granddaughter dilemma(25 Posts)
Also thinking... it's probably "normal" for young people this age to tell the older people in their life that they're "wrong" about this/that. Unfortunately, you're getting the brunt of it cuz she's living with you. She also probably feels she can "let her hair down" more with you than with the outside world, which, in a way, is a compliment.
Please be careful that you're not dismissing new ideas she brings home, offhand, even if the sound "ridiculous" or whatever to you. I remember having many arguments with my DM (dear mother), at this age, cuz she just couldn't take seriously any new idea or viewpoint I told her about or thought I had "misunderstood," etc. Also cuz she had difficulty accepting that times had changed and some "truths" she taught me weren't "truths" anymore. I don't say that's what you're doing, but if so, that may be why you're getting such harsh reactions. While that doesn't excuse GD's treatment of you, of course, it may explain it. I don't recall ever being rude to DM, even during these arguments. But I can see where some young people might be (sigh).
It may be better to just listen, mostly, when she talks and not rush to disagree (even if you do in your mind) or "correct" her thinking (again, IF that's what you're doing), even though, I'm sure, it's with the best of intentions.
Oh, Jenny, I feel for you! And GD, as well! Sounds to me like she's rebelling a little late in the day, like I did (it usually happens earlier, as far as I've seen). And, of course, on top of that, she has all the other issues to deal with that others have mentioned. Poor GD! Poor you!
I really think that DD and her new DH should have tried to work it out/sought family counseling, etc., instead of pushing this rebellious girl off on you. But given that you love and have a close relationship with her, whereas the new DH doesn't, maybe it's just as well. Bless you for being there for her!
I agree with those who say to ignore her - even go into another room - when she starts to rant. Maybe even say you'll talk to her when she calms down and can manage not to be rude. If she's the one who leaves the room/house, let her - even if she "storms off," as unpleasant as that is. My guess is it's her way of taking a TO (time out) from the disagreement. You should do the same, IMO, but, of course, w/o "storming" (maybe she'll follow your example, in time).
Your comment about "animal rights' caught my attention. It's not unusual, as I'm sure you realize, for young people to get interested in causes and perhaps, this is hers. In a way, that's a good thing though she shouldn't be belligerent about it. In a calm moment, perhaps you can let her know you respect her beliefs. But also, maybe, that you're not going to change your ways, especially not in your home (if that's what she wants).
I'm glad you're not going to ask her to move out - she's had enough rejection. But like FarNorth, I'm wondering if that isn't something she might like to do. I'm not clear on whether she's in college yet or in the working world (other than an afterschool job). But, if so, then it might be a very good time to move out on her own or with a roommate. Would you be willing to help her do that, if she wants? Is there a way you feel you can let her know that's an option, w/o making her feel like you're asking her to leave?
Just a thought - as she is 18, and an adult, would she prefer to take a step to independence and live on her own, while being able to see you whenever she wants, of course?
Hi Jenny well, where do I start? This sounds very familiar to me. I have a rollercoaster of a son, nearly 19 years old who, one minute will be the funniest, kind, caring, loving son I could ever wish for, and the next minute he will be sarcastic, rude, obnoxious, verbally offensive, storming around that I wish the door would open and a huge pole would grab him and take him somewhere else!
I have been to hell and back with him over the years, taking what he has said to heart, being upset, shocked, trying to get him to see counsellors, worrying until my hair is now grey and sparser than what it was. It has all got me nowhere, to be honest and now I deal with him by simply ignoring him if he starts. If I tell him to go upstairs if he starts picking for a fight and wont, then I get up and move. He usually then moves as he has noone to impress or try to get attention off.
I know you DGD has a lot going on but other people have their mum remarry and survive. I do think that at this age they will try to pick on something to get angry with as their hormones are raging and it comes out to the one person they know they can get away with it with.
