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Co-Parenting: When Grandparents Turn Violent

Sometimes after a divorce or separation, one parent moves in with their own parents. What happens when grandparents become violent while disciplining their grandchildren?

Let’s take a look at an example:

Joe lives with his parents. Jayden (12), William (9), Tessa (8) and Mark (5) visit his father. Mark, pee in a vase. The older children report the behavior to Joe and his grandfather. His grandfather becomes furious and aggressively approaches Mark. Jayden and William think that he will hurt his little brother. William stands between his grandfather and Mark. His grandfather slaps him across the face. Seeing this, Jayden tries to get her grandfather away from her 2 younger brothers. Her grandfather turns and punches him in the eye. Grandpa tells everyone to get out of his house. Mark, who is only 5 years old, is not moving fast enough, so his grandfather grabs him by the throat (cutting off his oxygen), picks him up and carries him to the vehicle and throws him inside.

After arriving at Sarah’s house, the children hysterically report what happened. She ends the visit with Joe early, takes the children inside, and calls the police. The police take statements from everyone involved and conclude that the incident does not qualify as assault or child abuse under the laws of your state. And now that?

It becomes a parenting issue.

After emotional levels have been lowered, the children have been reassured that they are safe, and it has been determined that the children will not return to the grandparents’ house to visit, it is now time for Sarah to step back and assess the situation. by hand.

Let’s start with the conclusions the children have come to from this decision-making incident.

1. His grandfather is mean.
2. His grandfather is violent.
3. If they want to be like their grandfather, they must be violent.
4. Their grandfather says he loves them, so love equals violence.
5. The only way to solve a problem is through violence.
6. Their father approves of this violence because he did not protect them.
7. It is okay for family members to hurt you.
8. The police do not protect them.
9. They are helpless and powerless.
10. They are not people.

All these conclusions form what is called a decision formation incident. A decision-making incident is a specific moment in which we experience pain, loss, or unconsciousness, or the threat of one of those three things. In these moments, we are thrown into fear where our logical mind shuts down and we make various decisions about ourselves, life and others. We fully believe these fear-based thoughts to be true and begin to develop a limiting belief system.

What can Sara do to help her children?

Responsive listening is key

When everything is calm, Sarah uses her receptive listening skills. This helps her listen to what the children are feeling and understand her fears. That’s when she can really start to address her emotions about the situation. If you spend more time asking questions than listening, children will stop talking. Sometimes, just by listening to children express their problems and feelings, children will come to their own conclusions about how to handle situations when they arise. This not only empowers them for future incidents, but also helps them climb the ladder to become self-actualized people. It helps them know that they are people, have a voice and deserve to be heard; their feelings and fears are valid and someone loves them enough to really listen to what they say. She demonstrates one of the true meanings of love.

Helping children who have witnessed or experienced abuse is not an overnight process. It takes a long time to teach children the skills they need to become empowered individuals with high self-esteem and self-worth. This is just the first step in Sarah’s journey with her children.

Next week: Empowerment: Helping children empower themselves after abuse

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