In a Quandary

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Anonymous writes, “I have two grandsons. We live in a multi-generational home with the oldest grandson who is special needs, partially blind, learning disabled, autistic and is seven years old…

My other grandchild is a six year old boy who lives in another state and comes to see us once or twice a year. They are both only children.

Our special needs grandson has a very stable home with his mother, Grandma (me) and Grandpa. He is an extremely sweet child that rarely gives us trouble unless he is feeling poorly or tired. Our younger grandson, until recently, has not had a stable environment. No abuse, just not too stable although he lives with his mother and father.

Here is the problem: the younger grandson is insanely jealous of the older grandson, to the point he competes with him in everything, calls him stupid, tries to take everything from him, hides his cousin’s toys from him, etc. He is a sassy young man and smarts-off to his mother and Grandpa. He tries to smart off to me, but that does not fly.

He argues about everything and will expend huge amounts of energy trying to find a way to get around anything you tell him to do. Just one example: He loves to play in the yard. Great!! We have a huge yard with a tent, hammock, swings, etc. The only rule was to not leave the yard without an adult nor go into the road. What does he do? Walks right to the very edge of the driveway, puts his toe into the road, and looks back to see if anyone sees what he is doing (I know, attention anyway he can get it, even if it is negative).

I try to give him lots of positive attention as it seems he needs it so badly. If you are watching the news he will come and stand directly in front of your line of vision so that you have no choice but to look at him. AHHHHHH!

His mother has dreams of him coming and staying in our home for a summer so that he and his younger cousin can be best buddy cousins. It puts me in a cold sweat. Yes, I have tried to gently talk to his parents, but they always make an excuse for him. I do not know what to do at this point. I want to enjoy him, but it is so hard. HELP!!”

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15 thoughts on “In a Quandary”

  1. Mother of three, grandmother of four here. Start with overnight. Tell him the rules in front of his parents; respect, obey, be nice to everyone especially his cousin and if he isn’t nice he will need to go home and think about how to be nicer. First slip, take him aside and gently explain what he did wrong since it sounds as if that isn’t happening at home. Second offense results in time out with the explanation that The next offense means he will be sent home immediately. Mean it and do it. He may have to go home a couple times for him and his parents to know it will happen and this behavior won’t be tolerated. Tough now, but he will grow into a much nicer adult and have more of a chance to be a person others want to be with. And while you’re at it, time to remove the gentle gloves from his mother and father. They need to know their son acts like a stinker and no one wants to be his friend when he behaves this way and more than a weekend is too much with a child that behaves this way. They can’t see the forest for the trees and as Grandmother, you can guide them out of the woods. Best wishes

    1. So tell his parents the truth. With his character, it will not be fair to the other special need child.
      He has it all. Someone has to get him to understand.

  2. Mother of three, grandmother of four here. Start with overnight. Tell him the rules in front of his parents; respect, obey, be nice to everyone especially his cousin and if he isn’t nice he will need to go home and think about how to be nicer. First slip, take him aside and gently explain what he did wrong since it sounds as if that isn’t happening at home. Second offense results in time out with the explanation that The next offense means he will be sent home immediately. Mean it and do it. He may have to go home a couple times for him and his parents to know it will happen and this behavior won’t be tolerated. Tough now, but he will grow into a much nicer adult and have more of a chance to be a person others want to be with.

  3. Tell the child that if he can’t behave he will have to go home. Make it his decision:: does he want to stay home or at your place? He can decide, but make sure he understands the rules. I am the grandmother of 7 and the great grandmother of 10. I don’t tolerate bad behavior and they all know it, yet they chose to be with me as often as possible.

  4. I would suggest some counseling before I allowed him to stay any length of time. I think 2 weeks is even too much. The mother also needs help and should not allow her son to treat the cousin this way. The boy has not had any limits placed on him before and as a retired elementary teacher with some counseling background he feels threatened powerless so acting out is his way to gain power. Counseling for mom and son. Immediately

  5. In my opinion an entire summer is way too long for a six year old to be away from home. I would consider a 2 week stretch. During this time work with him so that he understands the house rules and that his ability to come back for another stint is dependent upon his behaviour. Kids are smart enough to understand that the rules at grandma’s may be different than at home. It gives mom and dad a chance for a little holiday and allows you to build a relationship with him.

  6. Took me awhile to understand my swirling, shouting little dervish of a grandson…. He can still be nasty to his little brother.. But on the whole, as he has got older his behavior changed. Now he’s a delight to have ( on his own) He knows this nanny don’t stand for naughtiness. Hopefully your grandson will change as he gets older x

  7. I have grandchildren 2 grandsons. 5 granddaughters. 1 great grandson 1 great granddaughter. I worked when they all were that age all but 1 granddaughter. 1 great grandson & 1 great granddaughter are all grown. I keep my 5 year granddaughter sometimes when my daughter needs me to. We get along great. My great grandchildren live 6 hours away I don’t see them often. So I’ve never had to deal with your situation. So I really can’t say much about it. Good luck. My thoughts are with you.

  8. I have grandchildren (siblings) 5 and 7. The 7 Year old trys me too. I am sure there is jealousy there, but I think it’s partly the age. I don’t let him get away with it. It is tiring. I can only be in their company for short times. I would tell their mother that if he can’t behave, he won’t be staying. The behavior is allowed at home.

  9. Perhaps try it for 2 weeks. It will be hard, but he is family. Maybe some of the love, serenity and tranquility in your household will have a positive impact. 🙏💗

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