Re Concerned Gran

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Casual scribe

Re Concerned Gran

Hi I have tried to find a support group on line I have a 13 year old grand daughter who is spending the Christmas Holidays with me I am a young at heart 67 year old gran My grand daughter comes from a very traumatic past - my son died when she was 4 and her mom is bio polar diagnosed very unstable and has emotionally abused her child for the past 9 years. My grand daughter has just been with a panel of medical doctors to try and figure out why she is trying to take her own life and self harming but all agreed there is nothing mentally wrong apart from the emotional abuse and trauma of her fathers suicide. They have also recommended our grand daughter goes to foster care or attends Boarding School as there is no relationship between mother and daughter. My daughter in law does not communicate with us but sends her to us often for week ends and holidays. She has told my grand daughter she doesn't want her. Apart from the odd teenage tantrum she behaves very well when with us. Over the past 2 years my grand daughter has tried to attempt taking her own life and she is often left on her own at home and to top it all her mom drinks a lot. She has been with us now for a week and behaved well till yesterday when I disciplined her for not flushing a toilet and went into a rage! Screamed she is all alone does not have a family and no one loves her? Wrote a suicide note and self harmed in a very suttle way - think she must have googled it at some stage when alone at her moms home - then I left her and later she came and begged me to forgive her as she is always doing the wrong things and asked me not to tell anyone about it- I hugged her and re affirmed our love for her and said on 1 condition it never ever happens again to which she agreed. What do I do now going forward?


Re: Re Concerned Gran

Hi @Love4ever, thanks for finding our forum and sharing that with all of us here. I am sorry to hear about what your family has been going through as it sounds incredibly tough. It also seems like your grand-daughter enjoys spending time with you and is lucky to have you in her life. Self-harm and suicide should be taken seriously and if you are concerned for your grand-daughter's safety, please contact local emergency services. I was also wondering whether child services have been involved in this case? And when you refer to medical doctors, has your grand-daughter seen a psychologist? What do you think of the suggestions made by the medical doctors?


I had to edit some graphic details and self-harm/suicide methods out of your post as it violates our guidelines. The guidelines are to ensure everyone feels safe and is not triggered by anything they read. I also moved your thread to its own area of the forums so that it receives more attention and has its own space. Unfortunately, we are also an Australian based service so I am unable to recommend local services to you but these could be provided by the health professionals you are in contact with Smiley Happy Other members will comment below with their support and experiences. 

Casual scribe

Re: Re Concerned Gran

You sound so lovely and I’m so glad your granddaughter has you in her life. My daughter self harms. I wish I can give you magical words that will make everything ok but I don’t have them. We started using a book that when she feels like she is going to cut she brings me this book full of distractions like exercise, colouring, movies, cooking, heaps of different things and we work thru the book until her need is over. Just becareful that by telling her you love her on the condition she doesn’t cut doesn’t push her over the edge. She may need to cut one day and then after she cuts she feels guilty that she cut and that you won’t love her so it leads to something more serious. Go speak to your gp. Ask them what extra help you can get her. Are you in the position to have her full time? Are you in Australia? There are lots of mental health organisations that could help you.
Super frequent scribe

Re: Re Concerned Gran



I'm so glad you found your way to this online community.  Your granddaughter is so very fortunate to have you in her life as a solid, caring, reliable, concerned, and loving influence.  I am so so sorry that you lost your son--I imagine that you feel this loss acutely all these years later, especially when you know his daughter is struggling to find her way.   Sadly, my daughter self-harms and has participated in risky behavior.  Through this all, my mother/her grandmother has been a constant presence, and my daughter feels her love and support as a positive influence.  It seems your granddaughter feels the same way about you. Your relationship with her is a protective factor for her, and can help mitigate the other risks with which she lives. 


What do you think about the doctors' recommendation about boarding school? What would your granddaughter think about this?  Is this something that is financially possible? Will her mother consent to this?   This, in my opinion, is a potentially good idea, if a therapeutic boarding school is financially possible (is there potential funding?) and her mother consents.   Would your granddaughter experience this as desertion/abandonment, or would she see this as an investment in her future/fresh start?


A boarding school, if chosen correctly, can offer emotional support, skills to deal with her past trauma, academic enrichment and an opportunity for extracurriculars that she might not get at home (it sounds like home is unpredictable and chaotic) within a structured environment. Of course, the school would have to be the right one. 


How did you find out about the doctors' recommendations?  Was someone from the hospital in touch with you?  And, has the hospital arranged outpatient care for your granddaughter (counselling supports etc.)?  Are social workers (either at the hospital or in the community) aware of your granddaughter's situation?  Her home situation seems to be a risky one.   Social workers are connected to various resources and can possibly help you with the question of boarding and/or fostering. 


Is it possible to have your granddaughter live with you on a more full-time basis?  I hesitate to ask you this, and I hope you don't experience that question as pressure.  Indeed, the daily challenges (e.g. the anger that you mention) may mount as she grows into the teens, so this question isn't one that I bring up lightly. 


Is she still attached to a school? Is there a counsellor at the school who is aware of her situation?


I am throwing a lot of questions your way, Love4ever. I hope you revisit this forum soon and keep us posted.


Sending comfort and care your way. 




Casual scribe

Re: Re Concerned Gran

Hi there apologies for the late reply due toFestive time and wanting to spend as much quality time as family together.  Your support and advice meant so much thank you! 

Yes I do agree to the Drs recommendation to go to a good Boarding School facility and they are all in agreement that the Mother is fully responsible for the financial responsibilities going with such a decision as she is employed and have the means of doing so.

I have over the holidays discussed the possibility of going to a boarding school with my grand daughter not saying it will be a definite as we are still awaiting acceptance - at first she was very much against this as she again felt no one loves her and is trying to send her away - but after explaining all the benefits of a fresh start not being exposed to all the emotional abuse and new friends etc she has showed that she is willing to go there but made it clear she would prefer not to have contact with her Mother again.

the Mother is in agreement with this recommendation as she feels her daughter and parental responsibilities is now off her shoulders and she is free to have her social life back.

i have been kept in the loop of all the above and issues mentioned previously by the foster mom with whom I have a very good relationship. I am not able to take my Granddaughter in full time due to work commitments and of course our age.

social workers are involved and they further recommended therapy for my Granddaughter to help her dealing with the anger and rejection.

should she be accepted at this very good school she will be spending time off and school holidays between myself and the foster mother.


One thing we noticed over the holidays is that there are still a lot of anger and rejection that she needs to deal with.  She still feels unloved but knows and thanks us all the time for being there for her and loving her.


to sum it up it does look like the new year will bring about positive changes and hopefully she will undergo the necessary counseling/therapy.


Casual scribe

Re: Re Concerned Gran

Hi so sorry I only respond now as I have been so occupied with the festive season and obviously tried spending all my free time with my Grand daughter -
Thank you so much for your support and advice and I am so happy to let you know the new year has started off which seems like a much more positive note. We have seeked professional help and are in the process of arranging therapy sessions to help her when she feels unloved and rejected.
We are not in Australia - we are in South Africa - we will use all the advice and stay on our knees🙏
I will keep you posted.

Re: Re Concerned Gran

Hi @Love4ever, thanks for taking the time to update us and add some more information to the situation. It sounds like things are working out and have been taken care of. Have you spoken to your grand-daughter about her feelings of anger, rejection and being unloved? Despite not wanting to see her Mum again, I imagine the situation would be difficult and heartbreaking for her nonetheless. It is great that you are seeking professional help for this!