Gransnet forums


13-year-old grand-daughter's behaviour.

(26 Posts)
Marelli Mon 27-May-13 21:30:39

I've posted on Gransnet before about my concerns about DGD's behaviour, but do feel the need to speak again now, about 18 months later.
DGD's relationship with her mother (my DD) has deteriorated even further than before. She screams at her and tells her that she hates her (typical teenage behaviour perhaps), but this happens all the time. There is no warmth or love shown whatsoever, though DD tries so hard to draw her to her emotionally. DGD has always preferred her father and tells her mother constantly that she wants her to go away and leave her to live with her dad.
Tonight the neighbours called the police because of the screaming and shouting that was taking place. The police came in, and spoke to DGD and DD , explaining that it couldn't be tolerated that neighbours were being disturbed in such a way. DD told me tonight that the neighbours had come to the door last year and complained about DGD's shouting at her mother late at night.
DGD is having no problems at school - in fact she's doing very well in all her subjects.
The only advice I could offer DD is that she makes a GP appointment for herself tomorrow and tells him how this is affecting her, and then asking if there's a route she can follow to involve professional help for her relationship with DGD.
DD has always been a 'coper', never asking for help with anything, but tonight she said, "Mum, I just don't know what to do."

Stansgran Mon 27-May-13 21:49:46

There is a very good child behaviour specialist called dr. Tanya Byron. She sees referrals but I think she is in the London area. See if anything she has written can give you clues. She seems to cover everything from sleepless nights to teenage trauma. Screaming enough to bring out the police is surely a sign that this child needs help and perhaps family therapy. Courage.

Elegran Mon 27-May-13 21:50:36

Marelli you may have said last time what part her father himself plays in their lives, but I don'tremember it. Is he at home to take his share in coping with this problem?

Elegran Mon 27-May-13 21:56:03

Marelli I just Googled Tanya Byron and I see that she was on a webchat on mumsnet on 5th April of this year. Does she say anything relevant on there?

nightowl Mon 27-May-13 22:01:51

What an awful situation for all of you Marelli. Is your daughter receiving any support from CAMHS with your granddaughter's behaviour? If not perhaps the GP could make a referral. It must be so hard for you to see your daughter suffering like this. Is there anyone in the family who your granddaughter will talk to? Sometimes a third party can be helpful in defusing the situation. (((Hugs))) to you Marelli and remember to take care of yourself.

petra Mon 27-May-13 22:04:22

What is her behaviour like with you. Is it possible that she could live with you for a while; bit extreme, I know, but sometimes distance and her (DGD) talking to you about whatever is going on in her head could give her and your DD a different perspective on everything.
I know it's something that I would do in this situation.

glassortwo Mon 27-May-13 22:06:54

marelli I think your DD needs to look for some outside help, 18 months and no improvement your DD must be distraught. {{{hugs}}}

nanaej Mon 27-May-13 22:15:02

It does sound as if some professional support would help. Family counselling or the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) can be accessed via GP DD needs to se hers and explain how seious things have become, e.g.police calling

Marelli Mon 27-May-13 22:25:50

I'll have a look at Tanya Byron's writings, Stansgran. I think family therapy is the answer, and I hope it's not too late. DGD has always had behavioural issues since she was tiny. She's never got into trouble with police or otherwise and her friends aren't ever in trouble either - they're all seem to be good at school-work and spend time together in their respective homes and DD makes all of DGD's friends welcome.
Elegran, son-in-law works shifts. Tonight he was working when the police were called and DD phoned him at work to say what had happened. He'll be back home by now. I feel that DGD has received mixed messages from when she was little, with much advice on parenting being given from DD's mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I feel that too much comment has been made about her behaviour so that she's perhaps even felt that it was necessary to 'perform' in order to live up to her reputation, if that makes sense. And now it's out of control.
Son-in-law 'allows' DGD to prefer him. I feel that this has been a mistake - I do think that she should have been shown that her mum and dad had a united front, but that hasn't happened. Not really.

janeainsworth Mon 27-May-13 22:39:46

Marelli this must be so difficult for both you and your daughter - I hope her GP is understanding and refers her to someone who can help.

whenim64 Mon 27-May-13 22:53:57

Oh, Marelli* I really feel for you and your family. I hope the parents can work together and show some consistency. One always ends up as the baddie if they are the one who sets boundaries and the other parent doesn't work with them. Some professional help sounds like a good idea flowers

Nelliemoser Mon 27-May-13 23:01:19

Marelli I hope what I am saying here is not "teaching you to suck eggs" I find it interesting that your DGS is doing well academically at school. Is her behaviour at school OK?

