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An upset grandson

(137 Posts)
danae Sat 23-Sep-17 16:13:20

My husband and I have virtually brought up our grandson since he was 10 months as both parents work long hours. As they are divorced with new families, we have been his stablity in recent times. He is now 9 and we are now going on an extended holiday and he is very upset, has gone back to wetting the bed, becoming very clingy with us and behaving eratically with his mum, often losing his temper without warning. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can handle this? I might add we have made firm arrangements to Skype him weekly, when we're away.

Alima Sat 23-Sep-17 17:01:15

Hi Danae, not seen you on here before, welcom. (Is your name any connection with a HMS of that name?) Just a thought but are you doing a tour? If so you could buy him a large map and encourage him to track your journey and do some research together on the places you visit. Send him frequent postcards. Not sure about mobile phone charges from abroad but text him daily with your usual questions, how was school etc. Before you go keep reassuring him how much you will miss seeing him but say how much you and your OH are looking forward to this holiday and how much you will enjoy telling him about it when you see him. Do hope he soon feels calmer about things and that you have a great trip.

maryeliza54 Sat 23-Sep-17 17:03:11

How long will you be away?

merlotgran Sat 23-Sep-17 17:19:35

My post will probably be unpopular but why are you doing this to him?

You say you have virtually brought him up and have been his stability. Now you're going away for a long period of time (by the sound of it) Now wonder the poor little chap is upset and clingy.

If he was your child and not your grandchild would you abandon him in the same way? Can you not postpone your extended holiday until he's a bit older?

I doubt Skype will cut it. He wants you there.

Luckygirl Sat 23-Sep-17 17:26:33

I think you are right merlot. You are his stability. Tough, but true, by the sound of things.

maryeliza54 Sat 23-Sep-17 17:34:00

That's why I wondered what 'extended' meant. Poor little lamb - I assume you mean both parents have had further children with their new partners? He must feel he doesn't belong anywhere. Can you curtail your holiday?

Lisalou Sat 23-Sep-17 17:38:25

I think the key here, is how long are you going away for? If it is for a few weeks, it is endurable. I remember my ma went to the US to see her mother every few years and was aways for 4 to 6 weeks. I missed her, but I managed
If it is for longer than that, it sounds like a really tough deal for him, if he relies on you for stability

Cold Sat 23-Sep-17 17:44:36

How long will you be away for?

Can you set up regular Skype or similar contact?

Can you arrange for him to come out and join you for a weekend/half-term? - depending on where you are going

Baggs Sat 23-Sep-17 21:28:28

Are you certain the clinginess, bed-wetting and so on are because of your proposed holiday? Even quite secure children can have bad patches in their development.

Without knowing the child or his history (e.g. has he actually lived with you rather than with either of or both his parents?), I still would have thought nine was old enough for him to understand about you taking a holiday, even a long one.

Children do need to learn how to deal with being 'upset'.

I like the map and postcard ideas others have suggested.

Nanabilly Sat 23-Sep-17 22:43:27

I'm with merlot on this. How can you do it to him .He needs the stability you have always given him. Sorry to be so brutal but I would not be doing it to my gs if I were the only bit of stability he has.

Eloethan Sun 24-Sep-17 00:08:48

I think I would prefer to forego an extended holiday (if by that the OP means more than 4 weeks) if it appeared to cause so much distress to a child. I would be too worried anyway to enjoy it.

It's not just a case of a child beinga bit upset is it Baggs. If a nine year old boy has started wetting the bed and has shown other obvious signs of insecurity and distress, it's more than just being awkward or demanding.

According to the OP, the parents work very long hours; also they are divorced and have new families. It sounds like, in effect, the grandparents are now his parents. No wonder he is upset.

norose4 Sun 24-Sep-17 00:34:07

Your question was does anyone have suggestions about to handle this, well I'm guessing shortening or postponing your holiday is out of the question, so all you can do really is to talk to him a lot about his worries, with lots of reassurance ,but his anxiety is quite strong, so can you make sure he has an adult at school whom he can have access to, who can help to calm him. Can you give him a an itinerary of your whereabouts & a map for him to follow etc, anything at all that helps him to feel that you are not abandoning him, he may also be worried that something will happen to you & that you won't come back, you need to build his confidence, but like others I am surprised you would choose this time to go for any length of time & for it not to affect him

SueDonim Sun 24-Sep-17 02:36:59

I don't think criticising the OP is very helpful. She wasn't asking for opinions on whether she should go away, she would like help to manage the situation.

She doesn't expand on her situation and for all we know, the child may have been happy at the idea of his GP's going away but now the reality has hit him, he's feeling wobbly about them going away.

