I am a grandma who loves her granddaughter immensely. She moved out of her mother's house because they didn't get a long and she was emotionally abusive to her.

I took her in and I didn't mind it because I felt bad for her. She's 20 now and moved in with me around 17/18 years. The first 6 months to a year were fine but I was noticing the behaviors that probably made her mom upset. She is very lazy and doesn't help around the house. I ask her to unload the dishwasher and while she does it takes her a while to get to it. She does have ADHD and stopped taking medications years ago because they made her anxious and sick. So, her memory isn't the best. Possibly anxiety or some other mental problems. She has told me she doesn't mind helping around the house it's just she's not used to it because her parents did everything for her. Also she feels in the way and anxious so that's another reason why she doesn't pitch in.

She struggled in 11th grade with her grades and teachers have emailed me that she refuses to do her homework especially with Math because she has always struggled alot with Math. Not only this but the teachers have also stated that she is very uncomfortable at school and refuses to make eye contact. The counselor call me and told me she was wanting to be called AJ which I found strange. She's always hated her name and to this day talks about how much she hates it and that to doesn't feel like her. She told me she gives up on everything because she's tired of failing. She ended up taking Summer school for Math after 11th grade and worked hard to finish it. I'm proud of her and all.

While all this was going on I was noticing her wardrobe was changing drastically. She always wanted to wear boy clothes and cut her hair like a boy. I don't mind her looking like a tomboy but now it's gotten to the point she doesn't look like a girl at all and refuses to wear anything associated with girls.

In 2014 she worked for her dad and did a good enough job but many people made comments about how she looked like a boy, her work clothes were boys. They even mentioned how she slouches and pulls her shirt away from her chest. I've been noticing this as well. She's always done this actually even when she was younger. Getting her to fix her hair and wearing dresses was a battle. I put her in a dress and she kicked and screamed. She's always been a tomboy but it feels a bit extreme. When she was a child she got upset when she couldn't play with the boys or their toys. Her Halloween costumes were boys most of the time. Same goes for her birthday parties. She didn't mind girl things but preferred boy things. Playing with girls she was rough and wrestled them and I had to tell her that was a thing boys do. She cut off her hair when she was about 4 years because long hair made her uncomfortable.

Anyway, now that she's 20 years old she doesn't work or go to school. I've confronted her on it and she's told me she's anxious and doesn't feel like herself. She wants to live on her own but she says she's afraid and feels stuck. I understand because she struggles with doing basic life skills like cooking, laundry, ect. She feels like she can't thrive in life because she feels... "wrong" She always cuts herself down and says she wishes she could have a straight body and no curves, and a few times I've washed her clothes and found some black tank top and this thing was very tight looking. Another time I found a sock in her boxers. I never questioned her about it. She's very secretive on her Facebook account and hides a lot of things from me, in general.

I have a daughter whom she talks to a lot and really acts friendly and social with. While with me she does do the same but gets very moody too. She has no passions or interests. Nothing motivates her. I found out a while ago she was lesbian from her mother. I'm upset by this and it does disgust me. Once I overheard her using her webcam and talking to an online friend and she said to them that she wishes she could live life but she feels fake. Now she's coming to her asking for birth control because her periods are too heavy and disgust her.

I'm sorry if this sounds insensitive but I don't want to deal with her anymore.

She's 20 years old and needs to get it together. Her cousins drive and she doesn't even do that. She's too scared of her ADHD and anxiety interfering. But I'm frustrated that all my grandchildren are living their lives and trying to be successful and make something off themselves but this one. Please help. I'm desperate.

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    Welcome here! I wish you all the strengh in the world and I hope I could help you.
    – Pudora
    Jan 2, 2017 at 10:45
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    Hi, and welcome to parenting.SE! I'm sorry that you are in such a difficult situation. Please note that this is not a discussion forum, but a site for focussed questions which have concrete answers (please read the site tour linked under "help"). Right now your question is mostly a list of problems, and very long. Please edit it down to one or two concrete problems and a clear question - otherwise it will likely be closed.
    – sleske
    Jan 2, 2017 at 12:07
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    Your granddaughter seems to have some severe problems and to be very unhappy with herself. She is an unhappy woman. That doesn't mean she would be a happy as a man. Being transgender is rare; you'd need some very strong evidence to think she is transgender, and I don't see that. Being depressed is much much more common than being transgender.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 24, 2017 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


Anxiety and depression are pretty common when you don't get along with your parents and they're abusive. So that's not really a huge surprise.

'Laziness' or a lack of motivation and energy is common among depression sufferers - even dealing with normal situations can be hugely taxing and frequently the issue is with motivation as you're finding with the dishwasher, certainly going into a new situation like learning to drive would take a huge amount on her part. Refusing to make eye-contact or interact with others (as her behaviour at school) again doesn't seem unusual for someone who suffers anxiety/depression or doesn't feel accepted.

Asking to be called by another name seems like a rejection of a "female" identity and particularly the use of initials like that is something more common with men. That would also tie-in with her choice of clothing.

You probably need to ask yourself what's wrong with her looking like a boy? Equally what's wrong with girls playing with "boys" toys, I'm being a little flippant here but which kids toys are operated using their penises? It's a pattern of behaviour that you've identified as having been consistent from a young age and she identifies most closely with a lesbian family member - clearly "girl" toys have never been for her.

There are 2 separate problems here - people with depression and anxiety are hard to anticipate, understand and deal with. Being supportive is hugely draining and it's not insensitive to say that she's taking up a lot of your energy. If she needs to be on medication then it's worth trying to help her get the appropriate help including the long-term counselling and support she appears to need, and birth-control is frequently prescribed for easing difficult/painful periods.

I believe you're going to have to come to terms with the fact that your granddaughter will never fit into the gender stereotype you want her to. Labelling her gender preferences is unlikely to be helpful without her input, she may be Transgender or something else and it's best to just let that be her business. Though when you make a statement here that the lesbian member of your family disgusts you then (even if you don't say it out loud) it's going to be something she'll pick up on; that will make it very difficult for her to see herself as accepted by you especially when she appears to be having a hard time accepting or being who she is.


I imagine that this young person needs support desperately. That doesn't mean you have to provide it personally. Her doctor's office may have suggestions. The local school system and library might be able to help you find resources.

I haven't done through this but have a cousin who is a happy married lesbian and hugely successful professionally. All she wanted was acceptance and so we provided that.

IF your grand is transgender or a lesbian, it wasn't a choice. It's a difficult path that she cannot help being on. Love and support will help her tremendously. Acceptance and support do not mean approval -- though that approval would be best for all concerned. Also, before she informs you, you do not know anything and she may not even be a lesbian. I have a sister in law who asexual. She calls it 'Ace'. She is a (honestly by choice) fifty year old virgin.

I agree with James Snell -- she could have a mental health issue. That requires a visit to a medical professional. It could not hurt you to get some counseling, too. Big issues are never easy to deal with and getting help with them is a good thing.

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