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Dr. Catherine Pearlman on

Dear Family Coach: I've been raising my granddaughter for almost 17 years. My daughter wanted very little to do with her. Now she has money coming in, and she wants her daughter to come back. I have legal custody, and I'm afraid that if I let her go back, she will be subjected to an unhealthy environment. They both have mental health issues, my granddaughter's being a result of the treatment from her mother. Should I let her go or tell her to stay with me? -- Confused

Dear Confused: My heart is hurting for you. You are in a precarious position. Surely, you want what's best for your child. But you also want what's best for your grandchild. Those two things might be incongruous.

It's hard for me to answer this question, since I don't know how your daughter is currently functioning. Most children prefer to be with their parents, even if that means having less or dealing with some difficult behaviors. As long as your daughter isn't neglectful, abusive, addicted to drugs or otherwise engaging in behaviors that are dangerous, she might be ready for her daughter to live there. Maybe it has taken 17 years, but she might have obtained the help she needed. It would be wonderful if she could be the mother she should have been a long time ago.

Your granddaughter is 17, almost an adult. It will be very difficult for you to stop her, even if you do have full custody. I'd start by talking to your granddaughter to see how she is feeling. She may not even be interested in moving. If she isn't, help her withstand the pressure from her mother by being the intermediary. Maybe they could spend more time together or even have weekend visitation. Try to see whether there is a compromise that would work for everyone.

If your granddaughter does want to be with her mom, do everything you can to ensure her safety. Check out your daughter's home and community. Find out whether she has a steady job. Is she sober for a significant amount of time? Does she have a support system? Lastly, see whether there are any additional supports that could be put in place, such as therapy, housekeeping or transportation. You may not be able to stop this move, but you can continue to be a positive outlet for your granddaughter moving forward.


Dear Family Coach: My 10-year-old son wanted to play baseball this year. But once the season started, he became very unenthusiastic. One day he was just sitting in the outfield, and the coach had to talk with him. I'm considering pulling him from the team due to his poor attitude. Is that unfair to the team? -- Baseball Dad

Dear Dad: It's a shame your son isn't showing more interest. I wonder whether something happened on the team or in school that prompted this change. Before jumping to conclusions, do a little digging. Ask your son whether he had a bad experience or anything is bothering him. Discuss his behavior, and let him know how difficult it is on the players and coaches when he shows a lack of enthusiasm.

Unless the coach asks you to remove him from the team, you shouldn't pull him. It may put a strain on the other players if one drops out. Your son may also be adversely affected unnecessarily. Motivate him instead by reinforcing his positive behavior on the field. Even if he seems to drag through the season, give him an ice cream after the final game, because he's only 10 and it's just a game.

Dr. Catherine Pearlman is the author of "Ignore It! How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction." To write to Dr. Pearlman, send her an email at To find out more about Dr. Catherine Pearlman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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