Concerned about treatment for grandson

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by GmaKate, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. GmaKate

    GmaKate New Member

    Hi All,

    I'm writing about my 9 yo grandson - Let's call him "Jeff". He has been diagnosed with depression, ADD and possible ODD. He is on prozac and the psychiatric doctor also wants to try adderall. Here's my concern. This kid has been through more stress in his short life than most adults endure. His parents divorce and remarriage (and the ex daughter in law has married a complete jerk who does not want to be a stepparent to her kids but acts like Mr. Wonderful when his kids are around). "Jeff's" dad (my son) being deployed twice (National Guard) and the birth of two half siblings. His mom's marriage is in constant turmoil with either her or her husband walking out and threatening divorce on a regular basis. Also, she let's my grandchilden (there is also a teenage girl) behave one way when the stepdad isn't around but then gets very strict when he is. Is it any wonder that my grandson is acting out? He spends about equal time with his dad but it's pretty stressful there with two little ones and my son's work schedule and daughter in law's schedule. My son wants "Jeff" to live with him full time but the ex-wife is fighting it. (The problems with the ex is a whole other story but I'll just say that I feel she relies too much on her kids for companionship).

    Right now "Jeff" is spending his spring break with me and my husband. He is the sweetest kid and never gives us any trouble. I think he just enjoys being here because of the lack of stress.

    I'm concerned that Jeff is feels like his is "the problem". He doesn't see a behavioral therapist enough for there to be any help. I hate that "Jeff" is being drugged with prozac. I don't think the psychiatric doctor has the full picture of what "Jeff" has been through. I think if he did, he would realize that there are valid reasons for "Jeff" to be acting out.

    I'm sorry if this is a bit rambling. I'm just really scared about what will happen when my grandson hits puberty (and it's not that far away if he is anything like his dad). I want to say something but I worry that I will say the wrong things.

    Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated. I hope I have explained things so it gives a full picture of what my grandson is going through.

    Thanks in advance,

    Gma K
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    GmaKate, I appreciate the fact that you love your grandson. However, you are only seeing one side of him even though he has been staying with you over spring break. Your post could easily have been written by my former mother in law, who accused me of "poisoning the child" when I started my daughter on medications, in addition to all the other horribleness I was responsible for by divorcing her son and remarrying. I can assure you that you do not have the entire picture regarding your grandson, his disorders, his difficulties, his home life, or his issues at school. You don't. And he won't magically "get better" by living with you.

    Having her grandparents involved in her life was very important to my daughter, as I'm sure it is for Jeff. A visit with grandparents should be about fun and relaxation, but that isn't real life. Real life has stressful times. You say Jeff thinks he is the problem. Did he actually say that, or are you projecting your concerns onto him? If you are, he's likely picking up on that. It sounds like you do not like your former daughter in law, and whatever negative things you say about her around Jeff will be noted, and will upset him even if he doesn't show it. Believe me. Been there. With any snide comments or blame you're laying, you're making him feel like he has to choose between Mom, Dad, grandparents...and it's tearing him apart, adding to the stress level. If you're doing this, it will backfire on you. My daughter can barely tolerate being in her grandmother's presence now, and only visits her briefly out of politeness.

    My advice to you would be to learn to work with your son and former daughter in law to do what is best for Jeff. Be supportive, attend his awards ceremonies/ball games, and show him how much you love him. Don't undermine his medical treatment or his relationship with his parents by offering unsolicited advice.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think grandmas are the best and fill a great role in the life of our kids. But I agree with much of what KTMom said...if he lived with you, you would likely see his issues. I'm not saying that some of them are not environmental...frankly, he is surrounded by chaos with both your daughter in law and, yes, your son. I know he couldn't help being deployed, but that was a stress for your grandson. He is being tossed back and forth by both parents and even if he starts only living in one place, his past will stay with him...he will not be that sweet boy that you see right now. He had a chaotic life at a very important time for a developing child and his problems won't just go away if the chaos stops. He will have "daddy" and "mommy" issues probably for many, many years.