You need to take as little notice of her as possible once she starts to put you down, rise above it. You know you are intelligent, kind, caring, you don't need a 18 year old to confirm it. She will do one day, just not now. Find some place where you can be away from her (not on the moon!), maybe your bedroom or lock the bathroom door and take a long soak. Lay down the ground rules. Tell her that if she starts to go too far she is to go to her room and stay there until she calms down. No banging doors etc. Treat her like she is having a tantrum. We do make allowances for toddlers but teens we expect to behave themselves all the time and it just is not going to happen. If a toddler started a tantrum, you wouldn't carry on having a conversation with them or trying to reason, you would walk away until they calmed down. So do the same with your DGD. It works with my son. You do need to explain to her that you deserve respect, that you have brought up a family and are not stupid, and that if she starts to make you feel so, then get up and move away from her, go and make a brew, don't take it, don't give her an audience, which is what she wants. If she follows, go to the toilet and lock the door, take a book. When you come out, hopefully she will have moved onto looking on facebook or something.
PM me if you want. It is not easy but she does need to know that you are going to be there for her but there are boundaries. Just like in life. Good luck.
I'm sorry for you both. Both of you need kindness. As her gran, you don't have primary responsibility for her though. You say she feels like your daughter to you but in fact she does have a mum and you are not involved in whatever is causing problems there.
At 18 she is a legal adult and needs to live in the real world, and it's something she must do in order to have a happy life as an adult. Assuming she has left school and is at uni or in a job, have you considered that a better role for you might be to provide a kind and secure place for her to return sometimes and lick her wounds and be looked after when grown up life gets too much? I think it won't help if you stick with letting her move in and spoil your life because that is already making you feel really fed up with her which is not what she needs. Her mum and stepdad are the ones who need to work this out with her and she with them.
jennyjones have you let your DGD see how distressing her behaviour is to you? Maybe you could ask her if you have done anything to upset her and, if not, why is she so often rude to you.
If necessary, explain to her that you feel bullied and you would like that to stop.
Your DGD probably has a lot of reasons to feel upset/annoyed/rejected but none of them are your fault.
I think you need to have a talk with your GD and set some rules about how she behaves with you.
As others have said she possibly feels rejected and actually she has been rejected in favour of a new Husband and daughter but she is an adult at 18 so needs to treat you with some respect .
I think you are in for the long haul as it would be almost impossible for her to get alternative housing and you can bet that your daughter won`t want her back intruding into her new family .
Do you feel that she is bullying you? It really isn`t fair to have this problem dumped on you as I expect you are not a youngster and she will only get worse if you allow it . Maybe also speak to your daughter as she had no problem letting you take this young woman knowing what she was like .
I concur that you cannot make an accurate judgement about how the "stepfather" when you are not there. My stepfather was a much loved primary school teacher and youth leader. Later became a primary head. He was a horrible emotionally-abusive bully to my sister and me. My mother, previous widowed at 24 and then only in her early 30s could not protect us or stand up to him.
Also my first husband who was viewed outside the home as "a lovely man" was physically violent to me and DS1 within the home.
I'm not sure that anyone outside could have guessed about either of these men.
This Man is NOT her step father as he has had no part in her upbringing, she will not be taking his surname, she is too old for him to adopt. He is her Mother's new Husband, and father to her step sister - nothing more, nothing less. She has had all her Mum's love and attention for 18 years and as we all know love is not split 50/50 when another child arrives, it simply grows so that everyone is 100% loved (albeit with a bit less attention).
At 18 your DGD is not a child but a young adult of an age when many of us Grans were already married, engaged, at University, or working and no longer living at home. It will take time for DGD to assimilate all the rapid changes from her status quo - there is no going back to how it was before but she could come to see these changes as an opportunity to spread her wings, make her own choices, cut the apron strings without having to worry about a single parent Mum left all alone, while still having a base with Mum or Granny to return to when she needs a hug.
Can you find a time when she's calm and responsive, to explain to her how her attitude is affecting you?
Let her know how much you love her, but that her behaviour is unaccptable to you.
