Dear Savvy Auntie,

Our Nephew has some psychological issues, between ADHD, PTSD and just an all around crazy life living with his grandparents and rotating between Mom and Dad on weekends. My husband and I spent some time with him and noticed that he is learning how to play the rules at each house. He has started to manipulate situations by pretending he is having issues that really don't exist...just to get away with something he's not supposed to do. We started calling him on it and he stopped right away. We tried telling my Mother-In-Law, but I'm not sure that she really "HEARD" us. She feels bad for him and lets him get a way with things because of it. Any advice on how to teach my Mother-In-Law to let go of the "poor grandson" mentality and start laying down the law? Thanks!

ADHD Auntie

Dear ADHD Auntie,

When children (or adults) manipulate it is because their needs are not being met; either because they are not able to show / tell them or because the atmosphere doesn’t allow them to. For your nephew it may very well be both.  As your mother–in-law starts to see improvement in his behavior perhaps she will be more open to adopting your methods. I hope your nephew is receiving professional help. If so, the professional would be the most influential person to advise your mother-in-law. If not, a boy with a dual diagnosis of ADHD and PTSD a difficult  situation and disruptive living arrangements  would benefit greatly as his burden is really heavy.

Good Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield


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