How to fill in for a missing parent

junemarie6 asks: My grandson said last night he could not do his schoolwork at the table because it was too noisy. I said, “OK, then go to another room.” He said no! However, I made him go. He is always sassing and making smart remarks. (I guess I need to give you a little more information on the case: My son has asked mom to move out so I have taken over, which does not make them (boys) all that happy) What can I do to get my grandsons to complete their tasks and do what I ask?

Hi junemarie6 –

I feel funny offering you advice on child-rearing, because… I mean… you’ve already done it!  But you are in a specific and difficult situation, given what’s happened with your son’s marriage.  The best advice I can give you on this is to be patient!!!  Your grandsons are in a terrible situation, where they probably feel that being good and obedient to you is an act of disloyalty to their mother.  It’s as though you went from being the fun loving grandmother to the feared stepmother overnight!

Given that, it’s very understandable that they won’t know how to treat you for a while.  Also, they are likely pretty upset about their mom leaving, and whereas a mature adult would deal with those feelings by expressing sadness openly and verbally, a child often deals with grief or confusion or depression by acting out.  Yes, I mean bratty, rude, appalling behavior!

Over time, they will adjust to whatever happens.  Maybe their parents will get back together, maybe they’ll split custody, maybe Mom will leave town – I don’t know, of course.  But whatever happens, they’ll learn how to deal with that reality.  And as that happens (whatever version), they’ll treat you better.  But for now…  just take that leash between your teeth and bite down on it, because there’s nothing else you can do.

Okay, having said all that, I want you to look at an earlier answer I gave, about discipline.  Use the Search box at the right of your screen, and find the question MaggieMay asked, “How should a parent discipline their child?”  I’m thinking the answer should help.

But once again, the key here is to be SUPER-patient.  And know that, no matter what those kids say now, what you’re giving them will make their lives immensely better.

Good Luck,


About the Author

Leave a Reply 0 comments

Leave a Reply: