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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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We have a 21 year old grand daughter who up until 9 months

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We have a 21 year old grand daughter who up until 9 months ago was on a great track to be a special ed teacher. She has alway received good grades and was on the high school and college golf teams. 9 months ago she started dating the neighbor who lives next door to her. He is a truck driver, owner operator and is 28. She quit school and says she does not want to be a teacher anymore and spends all of her time with him. She now smokes, drinks and spends her time on the road with him. She has gained over 30 pounds, does not even call her friends anymore and only works 12 hours a weeks in a hair salon as a receptionist. She and her mother and father are into arguing constantly now when she is home, which is rare. She says she wants to go back to school to become an ultrasound tech but we do not see a lot of effort in registering and arranging for the financial aid she will need. Her student loans are triggering and she will need to start paying them if she does not go back to a certain number of hours. She makes her car payments but no rent and we pay her cell phone as part of ours. We lover her and want the best for her, but when her boyfriends father says that she is just his sons little whore, you know this is not the best for her. What can we do to help her?

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your granddaughter is in love with this man who has either convinced her to quit school and be with him or she has decided this on her own. Either way, the relationship she is in has somehow had a pull on her that school and completing her goals have not had.

This may be an obvious question, but has anyone in the family talked with her and asked her why she is doing this? The reason she gives could be a good hint as to what is going on with her and why she made this sudden change. It could also give your family some direction on what to do. For example, if she says she hated school and decided that this was a better choice, then it may be that she found school and the responsibility too difficult but didn't tell anyone. Then when the boyfriend appeared, she found a way out from the pressure.

Since your granddaughter is an adult, you cannot force her to comply with your wishes. I know it is frustrating for the family to not be able to help her that way. But you can do some things to encourage her.

One, try talking with her again, this time as a group. A sort of intervention. You may want to have a therapist involved for this as a mediator. That way, the intervention can go fairly and no one loses their temper or your granddaughter does not feel confronted. Here is a good guide to how to do an intervention: - although this one is for addiction, it can be used in other situations.

Two, you can start allowing her to take responsibility for her bills. Let her pay her own phone bill, rent and student loan when it comes due. This way, she understands that her lifestyle is not going to support her needs in life. It may help her see that she needs to do more to take care of herself. And if she fails to pay her bills, she will be held responsible. Which is a good lesson for her to learn.

Three, make an attempt to get to know her new boyfriend. This may not be easy, but if you try accepting her choices (while still allowing her to be responsible for them) then she may be more willing to see things your way as well.

Family counseling may also help all of you find ways to cope with her behavior and give you someone to turn to to help you deal with the stress of her lifestyle choices. To find a therapist, ask your doctor for a referral. Or you can speak to your pastor if you attend church. You can also search on line at

Let me know if I can help any further,


I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I did talk to her, since I am the grandpa that everyone says she respects. She told me that she quit school because she realized that for the pay, she was not going to enjoy all of the paperwork and admin duties that went with the job. She feels that she can do much better as a sonographer and I would not and did not disagree. What concerns me is her new found habits that mimic her boyfriend smoking (with Asthma), 30 pound weight gain for someone who used to go to t he gym 4 times per week, her drinking, and now her use of profanity on her parents. These are all new since the new boyfriend and it mimics him. She seems to have taken a real hit on her self esteem and is now his errand girl. Her parents tried to stop her from picking him up at a truck stop by herself at 12 midnight last night. When I asked her what she wanted she said she wants to finish an education so she can get a decent paying job, she wants to get married and have children and thinks that her boyfriend is a likely candidate, even though he says he does not want to get married, but he has never felt this way about any other girl ( typical line). Any other suggestions?

Thank you for the additional information. It helps.

It sounds like you and her parents are in good communication with her. She knows you are there for her and that if she needs you, she can count on you. And she did say she does have goals which means she is thinking of the future, a very good sign.

This may be a form of rebellion on her part. If she has never engaged in this type of behavior before, then she may have seen it as a chance to do something she has never done. Sometimes young adults make bad choices before they become responsible adults and settle down. But you also mentioned her self esteem, which makes me wonder if she has always doubted her ability to succeed. If so, she may feel that being treated badly is ok. If you feel that is the case, I would highly recommend counseling and the intervention, at the recommendation of the therapist she sees. Getting to the root of this problem is important if it is going to be resolved. See if she is willing to go. If not, the family should see someone so you can get guidance and help encourage her to join you.


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