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I need some help and advise from some of you young mothers or grandmothers raising their grandchildren - or anyone that can help. None of you know me personally so any advise will be unbiased so please share freely. Here is the situation:
I am currently getting legal custody of my 12 year old grandaughter. She is the daughter of my 32 year old daughter. I also have a 30 year old son who has no children.
My daughter - Amy - has had drinking problems and is currently living with a man. Neither are saved. She lived in Catawba County all these years. In April 2011 Amy and her boyfriend moved to Mocksville, North Carolina - about 1 hour from me. Courtney wanted to go with her mother but Amy wanted to leave her here with me and my husband until Amy got help with her drinking and got better. I begged her to take her daughter because I know Courtney could get used to another lifestyle and may not want to go back. But Amy insisted. Amy is still not better today. Courtney make it clear she did not want to live with her mother - and she wanted me to get legal custody. So that is happening this week with the lawyer.
My problem is that I haven't raised children since my children were small - 80's and 90's. As you all know things have changed and technology has increased. Courtney is a straight A student, popular in school, goes to church with me, is saved and so am I, basically good but still a normal child. We have one bathroom. After taking a shower each night she straightens her hair so she is in bathroom about an hour. But she also is in bathroom about 45 minutes each morning doing her hair. I have very few rules for her. She is to clean bathroom of her personal items before leaving. I constantly remind her of that. I got her a new cellphone so I can stay in contact. I got her an android like she wanted. She is constantly on the phone checking it - 1st thing of a morning and last thing before going to bed. I have to remind her to clean her room every day. I let her go to skateland and have friends over. If I tell her about things she hasn't done - she says I am fussing. Then my husband wants me to give in to her because he doesn't like fussing - neither do I, But when she isn't around he fusses about the things she does. BTW my husband is not saved.
Basically are all parents giving into their children like this? Am I mean to cut back on her and give her more responsibilities? She wants to join gymnastics too. Also I will be 53 in October and am on disability because of 3 neck surgeries and I am in constant pain. Courtney knows this but still wants me to keep on going and going. But she will come home and lay on couch and say she is tired.
I love my grandaughter dearly but I don't want my marriage broken up over this also. I need help and advise - please.
Thank you so much
A concerned grandmother
Also please everyone add my husband - Tommy - to your prayer list for salvation.
It is sad that Tommy doesn't know the Lord. What you are going through is common these days. It seems that the youth of today don't have respect for their elders. Basically teenagers (yes she is only 12 now) and many young people have the me attitude. They have been raised by their friends, TV, games, Androids and the like. The world has taught them well. Most people don't understand pain unless they are going through this. Raising another child at this point in your life is going to be challenging to say the least.Two hours of bathroom time is not acceptable with three people sharing. Sounds to me like it would be better for you if someone else keep and raise her but that may not be an option. Set up a grooming area in her room. I did this for one of my step daughters. A small table, chair, lights and mirror. Tell her to her to take her shower but use her make-up area for primping. Again people cannot conceive what you are going through especially a 12 year old. I will pray for the three of you. Post your request with the pray request group on this site also. James
Thank you James for your advise. And no - someone else raising her is not an option. And Courtney stated she wanted to live with me. You have some very good ideas I am gonna try. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you for your prayers also ande I will post my prayer request on the site. Thank you for your time listening and sharing. Donna
Hi Donna, I might be able to help you a bit with some of your issues. I'm a Mom of a 16 yr old and I am 52. Yes I had him when I was 36. He is the youngest of 3 sons, my other 2 sons are 29 and 27 so this is quite a job for me also as you can see. Besides this I am also married to a non believer and yes it is quite a challenge when it comes to discipline in our home. Fortunately for me my husband is very supportive of my Christianity although he has yet to make the decision to let Jesus into his life (on a short note, please check out the book I posted in Cary's book group, it is called When he doesn't believe).
How I deal with everyday life with a teenager is that I never make the same mistakes I made with my older children (and I made many). Nolan will never be anywhere that I do not know where he is. He is to call me if he even walks to the corner store when he is with his friends and he is not embarrassed to do this because he knows how much I love him and he respects me and my wishes. He also knows that if he disobeys he will be reprimanded accordingly. I use the Bible as my guide, this is not something I did with my older sons. Nolan does have a cell phone but it is not a expensive one, if he wants one of those he can earn the money himself and buy it. He gets 200 minutes a month and if he goes over he goes without. Children in today's society have to be taught the value of a dollar. All of this is done with kindness and respect for Nolan. I have found that when we respect our children and really listen to them, you'll get a much more kinder and respectful child back. Yes we still have issues but we are able to resolve them usually with out harsh conflict. As for your bathroom time, sorry but with 3 sons that has just not ever been a issue for me. Except maybe getting them to put the seat down :o)
If you would like to chat sometime a little more about a non believing husband just send me a message. I will send you a friend request if I already have not.