    I'm not sure why your grandson is on medication, and I'm not a fan of SSRI anti-depressants or stimulants given together, but again you did not talk to the doctor and, frankly, there is nothing you can do about it. You are not the parent. Either one. Although you may think that the child will be better off just with with your son or with you, he loves his mom, with all her flaws.

    My suggestion is to enjoy Jeff when he visits you, but to keep it at that. It is very unlikely that any judge will give you custody of Jeff over his mother and it doesn't sound like she is interested in giving up custody. The better you get along with you, the bigger a difference you can make with Jeff. "You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar." Granted, it's NOT easy, but it's better for Jeff and for your own health not to be so angry at your daughter in law. You simply have your hands tied. Basically, there is nothing you can do other than be there for Jeff.

    Good luck! :)
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Let me give you a point of view that might help.

    Jett is sweet. He adores my parents. He listens to them.

    Onyxx is an absolute angel when with my parents... But she has beat the snot out of me, done drugs, gotten arrested for theft... But never where my parents see. They only hear about it.

    So, really, you are a constant... And therefore, probably calming to him. But unless he lives with you 24/7, you won't know.

    Hugs... I was once totally anti-medication, too...
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I agree with the advice given by the other members. No matter how much you would like to intervene you just aren't in a position to do so. My husband and I have raised one grandson and provided a home to another for about seven years. It has been costly in many ways. Over the years many, many adult members in this group have shared that the influence of a caring and loving Gma gave them security and life lessons that allowed them to cope with less than ideal parenting. Knowing that they had a haven of support made life bearable and provided life lessons for their future.

    Children have a huge need to believe that their biological parents love them. They are very perceptive and store away the observations that they make about different methods of caring. Alot of parents just plain aren't good at doing the job but the kids cope as best they can because of the bond that exists. Having others giving off vibes of fear or criticism internalizes fears. It is darn near impossible to keep your concerns to yourself (believe me I absolutely know that) enhances the sense of safety that the grandchildren need. Do your best not to give off negative vibes. If you really believe the child is in danger then keep a secret journal that will allow you to document your will help you vent your stress. If there is no active abuse involved then it is in the best interests of the child for you to be a supportive Grandmother than he will know if part of his life. Understanding hugs coming your way. DDD
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The others have valid points. We lived with my parents for a couple of years while my husband was in grad school and even then my parents did not see my son's problems fully. They were horrified and partly furious when we put my son in a psychiatric hospital for 4 months. It took almost half of that time for them to believe that I found him with his hands around my daughter's throat in the middle of the night. The only started to believe that I wasn't "over reacting" to "normal sibling stuff" when I brought home a 2 page, front and back list of all of the atrocities he had done to her in the few months before his stay.

    Even when we lived 13 hours away my parents thought they knew what was going on in our home every day. they didn't believe that if we left difficult child and our daughter in a room long enough to go and use the potty that he would have her bruised and/or bleeding. And I got potty breaks down to under 60 seconds including running up and down a flight of stairs.

    There just isn't any way for you to really see what is going on with him full time. Yes, the chaos has caused problems, and unstable home lives have contributed. What your grandson needs MOST is your unconditional love, reasonable boundaries and for you to support his parents unless behavior is such that CPS would step in and remove him from one home or another.

    right now my folks are in a toughspot with my bro and his daughter and his ex. his ex got a protective order that is based on lies, got a court order saying that bro could only be with his daughter with one of my parents in the same ROOM (not house, ROOM) and then my exsil checked her self into rehab. Supposedly for a 5 day detox, but it has been a month now. Exsil's father lives hours away and is not fit to care for a cat. so my parents are raising her until the courts see that exsil has told her daughter to lie about her dad hitting her (I have my problems with her but he works dang hard to be the best dad he can be and I know for a fact that he wouldn't do what she alleges AND that her teenage kids warned me about how they were raised when she and my bro married.) and many other things.

    They still work super hard to make sure that NO ONE says bad things about exsil in range of niece's hearing - conversations take place outside or while niece is in school. Because your grandkids are half their mom and half their dad. If you say bad htings about one parent, you say them about half of your grandchild.

