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11/30/14blog post

how can I discipline as a grandparent?

Question

My daughter and her three kids live with me. I always have to step in and discipline the kids because my daughter either doesn’t know what to do or doesn’t care to do it. I want to be the kids’ grandma, not the enforcer. What can I do?

Answer

Nothing will change as long as you take on the role of disciplinarian. When you are ready to give up that job, have a frank conversation with your daughter.

If the issue is your daughter’s lack of knowledge, help her locate a parenting class or work with a therapist to learn child management skills. Your job will be as her coach, advising her on what to do rather than undermining her authority and taking over when things get tough.

It’s a more serious issue if the she really doesn’t care about her children. Unless something changes, you may have to raise these children since there may not be an alternative.

Question

I am a single parent with two kids under the age of five. While I would never abuse them, I often feel exhausted and frustrated, particularly after a long day at work. I feel guilty putting them in daycare, but I think I need that for my own sanity.

Answer

Single parents have an incredibly tough job, particularly if you are both working and raising young children. There is nothing wrong with putting children in a good daycare to give yourself a break and expose your children to educational experiences. You’ll be a better parent if you take good care of yourself.

Question

I need help for my 10 year-old son. He is doing poorly in school, acting mean to me and his little sister, and just seems like a very unhappy little guy. How do I know whether he should see a psychologist or a psychiatrist? Also, will this be part of his medical record and affect him later when he tries to get a job?

Answer

A psychologist is a professional trained in therapy to work with children, and in most states do not prescribe medication. A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the medical management of problems and often prescribes medication. I’d suggest you consult with your family doctor about which specialist is best for your child.

In some cases, a child may see a psychiatrist for medication and then be referred to a psychologist for therapy. In many situations, medications are not necessary.

Please don’t be concerned about your son’s medical records. All therapy sessions are strictly confidential. Those records can only be released with your permission, or with your son’s consent when he is an adult.

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