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4.25.2011

Do you reach out to a kid, or wait for him to come to you?

It's vacation week and Tio has decided not to go to his other grandparents along with the two other boys. From what he says there is a lot of tension, some of it caused by him, not much reigning in on inappropriate behavior, and a sense that he isn't welcome. I don't think his grandparents don't love him or not want him around but he's 12 and starting to see the world through teenage eyes. That in itself can bode ill, but when you add together a volatile household, a complete disconnection from his adoptive mom who still hasn't returned or said she misses him, and a couple of arguments with words that might call for apologies, it adds up to a downer for a kid his age.

His relationship with them is important to him and them both but I think they've lost the ability to communicate right now and may need to rebuild from the ground up. Maybe some one on one time outside the house, maybe a truce where they all cut each other more slack, maybe time apart, maybe maybe maybe... It's so hard to know what to do when it comes to this. Someone at some point will have to reach out. Will it be Tio? His granddad? Auntie?

Personally, I've always been the reconciler when I have a probem with someone and I make the first step to reach out. Even if it's rejected I hate to leave things on a bad footing with someone important. I refuse to let stubbornness or misunderstandings create permanent bad blood. I'm not always successful, either. I've lost my share of friends and take blame for it. But in the end, I believe both sides need to mend a relationship that breaks down, or else one party doesn't want it fixed.

I suspect that Tio will return to visiting his other family one way or another. The question is how and when. This is one place where I can't make things better. But if no one steps forward and the problems underlying his reasons for staying away don't get addressed this could turn into a permanent rift.