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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5237
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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My grandson is 7 years old, His absent father (sperm doner)

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My grandson is 7 years old, His absent father (sperm doner) has now after all this time and no child support or contact, decided to get in touch with the my daughter. He wants to move back from New York to Florida and is trying to make his way int my grandson's life. My daughter married another man and has been seperated from him for the last year. My grandson lives we my husband and I (maternal grandparents) and has sicne the day he was born. My daughter is giving him information about the sperm donor and having him talk on the phone with him. My gransdon seems to be distraught by this. He cannot concentrate on his school work, his sports even video games and homework. What should I do about the obvious confusion that my grandson is feeling? Is there an approach I can take with him that might make it easier for him to talk about how he feels?
Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say that your grandson is very blessed to have you two in his life. I mean that for the years you've taken care of him and I also mean that for the sensitivity and concern that you are showing in this situation.

There are a number of considerations here. And there are a lot of volatile feelings besides your grandson's obviously volatile feelings. One consideration is the legal consideration. If you have legal custody, and you determine that the father's contact is not beneficial, then you need to contact your attorney and have a court injunction against the father contacting him placed into effect. If the mother has custody and you are caretaking on her behalf, then it is more cloudy. It sounds as though she wants to give the father the opportunity to have this relationship with the son.

But, no matter the legal situation, you may also decide that now that the genie is out of the bottle, it's too late to go back and you need to move forward in how to normalize this situation for your grandson. Because that's what you're really asking me: how do we make this situation now be normal for him so he can function normally again?

And in other circumstances I might answer by giving you some books to get to use to work on naming his feelings and normalizing them, on how to identify his worries and fears and how to reassure him, and things like that. But here, there is so much confusion with mom already not being his caretaker and the whole mother/father roles being so confusing for him. And clinching it for me is the extent of his acting out his anxiety, confusion, and fear. That is most likely the source of his anger. And this is in association with the beginning signs of social withdrawal and some age regression.

Therefore, I'm not thinking in terms of self-help in this situation. It's too overwhelming and severe. I would very much like you to take him to a child psychologist and have the psychologist work with him on normalizing this situation and guiding you on how to proceed as the situation develops. Because there may be twists and turns and you need that relationship already in place.

When you choose a child psychologist, interview the psychologist first. Look at his/her office. If there is an area of the office where a child would enjoy playing, that is a good sign that he/she is experienced at working with children. Get a couple of referrals from your grandson's pediatrician. Ask him/her who he would send his child to. So if he doesn't know, ask him to ask among his colleagues. And again, you need to feel like the psychologist is experienced and you are comfortable with him/her. You don't have to accept the first one.

Okay. I wish you the best!

When you choose a child psychologist, interview the psychologist first. Look at his/her office. If there is an area of the office where a child would enjoy playing, that is a good sign that he/she is experienced at working with children.




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