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Shared Custody Parenting

by Sheryl
(Wenatchee, WA)

I am the grandmother but I'm seeing and hearing from our son about anger problems that his 8 year old son is having. There are a lot of background circumstances that, I'm sure, influence his behavior. Just a few details:

Divorced parents, bi-polar mother, recovering alcoholic father. Father has had a lot to overcome from his background. Our grandson was conceived out of wedlock, they married when he was a few months old and it was a very volatile relationship (lots of screaming, arrest, etc) & ended within a year.

So the little guy has a tough road ahead. He's expressed not knowing why he's angry but is pretty inconsolable during his tantrums. I do not think he is ADD or ADHD as he is doing very well in school. His mother is now a nurse but she continues to berate our son when anything sets her off.

What steps can our son and us as his grandparents take to help him deal with his very unsettled and probably confusing issues?

Thank you.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Sheryl, and thanks for telling your story here. It sounds like your grandson had a traumatic first year, and that may well be the cause of his current anger. I will try to help.

The best thing for him would be consistent, predictable structure & routines in the home, with a very loving, nurturing and positive emotional environment. This would include all of the parenting being as consistent as possible, within each parent figure, and among the parent figures (I'm assuming that you and his grandfather do some parenting).

I recommend that you read about parenting skills for the angry child, and follow all of the guidelines you find there. The more seriously you take this, and the more time and energy each of you puts into this, the more effective you will be.

Be aware that there is nothing wrong with your grandson. His anger is there for a reason, and it's your (and his father's) job to create a healthy loving family environment for him to heal in.

You can do this, Sheryl. Encourage your son and husband that they can do it too.

Believe in the goodness and well being in your grandson, and in each of you.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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