    It isn't easy, but the best you can do is to be supportive and let him know that you are there and will not drag him into the problems of his parents' marriages.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It took 6 months of my difficult child living with her biodad for him even see a glimpse of what I had seen. Then it all came tumbling down on him. So, yes these kids can be perfect angels with some of their loved ones or even strangers. And I am sure they appreciate that time to be that good kid. But, it takes work for them to hold it together. And they can not work all the time at home to be perfect.

    In my opinion, the best thing you can do is love your grandson like you are and offer to have him stay with you whenever they need him to.
  8. GmaKate

    GmaKate New Member

    Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I forgot to bookmark this site and just recently remembered which email address I used to sign up so I could find it again.. Anyway, while I appreciate the feedback, I think I that maybe what I was asking about wasn't clear. Not to pick on any one person here, but I feel Mary jumped to a lot of conclusions about what she felt was the situation and then some of you repsonded accordingly.

    First off, I am not anti-medication. I've been on antidepressants myself and have gone through the medication merry-go-round with my youngest son. I do worry about young children being given SSRI's and I am surprised that doctors will prescribe them given the warnings that abound about these medications and their use in children.

    Some background on me. I raised three sons - two of whom were very difficult. My oldest son (the father of all of my grandchildren) had ADD and was quite oppositional/defiant. We all went though hell during his teen years but thankfully, he got through it and today is a very hard-working man and a good dad and husband. My middle son had some ADD but overall was not hard to raise. My youngest son (who was adopted) has many issues. He may have some Fetal Alcohol Exposure but that couldn't be verified. Besides having severe learning and communication disabilities, he also has ADHD, Tourette's and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). So, I have been around the block when it comes to seeking out treatments.

    Now, I'd like to address some of the assumptions that were made. When it comes to my ex-daughter in law, I do not dislike her in the slighest. I have known her since she was in her early teens (when she and my son first started dating). I will always love her and care about her no matter what. We email frequently and in fact, she will often ask my advice when it comes to treatments that are being recommended for Jeff. As for saying negative things about her around my grandchildren - that never happens. Yes, she has some issues but I know her background and I realize she has a lot of stuff she still needs to work out. As for her new husband, he is an emotionally abusive man with a violent temper (throws things but I don't believe he has ever hit her) and it saddens me that my grandchildren have to live around this kind of turmoil. I don't ask my grandchildren about their mom's relationship - they bring it up. I try to help them figure out strategies that will maybe make things better for them. (ex. - while Jeff was here we did some role playing so I could try to help him to understand how his response at times can escalate a situation). Jeff tells me that he thinks things are his fault and that he is "stupid" or he will tell me that he can't do anything right.

    I have seen my grandson's outbursts. I visit them frequently and stay at my son's when I do so I know he can be a handful when he gets upset. My main reason for posting the first message was I was feeling (and still do feel) that if the Psychiatrist doesn't have the full picture of what Jeff has been through and the turmoil he is living with currently, he might make ill-informed decisions. That is what I wanted to bring up to my son and ex-daughter in law and I was looking for help in how to approach them.

    I realize that when one is raising a difficult kid, you can easily be put on the defensive. I've been there. I know about the stares and whispers when your kid throws a huge tantrum and says horrible things in public. I know what it's like to have family members ask "Don't you ever spank him"? - as if that's all that is needed to "straighten the kid out". My heart goes out to all of you who are struggling to raise these children. It's a long, hard, exhausting jourrney made all the more difficult because there is often no idea where the journey will take you. I wish for all of you the continued strength needed each day to do what is best for your child.

    Peace - GmaKate
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    Yes, assumptions are sometimes made - especially when you don't have the full story. At one point, my Onyxx got into some questionable trouble and I felt attacked by a member here. That was not the case, but that's how I felt. Until I looked at what I'd said, and how that member took it based on her own experience.

    I assumed you were anti medication due to the fact that you stated:

    Also, you mentioned that the child's mother let the children behave one way when stepdad was not around, and another when he was; and that her marriage was in constant turmoil. I don't see where you stated that you dislike her, but I do see in your comments that you don't particularly like some of her actions. (This, to me, is completely normal...) In many of our cases, where there are step-parents and bios and adoptees - ad infinitum - it is so easy to make a simple, positive or neutral, comment and have it totally misconstrued. If there's something you don't like about xDIL's parenting, we hear that here - but of course, you may not say it in front of "Jeff". I have been admonished - in court - not to say another negative word about my kids' bio, to the kids - when in fact the quote that was being discussed was something she had said to the kids about husband. I understand this. Doesn't mean you did, just that that is what we heard based upon one post.