Do you think this situation is possibly just a longstanding pattern of poor interaction between her and her mum that has rolled on for years just getting steadily worse?
If so I would think that they both need some help to change their behaviour and the way they respond to each other.
Once these interactions start going wrong, things can just get worse and worse. Both sides find it very upsetting but get in a rut and because they both feel hurt, niether of them can stop making even more unhelpful responses to the other. Both sides end up basically in a habit of winding each other up.

I had an idea that at one time Relate might have been thinking about offering such help for teenagers and parents.

Just your DGS seeing CAMHS is not going to help the pair of them to manage their relationship with each other. I would suggest DGD and DD need to work at this together. As your DGS is old enough & an intelligent girl she should be well able to understand any explanaton of the processes of how the relationship with mum has been going wrong and how if she really wants this, it could improve. Its just a thought! I wish you luck and send a ((hug)).

Elegran Mon 27-May-13 23:02:14

Yes, professional help is the best move. It has gone on too long. and as you say, too many cooks have been stirring the broth and giving her lots of attention for being difficult, so that the behaviour has been reinforced. I do hope it all gets sorted out.

Marelli Mon 27-May-13 23:02:43

Thank you for all your posts - which came in as I was composing my last one. CAMHS may be an option and hopefully DD will go to her GP and be offered or ask for this referral. I spoke to DGD about how she was feeling about things a wee while ago, and eventually did draw her out a bit, but mainly she wanted to criticise her mum and talk about how she and her father didn't like the friends that DD had. Everything seemed to be wrong regarding her mother sad. I didn't pursue this part of the conversation, only to say that her mother's friends were her business and not DGD's! I don't see her as often as I'd like to and I think this is because she's wary of me, thinking I may want to discuss things she feels uncomfortable with. She used to have a really good relationship with my other daughter, but she doesn't visit her any more, either. I worry for her because I know she must be unhappy. They must ALL be unhappy.
Elegran, I'll have a look at the Mumsnet interview you spoke of.
I do think the time has now come for outside intervention.

baubles Mon 27-May-13 23:11:12

Oh Marelli you don't have your troubles to seek at the momentdo you?
What is your relationship with your grandaughter like, would she listen to you at all? She sounds troubled, even if it doesn't seem to affect her at school, perhaps she vents her anger in the safety of her own home. I'm sure she would benefit from professional help.

flowers for you and a {{hug}}

Marelli Mon 27-May-13 23:14:08

Nelliemoser, you've more or less hit the nail on the head, regarding the interaction between DGD and DD.
Her behaviour at school is exemplary, and she's confident about everything she does there. Her teachers are really happy with her - I suppose they'd be quite taken aback if they knew how things were at home.

Marelli Mon 27-May-13 23:23:44

[baubles] - oh I know! That's the way it goes sometimes! No doubt it'll sort itself out, but I'm her mum's mum and I want her to be happy too. DD would have been horrified to open the door to 2 policemen in the middle of the evening. She said that they were really pleasant and gave them both a bit of a talking to, but it doesn't make for good neighbour-relations, either. DD was mortified and upset and DGD stood while the police were there then disappeared into her room.
Hopefully something will be done tomorrow that will point them towards a more positive outcome. Thank you all flowers xx

Bags Tue 28-May-13 05:39:20

marelli, sending hugs and flowers

JessM Tue 28-May-13 06:36:44

Just a hunch that this is not just a mother daughter issue and that dad plays a part in this dynamic. Hope she manages to get some professional help Marelli - hope the police incident will be a wake up call.

