Angry Grandson

27 Mar

Letterbalm Angry KidDear LetterBalm: Because both his parents work, my seven-year-old grandson has been in our care since he was six months old. His grandfather and I love having him with us, and now that he is in school, we pick him up every day and he spends afternoons with us until his folks come and get him before dinner. We’ve become very close. We just found out that my son and daughter-in-law are getting a divorce. The boy is very angry and doesn’t want to see us. But we will still need to care for him, under the divorce agreement. How can we reassure him and make him feel better?

–Caregiving Nana and Grandpop

Pity the little guy. His world is caving in, and he’s scared and taking out his anger on those he knows who love him so much they won’t fight back. You and your husband must be extra patient and kind now. Ms. L.B. advises that you don’t let him throw tantrums and be disrespectful, but do understand that he feels his world is uncertain now. Presumably, his mom or dad has informed his school that there are significant changes on the homefront that might precipitate some acting out in class. Do urge them to have a sit-down with their son’s teachers. In the meantime, say this to your grandson as appropriate:

  • Omari, your grandpop and I understand that things are changing at home for you. Your mommy and daddy are separating and this is scary. It’s grownup stuff and sometimes you cry about it.
  • We understand this, and we want you to know that this doesn’t change how much we love you.
  • We know that sometimes you want to be by yourself here and that sometimes you’re angry at us, and that’s O.K., too.
  • If you ever want to talk to us about anything, you know we’ll always be ready to listen because you’re our special grandson.

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