Gemma wrote: I’m Grandma to two beautiful teenage girls. I’m writing because I just don’t know what to do. The youngest, Sonya, told me that her older sister has a boy over to the house most afternoons while their single mom is at work, but Sonya won’t tell her mom for fear her sister will hate her. I’ve tried talking with my daughter (their mom) about it, but she tells me that Sonya is only trying to stir up trouble, and that Erin is completely trustworthy. My daughter doesn’t believe–or doesn’t want to believe–that what Sonya says is true. Something tells me it is true, though. But what can I do? I live in Northern Wisconsin and they live in Kentucky. I feel helpless, but there’s a chance I’m wrong. Should I let it go?
Well, first of all, thank you so much for writing. I don’t recall ever having a grandma write in before–and I think it’s fantastic that you’re reaching out for help with your teenage granddaughters even though you’re several states away from them.
Many people would say this is none of your business. Others would tell you that no matter what, it’s not going to change anything because Erin will find another way to sneak around if she’s motivated. They’d probably be cynical that your daughter will ever be able to deal with the situation since she’s having trouble with this one.
I can see those points, actually. I mean, you can do everything you can, but ultimately it’s going to be up to your daughter to guide her girls toward wise decisions. However, I don’t think it’s time to give up on her, yet. She’s a tired single mama and needs a wake-up call.
Is there any chance you could move there? I’m sure you’ve thought about that and I sure don’t want to place and guilt or sense of obligation on you–this isn’t your fault. But if you were in a position to move to a nearby location so you could step in and offer more support to your daughter and more time for your granddaughters–meaning less time they have home alone, that would be ideal. But, assuming that’s not a possibility, I have five steps for you to take, and this is what I would do if I were in your very difficult position:
1. PRAY. Pray for wisdom and guidance for yourself and for an open mind for your daughter. Also, obviously, pray for safety for your girls.
2. Reach out to your daughter again. Try emailing or calling her at work. With the possibility that someone else may be nearby to overhear, she might talk less and listen more.
3. Talk to the Erin. Let her know that you know what’s been going on.
4. Pick up a copy of my Hot Buttons Dating Edition and work through the Strategic Scenarios with both Erin and Sonya on the phone.
5. If all else fails, it may be time for a surprise visit to Kentucky, timing your arrival at approximately 4pm on a Tuesday.
This is a serious time in these women’s lives. Your daughter needs help–she’s swimming upstream and doesn’t even know it. Erin is headed down a dangerous and painful road if she isn’t re-routed in a hurry. And Sonya is getting bad examples thrown at her from every direction.
You’re right to want to do something, Grandma!
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:13, ESV)