DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I have an older brother, who was diagnosed with maladaptive daydreaming about 15 years ago. He is in his seventies, and even now he just goes off into his own little world by the hour, and has for as long as I can remember. The doctors told him he has it because he suffered from PTSD after being in Vietnam, and that it was just his way of coping. He has made progress in controlling the daydreaming, but it still takes him away from the here and now way too much.
I have been seeing that my eight-year-old grandson seems to do something like what my brother does. It scares me, and if I say anything to my daughter, she says it’s fine, and it’s normal. She says he’s just extremely creative, and will tell her stories about a whole world he’s made up and has adventures in.
Once I started seeing more and more of how my grandson is behaving, I thought it would be a good idea to research what my brother has been dealing with to see if it fit in with my grandson. What I learned is people with this condition act exactly the way my brother does, and what I see my grandson doing now.
I want my daughter and her husband to get my grandson checked out, but they said they talked to their son’s teachers and the school counselor about it and that they said it is perfectly normal, since he does his work, is social in class, and pays attention when called to do so. But, I don’t believe his teachers and school counselors are qualified to make a diagnosis.
How do I convince my daughter that there may be a real danger here, especially since there are some studies that say maladaptive daydreaming can be genetic? --- FEARFUL FOR MY GRANDSON
DEAR FEARFUL FOR MY GRANDSON: While it’s understandable that you’re concerned for your grandson, it sounds like his daydreaming is something his parents are also well aware of; and based on their having discussed the issue with his teachers and the counselor, it’s also something they’re already taking steps to monitor.
Having seen a near relative with a particular condition or pattern of behavior will naturally put you on guard on the behalf of other loved ones. But for now, I think you need to trust that your grandson’s parents are keeping an eye on things, which leaves you free to enjoy the time you get to spend with him.