Thank you so much for listening and sharing. I was not saved when I raised my 2 children so I am trying to not make same mistakes also. I am trying to resolve issues with out arguing. It is nice to know I am not alone. I am not sure if you are my friend because I haven't been a member long. Can you send a friend request? I would like to chat more about being married to an unbeliever. Also I will definitely check out your book. Thank you again so much and I will pray for your husband also. I hope to talk or chat soon. Donna
You are not mean at all. you are the parent (all be it a sort of surrogate one) and it is part of your role to provide discipline. It should be made clear that she is not in charge. Obviously she is old enough to have rational discussion (to a point), so sid down with her, explain the problem. explain how it makes you feel, propose a solution, such as curtailing the cell phone maybe, and give her a chance to propose an alternate solution. I.E. You "How are we going to solve this problem?" Her: proposes what you should do if she fails to obey" You: "And what do we do if that doesn't work?"... etc..
I have a 3 and 4 year old, and certainly don't have all the answers, but I've found that keeping the kids in obedience makes them happier in the long run than "giving in" to their every desire. There desires are for the most part of the flesh and will never be satisfied, when they get what they want, then they want the next thing, and it never ends. We all are like that to varying degrees. But if we can learn to be content, and greatfull for the things we do have, and not be concerned with the things we want to obtain we are far happier. (I'm getting off track and preaching, sorry)
bottom line: I would propose taking away the phone for a day each time the bathroom issue is left unresolved, but let her make a counter proposal, and if that make sense, then do that, but be clear that if her way doesn't work, it will be back to your way, as you are the authority.
Donna, I raised 2 boys by myself and I can tell of one mistake that I and many other people are making and that is to give in to the child! When we give in it sets a president to the child. They think if I throw a fit or whatever behavior they do I get my way. It may be more work now but the child will be better in the end. Never punish a child when you are angry. Come up with a consequence and STICK TO IT! The punishment should be something realistic. One you can support. In the Bible God illustrates over and over the IF THAN. If you do this than I will do this. It is hard to take on another's child even our grandchildren. You must pray and ask Father what to do. Can you live with the consequence of not taking care of her? This is a tough one! Love, James
Thank you for your advise. No...I cannot live with the consequence of taking care of her. Her mother abandoned her and now wants her back - and Courtney cries at the thought of it. At my age I should be enjoying my grandchildren and then sending them back - not having to raise them and discipline them. And you are right - if I am really angry-I just walk away. I don't argue or punish. And the punishment I am gonna start using is her cellphone. I think she is glued to it.
Thank you so much for remembering me. Have a great evening.
Love in Christ
Donna, I believe that James, Wendy and John have given you some awesome advice as to caring for your granddaughter. I know it has to be a monumental task for you, but I believe that a good Biblical upbringing is the best thing for her. She needs stability in a christian home above all, and you are providing that. I know that it will be trying for you but the reward will be worth the trouble. I don't envy you or your situation, but I will be praying for you and your family.
Donna, Of course we will pray for you, Tommy & Courtney. It is challenging to raise kids in today's world. TV, the internet, and cell phones constantly fed garbage to them (and anyone else who wants it). Kid's are under tremendous pressure to fit in. They will see what everyone else is doing and want to follow along. I thought that by moving on top of a mountain I could keep my kids away from the world. Didn't happen. Today's world seems so lost to me. My advice I guess is to try and get Courtney into a church group. At least there they may, and I mean may, get exposed to the truth about what life is about. I figure this life is a testing ground. God allows us to be challenged with, sickness, death, making right choices. He is testing our medal. Well I probably said too much but I want to encourage you. Of course your daughter should be raising her child. Maybe you should tell them that you are sorry but at this stage of your life with your health issues that she must be with her Mom. Adoption is probably not a good idea (my opinion) Her mom should be told that you can help out for a period of time while she gets her act together (if that is even possible) Love, James