She probably feels rejected, although she loves her baby sister, it could feel to her as though stepdad and baby have taken her mum away from her.
It does need pointing out to her though, and in no uncertain terms, that she is wrong to treat you as she is doing, she needs to show respect, not least due to the fact that you have given her a home when she really needs it.
However, I'm sure we were all mouthy teenagers, I was really well behaved, but we had sixteen stairs in one flight in our house, and I used to get bounced up them by my mum for 'giving lip'!
Level with her, jenny. She quite clearly doesn't want to be with you at this moment in her life but that doesn't mean she has forgotten the close relationship she once had with you. Lay her options on the table and let her see that for the time being she is probably better of with you so she might as well accept it. In the words of my 17 yr old DGD, 'Suck it up!'
If there are other options available you could help her go down those routes but I suspect her mood swings and tantrums are caused by the fact that she knows there's nothing else on the cards for the time being.
Eighteen is a little old for the kind of behaviour she's indulging in. Many teenagers are preparing to leave home for work or uni. Maybe you could focus on helping her with her future plans and avoid dwelling on domestic issues?
Best of luck. Teenagers are a minefield.
How is the step father behaving towards her? What is his attitude, is he getting at her a lot?
Forgive me for thinking the worst but stepfather sexual abuse is to say the least not unkown.
Never think of anyone that "They would not do that sort of thing".
jenny I can't add much to the helpful responses already given except to say that you really need to emphasize to DGD that you love her to bits and will always do so but you just don't like the way she is behaving towards you or treating you at present. Tell her that it is making you feel as if she doesn't love you or want you in her life and that it hurts more than you can express to her. Tell her that you find it helps to talk things through and you would like to have regular conversations about everything that affects the family because it is helpful just to hear it out loud sometimes.
Counting to 10 or saying 'excuse me please' and leaving the room to get your equilibrium back is very helpful.
Blessings and ((hugs)) to you for taking on a huge responsibility jenny
A bit like her stepfather, she is a model of propriety outside of the house, well liked at work and, other than the practical studies associated with her work, I do not think there is anything else to put her under undue pressure (but who can tell what really worries her at that hormonal age!)
She has had a faithful boyfriend since 16. That's where she is this morning, and we'll be off to daughter's this afternoon for Mothers Day.
I have assured her that I love her company. It has made a difference, a good one (generally), to my life, having her back with me. I think it's that I am not used to the sudden storming out of the room (why?) not understanding what I have done wrong in her eyes (quite often) and the heavy sighs, eye rolling - that I know my own mother would have hit out at - telling me that my opinion on various things is not right - and lecturimg me on animal rights, etc etc -- and other little rude things that I feel I do not deserve.
Maybe I am simply not a very tolerant person.
You don't mention whether or not she is in full time education. If she is, then she will be under pressure to succeed in exams so as to get a place in Higher Education. Do you know how she is getting on or if her state of mind is affecting her progress? Perhaps there is a school/college counsellor or member of staff responsible for pastoral care. It's worth considering. I too have an 'accidental' GD who is now 24, very caring and affectionate, but she has also had had moody times and umpteen awful boyfriends. Now she has a degree, a job and a steady (I hope) partner. I hope it all works out equally well for your DGD.
If she is 18 years old, then she should be able to see YOUR point of view.
Yes, o.k. so you are old, not so "with-it" as she is - that is not your fault - tell her so. She is living in YOUR house, and you really love having her to live with you and very much enjoy her company - tell her so. BUT and there have to be buts, ask her PLEASE not to treat you as if you are stupid, and that you would REALLY appreciate if she would clear up her own mess.
Above all, I think you should stop feeling sorry for her - she has a loving mother, a grandmother who obviously thinks the world of her, and a very comfortable home, It would do her good to be reminded of all these things.
If she is 18, she could of course always leave home (not that I would ever say that to her)
Poor girl. If anyone needs sitting down and being told a few home thruths it's the stepfather. He knew he was taking on a teenager but maybe he hoped she would soon disappear. Many men appear to be nice and compromising and then are only too happy to adopt the 'my house, my rules' approach when they marry.
