Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Daughter at wits end - how can I help

(39 Posts)
Diddlyididi Thu 12-Apr-12 20:51:50

My poor daughter has two children. The youngest (22 months) has been in and out of hospital for over a year with illness (ongoing) and the eldest (3 and a half) has had a lot to cope with. In the past two weeks things have got much harder for him. They have moved home (further from me) and he has had his tonsils out. He is recovering physically but seems to loathe his new home and is increasingly angry and deliberately destructive and scream himself into hysterics when visitors leave because he wants to leave with them His parents are handling the situation as well as they possibly can, staying as positive and as cheerful as possible and I am helping out as much as the distance allows. I wonder if anyone has anything to offer in the way of constructive ideas. We are so close to the situation that its getting hard to see the wood for the tress.

Diddlyididi Thu 12-Apr-12 20:52:26

Or even trees!

granbunny Thu 12-Apr-12 21:04:05

i'm so sorry that your family has to go through this. unfortunately, i have no experience of such a situation so no advice to offer.

possibly ask him what he'd like in his room, and organise it for him? or where he'd like his bed placed? sounds like his life is disrupted by the move and the op, and with the baby getting attention because of his illness, the elder child is having to express himself any way he can.

i hope things improve soon for the little fellow and for you all.

wotsamashedupjingl Thu 12-Apr-12 21:42:59

Poor little feller. It's an upheaval for anyone, moving house, but when you're little, and feeling under the weather it's bound to be harder. It's a shame it had to come all at once but no doubt that couldn't be helped.

Can they emphasise the good points of his new house to him? Has he got a garden there? If so, could they perhaps manage to buy something like a set of goalposts, or a slide? If they have got wooden floors indoors, could they get him a new ride-on toy so he could make the most of that. Take him to the nearest park and show him the play equipment? Just try to 'big' it up for him in his mind. Is there a library nearby he could go and find nice story books?

I think he's got a lot of settling in to do, and that will get easier as he regains his strength. I hope it gets better for them all soon.

Diddlyididi Thu 12-Apr-12 21:45:36

Thanks granbunny, that is a positive idea I think. Maybe we could go and let him choose a few new things to put in the room tomorrow. Will suggest to his mum. Thanks again. Think we are all getting a bit ground down and desperate so fresh eyes are a help!

Diddlyididi Thu 12-Apr-12 21:53:23

Thanks wotsamashedupjing! The house is a self build and garden still unusable so adding to the probs at moment. It will be done soon though so some new outdoor toys is a great plan. Mum has taken him to the park but he has to stay away from other children en mass for another week cos of infection risk so they have to avoid indoor things. Thanks for new ride on idea - good plan!

gracesmum Thu 12-Apr-12 21:57:40

Let's face it, he is probably not feeling too good anyway and I should know how grumpy DHs invalids can be. Good advice here, but poor little chap, it is so hard when yur life changes dramatically and you can't quite articulate what is wrong. Lots of TLC needed - can Granny perhaps stay for a bit?

wotsamashedupjingl Thu 12-Apr-12 21:57:55

Oh that takes me back! We did self-build. Get him a tractor so he can 'help'? grin

Diddlyididi Thu 12-Apr-12 22:17:58

Yes gracesmum he has every right to feel rougher than a rough thing. It's been a dreadful 12 months and just got a whole lot worse for him! Will ensure he gets as much tlc as humanly possible!

granbunny Thu 12-Apr-12 22:18:26

self build and a sick sibling and house move and bad throat, a stay in hospital and granny can't come round so often???
i'm going to kick off, never mind the three year old!
what strain your family must be under, diddlyididi.
i do hope you can stay with them for a while and help settle the young man in his new home.
lots of positive wishes for you all.

Supernan Thu 12-Apr-12 22:28:39

There is no easy answer, but when one of my grandchildren was ill long term & in and out of hospital I moved in. I gave the other grandchild lots of tlc and time. The sibling of a sick child misses out on such a lot, including parental attention. I think his behaviour is probably a call for attention. Looking back now I think the positive thing that came from this time is that I got to know the kids so well & now, twenty years on, they are still very close.