Danae, I think constant reassurance is required now, although I'm sure you know that. A friend with a very insecure child recently did a project with him, using postcards from different place to show how we are all connected by invisible strings. Maybe sending him PC's with a plan to join them into a collage when you're home again would be helpful?

He sounds a troubled child so I hope outside agencies are involved, allowing you to enjoy a break yourself.

BlueBelle Sun 24-Sep-17 04:47:00

To start being clingy and bed wetting at 9 is telling you the young chap has become a very troubled child indeed and you haven't even gone yet
I agree with you merlotgran (although what does extended mean ...a month, two months, six months?) Poor child.... Danae says they have practically brought him up so it's the equivalent of leaving your own child to try to flounder between two families who don't sound as if they have any time for him would you leave your own child to go on an extended holiday? ....
Didn't you see this would happen ? I can't imagine a weekly Skype will touch the sides he will probably be sobbing when he sees your faces and upset you and him what if the Skype airwaves fail one week and he's left worrying I really don't think this has been thought through at all will you really enjoy yourselves thinking about him back at home

This is much more than a young kid missing his Nan and grandad whilst they are away on holiday

Leticia Sun 24-Sep-17 06:14:06

I think that everyone is being very hard on danae. She and her husband have put their own lives on hold for more than 8 years looking after this little boy whose own parents have not, and are not, doing a very good job. Had they been normal grandparents they would have been able to have their own plans and freedom to carry them out.
She didn't ask whether she should go, just suggestions for managing it.
Alima had the best idea - really involve him. Get library books and let him see where you are going, get the map and little flags to track you. In addition to Skype you can email each other and send him photos.
Above all speak to both parents and get them to take responsibility for the happiness and security of their child. Ask what they are intending to do to prepare him for your holiday and manage while you are away. If the answer is nothing tell them what they should do.

cornergran Sun 24-Sep-17 07:24:02

Could you tell us a little more dannae? How long will you be away and how far are you travelling. I'm usnure if your grandson lives full time with you at the moment or if he is with his Mum most of the time but historically with you as a baby/younger child. What about his Dad. When does he seem him?

I guess it's easy for you and us here to put all the focus on your planned trip but what else is happening. Could he be being bullied at school? Have problems with a friendship group or half siblings? Also, what happens to his half siblings while parents are working, who cares for them? Is his anger with his Mum new or has that been building for a while?

In terms of support for him yes, involve him as much as possible, the map and postcards are a great idea. Also lots of reassurance, could you Skype or speak more regularly or could he be permitted to text or call you if/when he needs to? The only other thought is whether there is anyone else close to him who could support him while you are away. Another relation? Teacher? Cub leader? Even a friend's parent if he gets on well with them.

I also hope your grandsons parents will take responsibility for him, he is their child. Your concern must feel a weight, I hope you can find strategies that will reassure you all.

Anya Sun 24-Sep-17 07:48:01

And of course I might not have anything to do with danae's trip.

Riverwalk Sun 24-Sep-17 08:00:56

As they are divorced with new families,

This says it all really - poor lad probably feels that he doesn't belong anywhere. Restarting bed-wetting at 9 indicates a lot more going on than just your trip. I do wish people would prioritise their current children when they 'move on'.

I think you need to involve the parents in the management of his upset.

Baggs Sun 24-Sep-17 08:18:41

It's not just a case of a child beinga bit upset is it Baggs. If a nine year old boy has started wetting the bed and has shown other obvious signs of insecurity and distress, it's more than just being awkward or demanding.

I agree, eloethan, but that doesn't prove, or even suggest without more solid evidence, that it has anything directly to do with the grandparents.

Nor, even, that it is the parents' fault.

I am not willing to blame anyone for the child's distress at this stage. It could be caused by any number of things.

Baggs Sun 24-Sep-17 08:19:44

Besides which, bedwetting and clinginess are not uncommon even in nine year olds.

NB I'm not saying they are common but that they are not uncommon.

Baggs Sun 24-Sep-17 08:22:57

So, in short, I think those suggesting ways (postcards, discussion, maps, etc) to 'manage' what is going to happen are the nest way forward for the grandparents.

This is not lacking sympathy for the child. It's just not blaming anyone.

Baggs Sun 24-Sep-17 08:23:17


Baggs Sun 24-Sep-17 08:26:00

Perhaps, danae, you and your husband could also think about organising a holiday or some special outing for you and your grandson to happen some time after you return from your expedition.

maryeliza54 Sun 24-Sep-17 08:30:05

Well unless the OP comes back with more information, this is all so much speculation.

Baggs Sun 24-Sep-17 08:31:10