Posted by: Helpless | 2009/08/10

how to help married daughter

Hi Doc, My 21 yr old daughter lives next door to me. She is married and has two kids, a toddler and 10 month baby. She and her husband have had a rocky relationship from the beginning but things are better as they seem to be handling things better, though not always. Her husband and us (ie my husband and I) are worried about the way my daughter is with her 4 yr old toddler. She is always scolding her for just about everything. She has issues such as the house has to be spotless at all times, nothing out of place. The kids are not allowed to play with toys else it will mess up the place. They can play 3 mins and then she packs things away. We cannot talk to her, she gets upset. She is angry most of the time. Yes, she has stresses in her life, but some she creates herself.

What do we do? Please help. Thanks.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sounds indeed as though your daughter may have personal problems, potentially including low self-esteem and obsessiveness about "cleanliness: etc --- it is obviously unreasonable to expect a 4 year-old to keep everything tidy. And excessive demands for tidyness can arise, for instance in someone who feels unable to control other important aspects of their life, and who choses to focus instead on excessive control of unimportant aspects more easily determined.
She needs to see a shrink for assessment and treatment advice, and would probably respond well to CBT style counselling, with perhaps later some sessions of marriage counselling to sort out the main relationship.
CTMom raises other important issues. PND is indeed a posibility ( Post Natal depression ) and should be identified and treated, and some personal pampering might help -- if she is able to allow it to happen, and if she doesn't reject it as unnecessary or messy.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Kay in Gtown | 2009/08/11

Hi Helpless
I just want to add that you can be a very positive force in your grandchild' s life and this can mitigate against what the child is experiencing at home. If she is allowed to have a little " messy space"  with you, for as long as she wants to play and only then a clean-up, feels that she is accepted for who she is, and that she has a right to take up space, she will always remember the person who was on " her side"  and gave her patient love. As long as there is even just one person in that child' s life who lets her be what she is and loves her for that, when mom can' t, she won' t be as psychologically hurt.

(My mom has taken this role this for my brother' s children, as a bad divorce and current ' cold fish'  wife who also can' t stand a spot anywhere, have taken their toll on the boys. )

Until she becomes amenable to facing how she is being, this is something you can do.

Reply to Kay in Gtown
Posted by: CTMOM | 2009/08/11

I was the same when I was not getting enough sleep and was basically just overtired and depressed and severally agitated. I was in a happy marriage, well behaved kids, I had a maid. So I have NO reason to feel like that but I did.

Has she been " tested"  for the baby blues? Its doesnt always hit just as babies are born, but can manifest months later.

I would say, give her a day or 2 off - let her go have a pedicure, a massage, watch a movie. Give her some HER time. Let the hubby clean up too to take some pressure off her.

Get the kids to play with 1 toy at a time, less mess which hopefully will stop her from taking them away so quickly.

Reply to CTMOM

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