Dear Carolyn,

I am a grandfather with a daughter and three grandchildren under 8. My daughter is age 40. My son-in-law is a similar age. They live in another state. There is a schism with my daughter, and I haven’t seen her for about a year. I blame the son-in-law and his manipulation for the schism. Yesterday, I got two emails from the son-in-law. He is asking me for advice on how to handle my daughter. He says she yells excessively at the children and him. Then the next day, when he tries to discuss the yelling with her, she denies the screaming happened. He further says he does not want a divorce. The denials sound like my ex-wife, who, in her head, never did anything wrong. These emails are the first I have heard from my son-in-law in a year also. My ex-wife and I are estranged, which is the way I want it. As far as I know, my daughter does not speak to her mother either. I am a regular reader, and I hope you can help me.


Carolyn Answers,

Yelling is not normal. It is a sign of aggression and anger. It can be a coping mechanism for a stressful situation. Yelling can also be a form of bullying.

It also is harmful to children, so I am sorry the children are in this situation. There is a recent two-year study that compares yelling at children to hitting them. Interestingly, yelling and hitting may be equally harmful to children. Yelling at children can create behavior problems, low self-esteem, insecurity and increased aggression.

Klazomania is compulsive shouting and is a severe medical condition. Compulsive shouting can be associated with drug abuse, alcohol abuse and carbon monoxide poisoning.

You mention the son-in-law is manipulative. It also could be he is setting himself up for primary custody of the children. I note he says nothing about the children to you, such as how the children are doing. Did he send a picture of the children? He is just trying to use you.

The situation you describe is dysfunctional, and the family needs a psychologist and a psychiatrist. I doubt you can assist in the matter.



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