Grandma Is Bad Nanny
Q: My mother recently moved in with my family. We have an apartment downstairs, and we have agreed to let her live there for three years while our kids are still young and my wife goes back to work. The agreement is that she will help with our kids in exchange for room and board. Lately, she has been retreating into her apartment and doesnt make the kids dinner or spend any time with them. My oldest daughter is getting very angry with her, and its causing a lot of tension in our family. Im learning my mom only does what she wants, and its hard for me to see. She also has no money and nowhere to go, so we cant kick her out. How do I create a better system within this family dynamic? -Aaron, 44
Dr. Anna: If you want to create a better family dynamic, you need to sit down and have an open, honest heart-to-heart conversation. Something like, Mom, we need to talk, this isnt going how we expected Ask her questions and try to understand her experience. Caring for young children as an older person may be a much bigger challenge than she was expecting. Give her a chance to open up and be honesttry not to judge. She may feel just as stuck as you do. Try to work together to figure out what changes you can make together to make the situation feel more manageable for everyone.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.