Butty Tue 28-May-13 07:45:13

Marelli flowers.

I was thinking about you this morning, having read your post last night.
I hesitate to offer advice, because it is such a difficult issue, but will do anyway.
I feel this clearly involves all three members of the family - and the reasons why the dynamics have become entrenched in such a way need to be addressed and understood by all.
I am sure your GP will be able to point you in the direction of a good, experienced family therapist who will be able to help them.
The fact that your granddaughter is doing well at school speaks volumes. Her behaviour at home certainly sounds challenging, but perhaps it would be a mistake to make her solely responsible for the family's difficulties.

Gagagran Tue 28-May-13 08:11:05

This reminds me such a lot of my relationship with my own DD, whom I love dearly but cannot say I think she feels the same for me.

As a baby she was very clingy to me but from about five she became very jealous of any sign of affection between her Daddy and myself to the point of getting between us and pushing me away if we had a hug. Unfortunately my DH pandered to and encouraged this and she rapidly became, and still is, the dominant feature in our family dynamic for him. He adores her.

Her adolescence was very difficult as she increasingly withdrew from me and although we reached an unspoken accommodation in our relationship once she had her own children (with whom I have a wonderful, loving and close relationship) I could not say that we are close. She would never confide in me or discuss anything beyond activity arrangements or what the wider family are up to. It is always a light and rather superficial contact with her very clear boundaries beyond which I never stray. It is a bit like walking on eggshells at times. She remains chummy and chatty with her Dad but is never like that with me. I honestly believe that she just does not like me very much.

Over the years, when I have agonised and cried bitter tears for the lack of closeness, I have come to realise that it's not going to change. She is not rude or actively aggressive in any way - passive aggression yes. I have had to accept that that is the way she is and to see her good points and strengths - which are many.

Maybe some mother and daughter relationships are just doomed to be like that. After all we don't choose our relations!

Bags Tue 28-May-13 08:27:03

It sounds like very manipulative behaviour when a child tries to 'get between' its parents.

My sister had a period of engaging in manipulative behaviour during her teens but in her case it was driving a wedge between my parents and the school. She told different stories at school from what she told at school which meant that parents and school were at loggerheads for quite a while.

It was interesting that it got most intense after I had left the school and gone away to uni. At one point apparently the HT said that sis was more troublesome than all the rest of the school together!

It was, in the end, only the fact that a teacher at the school who knew my parents well personally and spoke up for them that sis was 'rumbled'.

She then carried on being manipulative in other ways and in other places among other people. She still is but less so. Talking through my hat, I wonder if it is something to do with having a controlling personality?

Marelli Tue 28-May-13 09:13:08

So much of what has just been said is so relevant to what's actually been happening in DD's household. The family dynamics are such that DD tends to remain on the outside of the family group. DGD kicks off if her mum wants even to go to the supermarket with her and her father. I do feel, as I remarked before, that she's been given the wrong messages from an early age, and that her dad has enjoyed her preference for his company rather than her mum's, not encouraging or insisting that they did things as a family. Very similar to that which Gagagran has described, and as JessM and Butty have remarked.
DD's behaviour seems to be the result of too much of the wrong attention. Not enough strength from her mum, too much pandering from her dad, and the open discussion in front of her across his family of her behaviour. She's been made out to be 'different' because of her tempers and mood. DD has stayed with me rarely, though looks on her other gran as a second home, and this is where the problem stems, I believe.

whenim64 Tue 28-May-13 09:27:49

Marelli she sounds like a confused kid who needs some strong, consistent guidance and support. If acting out gets her some negative attention, and being 'good as gold' gets little attention, she might as well do what has been working in her favour so far. At least dad takes her side, from her perspective. Family therapsts are great for such circumstances. Hope things improve soon x

nightowl Tue 28-May-13 09:34:02

If the GP is unable to identify a family therapist (they are often thin on the ground) CAMHS should work with all the family, not just the child. Of course, that will depend on whether dad is willing to engage and acknowledge his part in this situation. Many parents can be resistant in such entrenched relationship patterns. Good luck to you and your daughter Marelli