Our 18-year-old grandson lives with our divorced daughter. A few years ago, his mother’s attempts to control his wayward behaviour resulted in violent rows, leading to police and social worker involvement.
He went to live with his father, but they are now estranged. We then took him in, but after nine months we couldn’t cope, and he returned to live with his mother after sitting his GCSEs. In the summer, he started an apprenticeship, which he has continued for the past 18 months.
Despite some small, encouraging signs, serious misbehaviour continues. He smokes cannabis regularly, has weapons (replica pellet guns) in the house, is paranoid about keeping doors locked and has equipment – and income – consistent with dealing drugs.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appWe know this situation is wrong, but cannot see a way out of it. None of us feels it is right to throw him out when he has nowhere else to live. We do not want to involve the police for fear of giving him a criminal record. Any attempt to remonstrate or threaten sanctions risks destroying the temporary ceasefire in our daughter’s house, without creating an alternative.
We feel helpless and frustrated, but always end up concluding there is nothing we can do about the situation except bury our heads in the sand again. We would welcome your thoughts and advice.
WORRIED GRANDPARENTS, cheshire
Dear Worried Grandparents
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appI’m not going to deny that this is one of the trickiest letters I’ve received since taking the reins of this page more than a year ago. I’ve thought long and hard about your dilemma, and I believe the sensible thing to do is to break it down into manageable pieces.
Firstly, you talk about “small improvements” and “a temporary ceasefire”. I’m sorry to be blunt but, given everything else you say, I believe that you’re looking at the calm before the storm. Fake weapons, obsession with personal security, unexplained income – these are indeed the hallmarks of a drug dealer.
Your grandson is unlikely to be operating solo, which means he’ll be mixing with (and in competition against) some deeply unsavoury people. This is unlikely to end well; you are on borrowed time. That means hard decisions are needed, now.
Secondly, consider your daughter. Perfectly understandably, you didn’t feel able to keep this lad under your roof; his father has turned his back on him, too. So it’s a single mother who’s left alone to cope. I assume there’s no male figure in her home who could offer her some protection, or present the boy with a law-abiding role model.
Young men who smoke weed or skunk on a regular basis are statistically far more likely to commit violent crime than occasional or non-users. He already has a record of violent rows with his mother: I’d be really worried about this aspect.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThese are my thoughts. But you asked for my advice, too, so here it is. If you carry on burying your heads in the sand, you’ll regret it. Your first duty of care is to your daughter, not your grandson.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appI realise that’s a hard choice to have to make, but it’s been forced on you. You should contact the father and insist on his help in staging an intervention. He, the two of you and your daughter must confront your grandson face-to-face and tell him to leave, then and there. (He’ll find somewhere to stay: he’s got two incomes apart from all else! In any case, I’m sure a friend would put him up.)
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appMake it clear that he cannot return until he’s cleaned up his act. No more weapons. No more weed. No more dealing. If he turns nasty, threaten to call the police if he doesn’t leave immediately.
Some would call that tough love. I’d call it protecting my daughter.