Worried About My 20-Year-Old Grandson

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My grandsons personality has changed in every way in last two years. he used to be loving, & caring, now he is unsociable, & uncaring. He has no remorse. He seems to be real caring when things are going the way he wants them to. Spaced out and distend when he is just sitting around. If anyone tries to talk to him he dosn’t let them finsh he already knows the answer. He is depressed. I have tried to get help for him, but he is twenty so he has to agree befor I can make make an appointment to see a doctor. Now the big problem is Feb 1 my little dog is missing. I’m very upset about is. My grandson said, to me it is just a dog get another one. Two week later his mothers dog is dead. He said he just fell over dead. he was the only one home. Again he said it is just a dog, what is the big deal.

then a week later his mothers other dog is dead, again he is the only one home. And says he dosn’t know what happened she was just dead. Then three weeks later another dog of mine is missing. He said that the dog was in the back yard when he left.He dosn’t show any kind of concern at all. The only thing he can say about any of them is they are just a dog go get another. I would like some advice PLEASE HELP! Thank you, Waters.

A. Dear Waters, I understand your concern. This is a troubling and complicated situation. There are two main reasons why your grandson’s personality may have changed. The first is the development of a mental health disorder. If you and I were meeting in a traditional counseling setting, I could gather many more details and offer an opinion about a possible diagnosis. I currently do not have enough information to know what, if any, diagnosis he may have.

The second possibility is that he is using drugs. The use of drugs can drastically alter an individual’s personality and behavior. I would recommend searching the home for drug paraphernalia.

If possible, you should take the deceased dogs to a veterinarian. The veterinarian may be able to determine a cause of death. Knowing the cause of death could help you determine if your grandson is to blame. This would be very important information. In addition, until you can determine the cause of the missing and deceased dogs, you should not bring any more animals into the home. It is not be fair to bring animals into a home where they may be killed.

His behavioral changes are becoming a very serious problem for you and others living in the home. In addition, his lack of compassion for the missing and deceased dogs is very disconcerting. Coupled with his change in personality, these two traits are major red flags. Having him in the home may be dangerous.

As you said in your letter, you cannot force someone to get help if they don’t want it. If your grandson refuses help, then this may require action on your part. You may need to confront your grandson about his behavior but before you do, you may want to consult a therapist. A therapist could help you determine the best way to approach your grandson.

You may also need to contact the local authorities. If your grandson is killing animals in your home, then there is a chance he may kill other animals in the neighborhood. Animal cruelty is a punishable offense. Individuals can and have gone to jail for such a crime. Animal cruelty is also a sign of an individual who is deeply disturbed. I understand that you may not want to call the authorities to report your grandson but it may be the only way to stop his disturbing behavior.

I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Mar 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Worried About My 20-Year-Old Grandson. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/03/28/worried-about-my-20-year-old-grandson/