Diddlyididi Thu 12-Apr-12 23:16:23

Supernan you are right I'm sure that he can't possibly get enough attention from his poor stressed parents. Unfortunately his sibling has a condition which is going to involve hospital visits for her lifetime so I would have to leave my old man and move in permanently to help in that way! I have stayed when they are in extremis but long term we have to cope by me having him here for days and me visiting at other times. I am very close to him emotionally thank goodness and I guess that is the blessing which comes out of adversity. His sibling is a little trouper and just seems to roll with the punches, but then she has had no choice. Thanks to all for confirming my feelings. Patience and love will have to be kept flowing. Good thing they are both infinite resources!

dorsetpennt Thu 12-Apr-12 23:17:57

Poor little man - you seem to be doing all you can and what good advice the other Gransnetters have given you. For a three year old, and they like a pretty dull routine at that age, his little world has been turned upside down. It's difficult because poor Mum and Dad are also having to contend with a lot of worry and upheaval too. Try what the others have said, any chance he could stay with you for a bit of R and R - or is that asking too much of a 3 year old? If possible as well as buying goodies they really just want your time. Perhaps a parent could make him a special project and take him put for treats - like the playground, soft play or MacDonalds, swimming etc - make him feel really special

Hunt Thu 12-Apr-12 23:29:56

Could you perhaps do things the other way round and take on some of the hospital visiting and leave Mum with more time to spend with her son?

jeni Thu 12-Apr-12 23:31:10

Get him tiny tools and make his own garden. Perhaps grow some simple veg?

bagitha Fri 13-Apr-12 06:56:56

I've moved house twice with young children, the length of the country in both cases, and not having seen the house we were moving to beforehand. The children took it in their stride.

Therefore, I don't think it's the house move that is causing the little boy's anguish. I suspect it is his own illness added to his parents' constant worry about his sibling.

The suggestions given above are all good and I would stress the one about giving him much more time and attention. Hard for the parents in such a situatioin but I think that's what he needs.

It's also worth remembering that three year olds often kick up a fuss about nothing in particular and some of it could be that. You just have to grin and bear it. Sounds as if his arents are doing that so they have my heartfelt sympathy. Good luck to you all.

bagitha Fri 13-Apr-12 07:03:03

We don't know the details of the household arrangements, but I wonder if a simple thing such as the same person giving him his tea every day, the same person bathing him and putting him to bed every night, might add to his feeling of security. If he can't rely on mum or dad being there at what are crucial times for a child, he may be feeling the pain of that. Of course, I son't know how easy or difficult this would be to arrange, but it might be worth a try.

My mum (mother of five and we moved house a few times) always used to say that children can cope with a change of place or a change of person, but not both at once.

Carol Fri 13-Apr-12 07:44:34

That sound advice bags. Children generally take new adventures in their stride as long as the people who care for them are consistent.

Diddlyididi Fri 13-Apr-12 07:50:02

Some more excellent advice thank you. Very pleased I took the plunge to register on here and ask for help! I suspect the house has actually had more attention from mum and dad than even his poorly sister and at least that is slowly getting sorted. His sister is actually quite undemanding and cheerful when she's not feeling too rough so doesn't get all that much fuss. They are both coming here for a break from home today so a happy day ahead with any luck! Thanks again to all. Hope I can be of help myself before long!

Carol Fri 13-Apr-12 08:02:03

You sound more cheerful today, too - have a lovely time smile

Annobel Fri 13-Apr-12 08:42:38

You've had so much good advice already that I can't really add to it. I'm sure he will be pleased to visit you in familiar surroundings. Have a lovely day with the two of them. sunshine

petallus Fri 13-Apr-12 09:00:28

I do sympathise with your situation but all good advice already given. Except I do remember when my children small what a comfort it was when my mother stayed with us for a week every now and then. Would you be in a position to do something like that?

johanna Fri 13-Apr-12 19:01:52

Try and imagine the trauma for him. I do not know how children's procedures are dealt with now a days. Would his parents have been allowed to be there when he was given his GA?

It may well be that he associates the operation with the new house.

Also, a general anaesthetic will take a while to get out of his system.
Hope you can help.

Butternut Fri 13-Apr-12 19:24:46

diddly - Poor chap, he has my sympathies. Children often need consistency in routine and boundaries (emotional and physical) to give them the security they need. He's had such a lot to deal with in such a short time that no wonder he is all over the place. I am sure he will settle in time, but if a secure and dependable routine can be provided for him, that might settle him. Good luck. x

wisewoman Fri 13-Apr-12 19:30:34

How difficult it must be for you all. Lots of good advice on here. I would echo Hunt's thoughts. Can you perhaps spend time with the little girl who is ill so that your wee grandson can have some one to one time with mum where he is the focus of attention. I think that would pay dividends. Also agree however that three year olds can be difficult no matter how much love and input they have!! You sound like a lovely caring gran so I am sure things will improve.