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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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My granddaughter didn't tell her parents that she found her

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My granddaughter didn't tell her parents that she found her Guinea pig dead until that night so she could go ice skating w/ her friends. She said the reason she didn't say anything is because she didn't know how to tell them. She is 13 and lazy around the house but very smart in school. She had to be constantly reminded to take care of her animal. My daughter thinks she has an emotional problem for not telling them sooner. She's a typical teen if you ask me. She mainly thinks only of herself. She's the oldest child of 3 and gets blamed for setting bad examples to her siblings. Mostly back talk & being lazy.....what do you think? Should she see a therapist? She does get frustrated easily when being questioned and gets mad, runs to her room and slams her door. Please advise......
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, I can assist you

Jean N/20pluscounts :

As a therapist I work with many teens

Jean N/20pluscounts :

From what you describe, nothing blatantly tells me she's "disturbed".

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Finding her guinea pig dead is a direct consequence of not feeding or caring for it- that's a natural consequence- she learned something naturally from that.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

By nature most of us tend to learn better the "hard" way.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Unless there were additional symptoms reported, or she's asking for counseling, I don't see the counseling as vital. Her parents, of course, will have to be the judge of that. That her pet died does not make her unstable, mentally ill etc. It means she was irresponsible in her chores. I would imagine she is punishing herself for this one- feeling really bad that she neglected it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

That she didn't tell right away, may simply have been that she was being self centered, didn't want her parents mad at her, and she wanted to go out- priorities of a teen.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

This may be the "best" most effective consequence she can experience. The death of a pet because of her negligence. She may be immature for her age, and not ready or able to care for a bet, yet.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You mentioned she gets mad, runs to her room, slams door... I'd say she's headed in the right direction going to her room when asked, what happens on the way doesn't mean as much, unless, of course she's causing damage slamming her door.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's most important to be consistent with her. If her parents are to the point of frustration with her, short term counseling would not hurt. Or a counselor can reassure her parents she's perfectly normal. Sometimes parents are relieved just to hear that.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Did you want to join the live chat?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Family counseling may assist her parents in the parenting challenges they may be experiencing.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Counseling can be beneficial for teens, simply because of the rapid development they are experiencing, social challenges, self worth ...

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If she were to be taken to a counselor, the first step would be to gather the information, talk to her parents, and her, and give their recommendations.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Did you have any additional questions, or have comments regarding what I wrote?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Being the oldest, she may be feeling some pressure to act a certain way for her siblings- that may be hard on her.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Unless she's cruel to animals I don't think the death of the g pig alone, and not telling, mean she's unstable.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

That she does well in school, tells me she has smarts and good self control.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

As a parent I would see this situation as a "teachable" moment- neglect of her responsibilities resulted in the pet dying.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your granddaughter, maybe talking to her more about what's going on with her, to gather more information. See if she's stressed out, needs additional support. Asking her directly if she's struggling. Home can be overwhelming for a teen, they think differently as their brain develops- that's where the self centered behavior comes from.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It may do her parents more good to sit down with her, allow some time for her to express herself without being lectured, yelled at, etc. Letting her know she is a valued member of the family.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Like all of us, she needs to be validated, hugged, told she's loved etc. Even teens need this- they may say otherwise but they need it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sometimes in family therapy we assign hugs, asking the parents to hug their children more, starting with a certain number a day.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If her mother has an opportunity to spend one on one time with her, to tell her she's good no matter what. Her behavior may not be the best all the time, but she's still good.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I would think she's punishing herself for the death of her pet, and supporting her in the loss may help her too, vs. seeing her as emotionally unstable.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sometimes when we approach teens calmly and cool, they become more responsive to requests made in the home.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If it eases her mother's mind to take her to counseling, it won't hurt- added support and guidance can help either way.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It may be a bit more support for her mom too

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Thank you for joining me. Once you are done typing hit the reply button, and I will see what you have typed.

Customer:

My granddaughter did tell me her mom thinks she shoud be on medications to help her with frustrations and self inflicted stress outs before big projects are due in school. I think she needs more reassurance. Things are improving a little with her behavior but I think she still hides things from her parents because of her fear of being yelled at. I have talked to her and told her she just needs to keep her room clean,not fight with her siblings and don't backtalk and her life would be easier. But typical teen, she doesn't listen.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I think you have it right- the way you describe things- she needs a bit more support, even though she pushes her parents away with her "attitude".

Jean N/20pluscounts :

She may settle down if she feels "listened to".

Customer:

I hope so. We as her grandparents try to show her our love and support and I tell her all the time that I'm her biggest advocate. So she should appreciate me a little more. My daughter is just shocked at her behavior and reminds me that that kind of behavior would never have been tolerated at our house. She's right. I was a single parent and pretty firm with my children but it was balanced with love. My granddaughter is alot like her father in that he is very lazy and doesn't expect alot from his children until my daughter gets upset. They've been to counseling but until he gets on the same page with her, the children will continue to be like this. The younger two are a little better but the first born is spoiled and has her daddy wrapped around her finger. So I just hope that time will work all this out as she matures.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

She's at a tough age- still a kid, but booming into a young lady- lots going on developmentally. A counselor would likely include the parents in the counseling- and may tell them just what I told you- the importance of validation, listening in the home. Yelling, lecturing does little good, just fills the house with more noise. A counselor would likely see it as a family system thing vs. something wrong with your granddaughter. I feel bad for her that her pet died- comforting her might feel good as she deals with the loss. A counselor could also help set up consistency, natural consequences etc. in the home. I'm sure the goal for her mom is for her daughter to cooperate!!

Customer:

Yes. She does have her daughter's best interest at heart. I just want her to realize she's not her and to let her have a little space as a teen.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Parenting is stressful- your daughter may benefit from validation about the challenges we've all had parenting. They don't come with an instruction book!! It's hit and miss sometimes. You sound like a great and loving advocate for her- she will always value that. You can be grandma- that's special.

Customer:

Thanks. I appreciate your help. I just want to help and not hinder the situation or see my granddaughter be put on unneccessary meds. I think she'll get a better attitude as she matures. She really is a good kid (ie: no piercings, tatoos, dyed hair etc) unlike alot of teens you see today. She's been raised with good morals and a good family. I just think that she's trying to find her way in this world.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes they need space to fall, learn, pick them self back up- the best life school. We need to be there to guide, be a consult. She will learn a bigger lessen if she's given the space, the choice, and then asking her "how did that turn out for you?" Of course as parents we have to raine them in sometimes- shorten the leash so to say. I enjoy working with this age group- watching them grow into their own individual, but still need family for support. She needs to hear what she's doing right too.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Thank you for your question today-

Customer:

Thanks. I'll pass this along. And will continue to support them.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Best wishes to you and your family that means the world to you. Happy holidays too!!

Customer:

Happy Holidays to you also.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Thank you!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If you would be so kind to rate my answer ok or higher so I can get credit- much appreciated.

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