It is for this reason that my DD refuses to move in with her long time partner. She had a trial run and saw the light!!
Well done, you, jennyjones for being the constant in your DGD's life
I have read all your comments, thanks, and it gives me some things to think about.
Regarding the stepfather, isn't it so true that you really don't know someone until you live with them? I find him charming, intelligent, a good father and hardworking. As long as daughter is happy with him, that's what counts the most. Molly regards him as a demon. Maybe if I had to live with him, I would also find bits I don't like.
I have no intention of actually getting her to leave. It is simply hard to find the resonablel/helpful words sometimes, as I am old (she says) and no doubt my IQ is now a few points below hers, so in a discussion I often lose what I was trying to say.
I do love her like a daughter, and I intend to do my best for her.
pushing boundaries seeing how far she can go before you,like everyone else (it seems to her) reject her too
It sounds like that's the case jenny I can understand your annoyance, I think I would go to another room when she starts, I would try not to let her see she was getting to me and show her the loving nan that you are. Hopefully soon she will realize that you won't reject her, no matter what and things will change. I hope for both your sakes that happens soon.
Poor lass must feel really rejected for all the reasons that Indinana has outlined.
Some ideas: discuss with DD how she can be welcomed back into their nuclear family, which is of course where she should be; increase her visits there; sit down with her and try to help her as best you may - but she is in a difficult situation and is likely to give anyone she lives with a fair bit of grief at the moment.
Please do not neglect your own well-being in all this. I know you want to do your best for your DGD, but a stroppy teenage girl (however justified her anguish) is a challenge for a younger Mum and more so as we get older.
I can only wish you lots of good luck with this.
Well your daughter didn't meet and marry this man on the same day, so what was the relationship like between him and your granddaughter between those two events? And how long between the two events?
I would suggest she is feeling rejected. She's been with her mum all her life and then this fellow comes along, mum marries him, and daughter is now in second place. On top of that, when she reacts badly to this usurper, she is asked to leave. Oh, and there is the matter of a new baby to make their new life complete. They really don't need her anymore, do they? I'm not surprised she is going through a troubled stage, to be honest.
I do sympathise with you jj, it sounds like an awful lot for you to deal with. But I would urge you to try to sit down and have that conversation with her, try to get her to pour it all out. She is doing that usual teenage thing of 'pushing the boundaries', seeing how far she can go before you, like everyone else (it seems to her) reject her too.
I'm sure there'll be others along who will have some good sound advice and ideas for how to move forward with this. But in the meantime, and keep practising counting to ten!
Has anyone sat down with her and had long conversations about why she is acting as she is?
There could be all sorts of reasons.
She feels left out? Bullied at school? Not feeling loved at home? Boyfriend troubles or lack of boyfriend? Fears about her future? Lack of job prospects? Uni worries? No end of possible concerns at her age.
My daughter had an 'accident' 20 years ago and presented me with a gorgeous baby girl. Both daughter and child lived with me for many years after, so that the child became more like another daughter.
Happily, my daughter found a nice chap and married him, so house emptied. Not six months later, daughter asks tearfully if the girl can come back to live with me, as stepfather and child at war!
Hey ho. Molly moves back in. I don't know what those six months did to her, or whether she just hit an awkward time of life - 18 years old. Frankly, I am not surprised the stepfather didn't want her around. Belligerant, mouthy, rude, messy (so messy!) opinionated like the whole world is wrong and against her.
I have done my best to ride this storm for the past six months, but it is pretty wearing. I feel sorry for her being unable to stay with the mother she loves, and the new baby sister that she adores, and I try to help her visit as much as she can. But I am not sorry for her when she is ranting about things that I do not understand, and being treated like a daft old woman when I express my confusion.
I am really beginning to wish she would move out and leave me alone, and I hate myself for feeling that way towards her.
Suggestions on how to deal with this, please?