Sad young girl needs fam­ily love

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - MOVIES - Amy Dick­in­son Read­ers can send email to [email protected]­dick­in­ or let­ters to “Ask Amy” P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY, 13068.

Dear Amy: My great-niece is 11 years old. I’m very con­cerned about her. She’s lived with her grand­par­ents, since she was very young.

She re­cently found out that her mother is preg­nant by a new boyfriend and is go­ing to have a baby girl.

I asked my brother how my great-niece is han­dling this and he said, “Not very good.”

My con­cern is that she stays in her bed­room all the time and seems very with­drawn and un­happy. She used to be happy and smil­ing. Any help on how to han­dle this very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion? — Wor­ried Un­cle

Dear Wor­ried: Now is the time to sur­round this girl with love, af­fec­tion and at­ten­tion. You can prob­a­bly imag­ine how con­flicted and hurt she is feel­ing — her mother is now start­ing another fam­ily. This will re­vive ev­ery aban­don­ment sad­ness she has ever had, and will likely in­tro­duce more feel­ings that she can’t ar­tic­u­late and doesn’t know how to han­dle.

Pri­vacy is im­por­tant for young ado­les­cents, but iso­la­tion will con­trib­ute to her sad­ness. At­tempt to talk to her about this. Don’t as­sume she is happy about this news, and don’t force her to­ward a happy nar­ra­tive (“Hey — you’re go­ing to have a lit­tle sis­ter!”). In­stead, ask her, “Can you de­scribe how you are feel­ing?” If she is inar­tic­u­late or silent, don’t cor­rect her. Re­as­sure her and en­fold her in her fam­ily’s em­brace. Watch a fa­vorite movie to­gether. Go bowl­ing and iceskat­ing. Put her first.

If there are safe ways for her to see her mother, she should be of­fered this op­por­tu­nity.

Books will help her to process and tackle some of her sad­ness and worry. I highly rec­om­mend the site amighty­ for book sug­ges­tions. Read to­gether.

If it’s pos­si­ble, she should also see a coun­selor with ex­pe­ri­ence in work­ing with chil­dren.

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