Why won't my daughter let me see my grandchild?

I was invited to speak at a meeting of a support group for grandparents who do not see their grandchildren (and who are desperately sad about it).

I began to ponder about the reasons this unfortunate thing occurs fairly often. How do relationships with sons, daughters and their partners break down to the extent where they do not permit their parents to see their grandchildren. The main story I was hearing was that all was well before a child was born, then suddenly the grandparents were pushed away by the new mother.

The new mother may doubt her own ability to cope at first with such a tiny new being and is afraid of being undermined.

One of the reasons can be that the new mother needs to feel she can look after the baby in her own way and not feel her every move is being watched by a well-meaning but over enthusiastic grandmother. She may not feel able to stand up for herself when she is so vulnerable. The new mother may doubt her own ability to cope at first with such a tiny new being and is afraid of being undermined. She needs her partner to support her and stop their families becoming more involved than she is ready for at this early stage. A woman who is not very secure in herself will need to know her partner’s first loyalty is to herself. If her partner is unable to look after her and reassure her, she may well push the family away.

Another reason is in the case of divorce, sometimes the in laws are placed in the enemy camp by default and if they do not make a huge effort to stay in touch with the other parent, they may well lose the grandchildren even when they have done nothing to warrant this.

It is important for grandparents to consider that their expectations of what they want of a relationship with their grandchildren and indeed their children, may not be the same as the expectations and needs of their children and their partners. Grandparents should reflect  on how they felt when they had their children and whether they got what they wanted (or did not want) from their parents and in-laws.

A few other things to think about if grandparents find themselves in this situation are:

  • Does the new mother actually want our support?
  • How differently things are done since my children were babies. Do the new parents want my advice?
  • Can we see our grandchildren if we apologize for whatever misunderstandings that may have occurred.
  • Could we take entire responsibility for the breakdown in relations whether or not we feel we are to blame?
  • Can we examine our own behaviour honestly without looking at what the other parties have said or done?  

What, after all is the use of being on a high horse at the cost of losing your grandchildren?

 

I have issues in the bedroom, can you help?

I completed a training in Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy in 2011 and have been working with clients who have sexual difficulties since then.

The following are fictional examples of what you might want to discuss, how we might work together, and what the outcome could be: 

A Man

A man in his early 30’s is looking for a girlfriend, he has little sexual experience, has experienced loss of erection prior to and during penetrative sex.

I suggest an exercise for him to do at home called stop start, which is done with masturbation. This helps the client to realise that if he loses his erection, he can easily get it going again. This enables him to become more confident and less anxious about losing it.

He practises the exercise at home throughout the duration of our talking therapy sessions.

We explore his adolescent experiences and his parents’ attitudes towards anything sexual.  He identifies a couple of experiences which had created some anxiety about being a sexually assertive man. We continue to work together whist he finds himself a girlfriend and before long he is confidently having good sexual experiences with her. He rarely loses his erection but if he does, it does not worry him anymore,  and between them his erection can be revived without difficulty.

A Couple          

A couple are planning to get married, the man is a clever and successful business man. However, in his intimate relationship he is far less confident. The woman is also a high flyer who is confident and more sexually experienced. Together I guide them through a fair amount of analytic work on their histories and we explore how their relationship works. Although she appears very confident and relaxed, underneath we find that she is quite anxious and controlling. He finds her very controlling and is a little scared of her.

 When we unpick the dynamic in their relationship, he finds he could be more penetrative in and out of bed and they were much happier as a result.

How does it work?

We start with an initial consultation to see how we get on, and if we would like to work together, so that I can assess your needs for future sessions. We try to meet at a regular time each week.

As an integrative psychotherapist I work both cognitively and psychoanalytically, which for couples can mean working on your communication skills and behaviour patterns. We explore your history of couple relationships, and your relationships with your primary carers and family.

Similarly, in individual personal counselling and psychotherapy, together we explore your family history, your influences and the possible sources of your distress. We may also use behavioural techniques to work on assertiveness, self-esteem, anger management and anxiety.