Grandma and Grandson Not Speaking?

February 14, 2017

I was sick this Xmas so hubby and kids went for dinner at my mom's without me. My eldest, 19 years old, was not feeling well and has S.A.D. He went upstairs at mother's to sit by himself on his phone. This turned into a confrontation with my mother who is upset with him. I know he should have been more social, but she basically said join in or go home, like why did you come anyway? This just ticked him off as he felt it was an ultimatum and he spent the rest of the visit in our car in underground parking.


I was unaware this happened and my younger son and husband were out walking my mom's dog so weren't there until he was leaving and heard my mom tell him you don't have to leave just join us, he left. They haven't seen or spoken since and last time she came to visit she told me she returned his gifts which upset me and has upset my son further. He feels easily written off for a minor offense. I feel my mother made a mountain out of a molehill and now no one is talking....ugh. I need advice on how to handle this.


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February 15, 20171 found this helpful
Best Answer

How worrisome to have a "feud" going on and feel helpless because you love both involved and know it is not wise to openly side with either person. Maybe both are at fault (in some way) but perhaps analyzing the time (hours, days, weeks) before this "event" happened might help you find a better solution.


When was your son diagnosed with SAD? Has your mother been involved with his treatment/condition? Does she fully understand what this condition is about - or does she maybe think it is "just something doctors tell you"? Have you and your mother openly discussed his condition? How has your son acted when he visited your mother before this incident - were they on very good terms. Were you always present at other visits and maybe "shielded" your son with relation to your mother?
Please do not think for one moment that I am finding fault with yours or their actions or that I am being critical in any way - as that is not the case. I just wondered if something in the past may have "triggered" this happening.

I feel sure you know the longer this "festers" the more difficult it will be to correct. Please, try to have a sit down face to face session with each (individually) and work out the problem. I feel sure neither of them want this to continue.


I feel sure there are pamphlets at his doctor's office that explains SAD but if you need more information right now, here is a doctors web site that may help. Also, there may be readers that are not familiar with what condition SAD really is.

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February 14, 20170 found this helpful

You need to tell your mother that SAD is a real sickness, and your son isn't doing it on purpose. Your son needs treatment, and your mother needs education on how to deal with people who have mental illness.


Since she is healthy and older, she is the one who is going to have to bend a little. Your son can't just "join in" if he is not feeling good. It might have been a huge effort just to go there.

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February 14, 20170 found this helpful

It sounds to me like both your son and grandmother share personality characteristics such as stubbornness which is cool and endearing, that they're so alike, but in moments like this it can be challenging.

I have noticed that a lot of older folks and other sorts of people have no tolerance for what they view as 'designer illnesses' or 'made up mental conditions' and just label everything laziness or bad breeding, no matter what is told to them.

if there were a way to make her understand about SAD, it would help. If she still will not accept the SAD, then I'm not sure what can be done, but also you may want to have some sort of family intervention in that situation.

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February 14, 20170 found this helpful

Give your mom some info on SAD to read up on. Then, see if you can get the 2 to sit down with you and talk. Have him tell her how he feels and what SAD makes him feel like.

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February 15, 20170 found this helpful

I think Grandma over reacted. As long as your son was not being disrespectful she should chill out.

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February 16, 20170 found this helpful

Oh, I'm so sorry that your family is going through this. I read your story and really identified with it. My 17 year old son has been diagnosed with ODD, ADHD (and possibly Autism) and can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster sometimes. I believe that you would have resolved the situation if you had been there but, of course, you were not. You were sick and no one picked up the slack. I have certainly been there!


I think as mothers, we work as peacemakers to smooth out these tense situations because we are so used to modifying our behavior to help our children. As your mother was raised in a different generation, she might not see the need for "coddling" or may just not understand the situation. Honestly, I think the best course of action is to try to reason with your son and see if you can get him to apologize for not backing down. Or at least, show that he appreciates his grandmother in some way.

It's never easy but thank you for being a kind and caring mother. I appreciate it even if your mother and son do not. <3

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February 16, 20170 found this helpful

Your mom is missing a lot of info on your son's condition. By now she should have read up on it. I honestly would not take him there till she has at least called to let you know that she fully understands your concerns. You live with him she does not. So this could very well burden you on both ends. I am dealing with three mental health issues.


My family takes the time to give me space and understand my needs.

Your mom is older and wiser so please give her space and time to learn about your son. Telling him what she did was not very kind or understanding at all. I will be hoping for the best in your situation. I know it truly can't be easy. Take care.

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February 17, 20170 found this helpful

I don't like to be the "odd one out" here, but there is more than one side to every story, so playing Devil's Advocate is sometimes helpful. It isn't clear how your son went about this.

Did he disappear suddenly and grandma didn't know where he was? Or did he excuse himself for not feeling well and ask if there would be a good place he could lie down?

I can see how this seemed to your mother. Look at it from her point of you. Grandson acts moody, claims he's ill (she's maybe not convinced?) disappeared during dinner, and she finds him upstairs playing on his phone, like he was just bored and would rather be doing that than keeping boring old relatives company.

So even though you'll naturally take up for your son, certainly you can see this from your mom's point of view.

Your mother requires insight into your son's condition. She needs to know what S.A.D. is and how it affects your son. It might help to share what you are doing to combat the symptoms.

Your son may also require instruction on how to politely excuse himself from situations. It's possible as a teenager he hasn't yet learned to formally excuse himself to his host.

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