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Disagreements and rivalries between siblings is normal, however, yes there can be a point where it has gone too far or gotten out of control. Unfortunately, if the children are living with their parents, it will be essential to get their involvement and cooperation.
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Very important to this situation is the environment that you grandchildren grow up in. Do they constantly see Mom and Dad arguing? Punishments can be affective, but only if they "fit the crime" and a system of rewards is put in place to reward positive behavior as well. Both parents need to enforce good behavior, you can be a good person to reinforce it as their grandparent, however, ultimately, the discipline of your grandchildren lay in the hands of their parents. Which ever parent you are the parent of, I suggest that you arrange a serious talk with them; If you have positive examples of how you raised your children to pull from, then use those experiences as examples. Encourage your child to get the other parent on the same page, and especially before Ethan or Ella reach their rebellious teenage years (which Ethan is close). The idea is that they need to set rules about behavior, including the interaction that the children have with one another; yelling, hitting, disrespectful talk to a sibling should all have consequences, and positive actions toward one another should have rewards. Encourage the parents to put a system in place and follow through with it. This is just an opening response; please let me know what you think, and any other input you may have. Thanks.
Thank you for your response. I find your ideas very helpful. One of the problems I see regarding Ethan and Ella has to do with their parents and the maternal and paternal grandparents. My son is remarried. The children's mother is preparing to remarry. The children seem to be all over the place. They primarily live with their mom. My son (dad) speaks to them every day and has visitation every other week during the school year. Ethan and Ella go to their maternal grandparent's home each day after school. My husband and I see the children a couple of times each month. Basically, the children seem to be all over the place.
Would counseling/therapy be helpful, or am I making too much of this?
I don't think that you are making too much of this, you are a concerned grandparent and that is understood. I don't think that it would hurt to get input from the children's physician on whether or not he/she thinks that counseling would be necessary. What I do think, however is that your son and his wife could benefit from parenting classes, or even to be involved with the children in family therapy sessions. Children (and people ultimately) are products of their own environment; if those who control their environment aren't doing what needs to be done to teach and discipline them, it will be noticeable in the actions of the children. How do you think your son and his wife may take to the suggestion of parenting classes or family therapy sessions?