    In my experience, he's hearing this somewhere. I don't know where - but my Jett has been told he CAN'T and he is NASTY and STUPID and DIRTY and (my personal favorite) a MORON - so much he seems to believe it. Countless times I have heard husband, and I have, worked on removing these ideas. But he's getting them from somewhere we cannot control. Your role-playing with him was (in my uneducated, but parental, opinion) spot-on. (I could use some help with that one, myself.)

    And you're right. In so many cases, spankings just make things worse. (So do verbal outbursts and throwing things - since you do speak with xDIL, maybe you could gently mention that stepfather acting this way really bothers "Jeff"? I don't know. Just a thought.)

    Last... HUGS. Cause we all need them.
  10. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Hi, I have lots of people in difficult child 1's life who all put their two cents in to his doctors. I encourage this because it gives the doctors a better sense of what is going on. Maybe you could get permission from Jeff's parents to talk to Jeff's doctor. The doctor wouldn't be able to give you information without the permission of the parents, but he might be able to listen to your point of view. You might approach xDIL and your son by saying that you have a different perspective because your Grandma and you'd like to help with his treatment because Jeff can be difficult. This would validate their point of something needs to be done and Jeff is difficult while acknowledging your different role and perspective. Even though my mom and I don't agree about treatment sometimes (and sometimes what I do with difficult child 1 worries her sick) difficult child 1 will tell my mom things he wouldn't almost anyone else. I feel that the doctors need her input even though her input doesn't always (most often doesn't) change the decided course of treatment for difficult child 1.
  11. GmaKate

    GmaKate New Member

    Thanks for the feedback. When I wrote my first post, I was feeling so sad and upset about everything that my grandson is dealing with. I really like the idea of approaching my son and xDIL about talking with the doctor. I walk a thin line when it comes to my exDIL. I don't want to say or do anything that might alienate her (for the sake of my grandkids). I don't know if she knows that the kids have shared with me about the situation with the stepdad.

    Seredipity is an interesting thing. This evening I was involved with hosting some doctors who are part of a national group that is working towards real health care reform. One of the docs is a psychiatrist. I got a chance to talk with him a bit about my concerns with the prozac. I will see him again in the morning and he said he would be happy to talk with me some more. It was good to get his opinion. He does feel that sometimes it is necessary to put young kids on SSRI's but that my grandson should also be getting therapy (I found out from my xDIL that Jeff hasn't been in therapy but she just got the OK from the insurance co. to start him up again with a therapist.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A different thought for you - Jeff is doing well at your place, seems stable and not in need of medications. as you said, if only his doctor could know about hat he's been through, it could explain a lot and indicate that therapy and not medications are what is needed.

    BUT - as you said, Jeff HAS been through a lot. And sometimes when we've had more than our fair share of stress to deal with, we benefit from medications. Not because of an underlying medical condition, but because life has just been a bit too challenging lately and a bit of help is needed in order to cope with it all.

    Keep doing what you are doing for him in your home - something is clearly working.

  13. GmaKate

    GmaKate New Member

    You know, Marguerite - what you said makes sense. I went through a period several years ago where all I did was cry. I lost my mother, mother in law & father plus helped my sister through a divorce, made a major move, and dealt with my son's first deployment - all in a 15 month period. I was so buried by grief I couldn't function. So, I went to see a psychiatric doctor and was put on wellbutrin and klonopin. I think it may have save my life. I guess I need to look at the situation with Jeff in a similar way. I will always worry about the SSRI but I realize that it is what is needed at this time. I just hope they will start getting Jeff to weekly sessions with a therapist and not just rely on the medications.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree, more than medications would be a good idea, especially given the things he is saying about himself. He needs work on his self-esteem and on his coping skills. I'm not sure if he is old enough for cognitive behaviour therapy, but it is really valuable.