Dear Ask G,
I have a situation with my grandsons. The oldest, 11, left for camp (overnight stays) and will return in one week. However, his younger brother, 10, has never been separated from him overnight and is having an extremely difficult time adjusting. They’ve always shared a bedroom, yet the older brother has been begging his parents for his own space. My daughter has an extra bedroom, they’ve just never felt the need to separate the boys. Apparently, now it’s a problem for the younger one to be without his brother. He cries and mopes around all day. What can be done?
It’s called Sibling Separation Anxiety, except it usually only occurs when an older sibling starts to attend school leaving a sibling at home, often resolving itself when the younger child also begins school. Although, in older children, extreme separation anxiety could be a precursor to a deeper-rooted issue. Ask your daughter to speak with your grandson’s pediatrician about a referral to a specialist who could help on a personal level.
In my research on this topic, however, I came across something called “Sleeptalk…”. It appears to be a type of (at home) self-hypnosis created to boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Over a period of time (6-8 weeks), depending on the child and how diligently the program is followed, separation anxiety can be greatly reduced or eliminated all together. Along with other childhood stress related issues like bed wetting, etc.
As a parent myself, I would suggest that since the younger sibling spent one week by himself already, now would be the time for each boy to have their own room. And since unease is already an issue with the younger grandson, it would be best to leave him in the original space since it’s familiar. This will be the least stressful way for him to adjust.
Also, lots of positive feedback is required for the younger sibling to ‘feel good’ about the new situation. Encourage him to enjoy the change while explaining he has more space for his things, doesn’t have to share a closet, or offer to (help him) paint and decorate the bedroom to his liking. Being involved with the transformation of his new room should help to ease his anxiety and create positive acceptance. With gentle coaxing and constructive feedback, he will hopefully be sleeping soundly in his own room soon.
Dear Ask G,
Why is it when a man puts a ring on a girl’s finger he thinks he owns her? My boyfriend and I got engaged and now he thinks he can tell me what to do and everything! I don’t get it. What do you think?
Not married yet!
Dear Not Married,
Don’t jump out of the pond just yet. Clearly you both need to have a talk and agree on some ground rules for your relationship to move forward, or his desire to suddenly hold on tighter by controlling you will only serve to poison the relationship. I’m sure you’re aware ‘control’ is an issue usually rooted in fear. Fear of what, is exactly the question your man needs to answer. Fear of losing you, being alone, feeling unwanted, or even simply being out of control. Areas you can try to reassure him about and help alleviate some of his anxiety. Hopefully he will be receptive to open and honest communication, without blame or judgement, and offer a real desire to compromise by relinquishing the toxicity which has come between you.
If he refuses to cooperate and return the relationship to a healthy status, then only you can decide to keep him on the line or throw him back and go fishing again. Moving on isn’t what you want to hear, I know. It’s a difficult decision to make and that’s why it shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction since there are so many options to try first. Whether on your own or with a professional, talking about what’s going on is the best place to start.
Hopefully, you two will find the way back to the bliss you enjoyed before the ‘ring’ and wedding bells will be ringing in your future. Best wishes!