August GRG Connections

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Issue 14            Volume 14

Gratitude – What’s That!

The Push me Pull me Game

By Mar a WPB GRG

In my heart I long for that “thank you”, hugs, displays of appreciation.  I gave them as a child, taught my children to say “thank you”, to be grateful, or so I thought.

Now I have my teenage granddaughter living with me.  I thought I just needed to adjust my method of teaching gratitude for her to be able to express it. But, sadly, with very little to no luck. If I dial the number or buy the Thank You notes she will grace me with a verbal “thanks” or sign her four letter name. 

Then I researched what I was doing wrong.  Once again my expectations were getting in the way of seeing the whole picture.  Talking with a counselor, I learned that during the teen years, the child is pulling away from needing an adult to tell them what to do, they are taking over more territory in their lives which doesn’t include the adults.  Yet we continue to push them into behaviors that they have not yet had time to decide whether they will be part of their repertoire of characteristics in adulthood.

The advice is to be wiser in picking your fights.  If she has seen and experienced gratitude growing up, it will be back in her twenties.

Also, she has now decided she no longer will eat meat, chicken or fish and I now spend my days trying to find something other than beans to eat every day.

Anybody else out there with a teenager?

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Solution-Focused Communication with your Adult Child

From Parenting the Second Time Around

Here is an example of solution-focused communication:

The Problem:  A grandparent needs a grandchild’s immunization record for school registration ASAP.

Person-focused/blaming (Stop!):  “You never bring the papers Zara needs.” (Stop blaming – this is a sure way to build a communication barrier wall and not get what you need for your grandchild).

The Solution-focused (Go!):  “The school needs Zara’s immunization record, so she can be enrolled.  It will be best for Zara if she begins kindergarten with everyone else. (State what is best for the child).  How can we get it to them by next week?” (Using the “we” word helps communicate that you are all in this together and want the same outcome).

What problems have you faced or are facing with your adult children that solution-focused communication could help you solve?  Try practicing it and/or role-playing situations with your spouse or a friend.

This type of communication can also be helpful with others such as—your partners, grandchildren, co-workers.  Come to the GRandS/GRG Workshops and we will help you learn how to use this communication tool!

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Dear Margret:  Our 32 year old daughter and her three children have been living with us in our home for quite some time now.  The children’s father is completely out of the picture.  While our daughter does work, she does not pay for anything, and ignores her children when she is home.  We are taking care of the children, buying diapers, feeding them and putting them to bed at night.  We have tried to encourage our daughter to help around the home and pay more attention to her children. When we try to talk to her about this, she gets very angry and yells at us. She spends most of her time outside smoking & talking on her phone.  We feel we are being taken advantage of and don’t know what to do.  Please help!    Tearing our hair out in WPB

Dear tearing your hair out:   Consider writing a contract between you and your daughter. Be sure to include your expectations of her responsibility when living in your house. Also consider consequences if those responsibilities are not met on a daily basis. Be sure you both sign and date the contract to acknowledge you both are in agreement with what is expected in her behavior.

Some suggestions for topics of your expectations could be:

1) A small amount of her income goes to you to help pay for food, diapers, rent, gas etc.

2) Doing her children’s laundry

3) Her spending quality time with the children. Help feed, bathe, read & put them to bed.

Start out with one or two expectation topics in your contract. Remember you do not want to overwhelm your daughter by all of a sudden insisting that she change overnight. After all, she has been handing the task over to you quite easily. (We all know change takes time and practice). Start out small and encourage her along the way. Eventually she will feel secure and confident enough to take on more and more of the daily parental roles.

For more information on how to write a contract between you and your adult child, please contact the PBC Cooperative Extension to find out when the next GRG workshop will be. 561-233-1742.

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Disclaimer:  This publication is provided for informational purposes only as a public service.  Palm Beach County (County) does not endorse any company or entity, product or service referenced herein, nor does it assume any liability for the accuracy of the information provided.  The opinions expressed within the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the County’s policy, opinions or view points.  The County presents content as objectively as possible to ensure accuracy of information.  However, the County is not liable to the viewer as a result of any claim, loss, damages or expenses, direct or consequential, suffered by the viewer due to their reliance or use of the information in this newsletter.

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