money causes trouble you can provide for him in other ways and keep his dad onside.

Having had four 17 year olds doing all those things and making daily life a temporary minefield of strops and silences, I'm relieved they all gradually found their feet after testing out the world around them. Hope it settles down soon.

FlicketyB Sat 23-Aug-14 09:51:29

At roughly the same age DD had a friend with a similar family background, with an absent juvenile (mentally) father and neurotic mother. She dropped out of school despite having a free scholarship at a highly academic local private school, where she was a high flyer. She left home and for a few months moved in with us before moving into a squat with her boyfriend.

Roll on 20 years, she came to her senses in her early 20s, got a degree, a doctorate and is now a university lecturer with a stable family.

No help in your current situation sturn22 but hang in there, just being there for your GS and an anchor of supportive stability in an unstable world. You may well find that in his early 20s, with the hormonal big dipper of adolescence over he may well get his life in order and your quiet supportive stability, despite the toll it is taking on you, will be well rewarded by a young man who settles down and appreciates all you have provided for him.

glammanana Sat 23-Aug-14 11:36:04

sturn22 Congratulate yourself on the support you give to your DGS and for being a stable part of his life,I don't know which way to advise you best but I certainly would not have his father shout me down for any help I was giving him, in fact I would remind him just who he was speaking to, him being a University Lecturer he should have at least some respect when talking to his mother and be grateful for the support you give his son.This boy is so young and some 17yr olds have no concept of how important the next years are to them,then bang it register's all at once so I do think in a couple of years time you will see a vast difference.

shysal Sat 23-Aug-14 12:41:38

Would it be possible for your GS to find a little part-time job, perhaps weekends, evenings or out of term-time when he goes to college? This would earn him some money which he may be a bit more careful about spending if he has worked for it. It could also improve his self esteem as well as getting him out of the home environment.
He is fortunate to have you around, hang on in there, but try not to make yourself ill. flowers

petallus Sat 23-Aug-14 17:41:55

sturn22 I can sympathise having been in a similar situation some years back. One of my GSs has been living with me for the past nine years, since he was just under 16.

I hope you will hang on in there and keep on supporting your GS who seems to be at the centre of a whole lot of family discord.

When I read your OP, what made me feel the most stressed was the way your son shouts so much, at your GS and at you.

Good luck!

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 07:20:28

Thank you Phoenix very much appreciated that you took time.

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 07:33:25

Many thanks Eloethan.Your post really connected with all the issues in a helpful way and yes there is teenage bloody mindedness in the mix.I do from time to time manage some discussion with my son and he has admitted he does not want to lose his son.I wrote the above post just after one of his tirades on phone so I was at a lower ebb than usual with all this.But your wise reply has definitely helped.Thank you

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 07:41:14

Thank you Stansgran .I have looked this up and it does look good.My son can be a bit arrogant about self -help books but I do keep trying and this one looks worth another try with him.I am so grateful for you taking the trouble.

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 07:48:52

Many thank WhenI'm64. Your perspective really lifted something for me.I think your view shines more light on all this.I had decided to start using his allowance in more practical ways for him so that was another affirmation!
Good to hear that your teenagers got through it all and are thriving.And I do hope that there is some effect somewhere on my GS from my continued and consistent support.We will see, as you say, when the teen years pass.

vampirequeen Sun 24-Aug-14 07:52:20

Are there any Young People Support Groups where you live similar to The Warren in Hull and 42nd Street in Manchester? These are aimed at supporting 16 to 25 year olds. They provide support and even counselling if necessary to young people.

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 07:55:39

Thank you FLICKETYB. It is reassuring to hear this and I guess we can't control the timetabling of our Gchildren's fact much of this is about giving up trying to control outcomes and projections of how it should be.Also was helpful to remember the "big dipper" of teenage years

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 07:59:38

Thanks Glammanana Yes you are right re son and I have said exactly that to him at times.It really helps to see things more realistically in a wider timescale.

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 08:01:46

Yes Shysal good suggestion and he does want a job and he seems to want to go to College though he is ambivalent.Thank you

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 08:08:27

Thank you Petallus.I totally agree with you .Sometimes I feel it is my son who causes the stress more so than my GS. He had a very dogmatic and dictatorial angry father from whom I divorced when my son was 11. Also he,my son, was extremely bright and achieved straight A s and a first class degree. Now struggling with a son who has not achieved much academically.My GS is a physical and artistic boy so different from his Dad.

Aka Sun 24-Aug-14 08:12:42

You sound more positive this morning sturn and I feel that by just being the calm, solid rock in your grandson's life you are helping more than you realise.

Lots of helpful suggestions above, and knowing that others his age have come through unscathed must be reassuring too. I think the suggestion he gets a weekend job is a good one and if not a paid one, then even a voluntary one will give him a focus.

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 08:12:46

Many thanks Vampirequeen for this reference.This looks like a really interesting and empowering project for teenagers.

sturn22 Sun 24-Aug-14 08:15:46

Hi Aka definitely more positive today especially after all the supportive and sensible and wise help on here. Yes a job is a priority and focus is needed.
Can only trust that my influence is doing something for him.