How Do I Handle a Troubled Teenage Granddaughter?


A teenager is going through many changes both physically and emotionally. She is at a stage where she feels a desire to make her own decisions and choices. It can be very difficult for a grandmother to watch her grandaughter making the wrong choices when it comes to friends, clothing and actions. There are some things that a grandmother could do to help her teenage granddaughter through this difficult part of her life.

Create a Relationship

  • Listen to what she has to say. Teenagers are unique individuals who have ideas, feelings and perceptions on the world she lives in. A granddaughter wants the adults in her life to recognize and respect these feelings. Begin by showing a genuine interest in her life, listening as she speaks. Do not offer unsolicited advice. Try to help the granddaughter talk out her issues and come to her own solutions.

  • Show her that her grandmother cares about her. A teenager still needs love although she may put up a tough exterior. Surprise her at school by bringing her a smoothie that's her favorite flavor. Give her a hug when you see she is down. Take note of the changes in her life. Whether it be a new haircut, shoes or boyfriend, let her know you have noticed in a polite, kind way.

  • Pick your fights. A teenager is at the point in her life where she is making decisions in all different areas, including her style of dress, music, friends, hairstyles and values. A grandmother may dislike the choices that her granddaughter makes but she must not show it nor verbalize it. Instead the grandmother should choose things to advise her granddaughter about that are truly important, such as unprotected sex, drugs, smoking etc. The granddaughter will come to think of her grandmother's council as valuable and worthwhile to listen to.

  • Offer her therapy. If the teenager has issues that are beyond a grandmother's ability to help then she must seek other solutions. A psychologist is trained to deal with the many issues with which teenagers struggle. A grandmother who has created a relationship with her granddaughter should lightly suggest that her granddaughter go to the sessions. Do not push the issue. If she agrees to go, be supportive and offer a listening ear whenever she wants to talk about the sessions.


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