a special feature from Leslie Zinberg & Kay Ziplow, founders grandparentslink.com
So, the other day we are having some cookies and milk and sharing it with a couple of our grandchildren, when our 9-year-old blurts out loud and says, “Gamma- did you know my dad says the F word A LOT?!” (Note the underscore) And then all the kids started to giggle.
Well, I just about dropped all my cookies in my milk before I realized my reaction right there, right at that very second would set a tone and mood for the following discussion with the kids. Therefore, I wanted to be really careful as to my reaction. First thing I thought of was that I was going to swallow my urge to text my son and let him have it; yet I needed to contain myself, and certainly keep myself from laughing, which is a nervous reaction we all share.
You wonder what I did, right? I looked at my granddaughter, and began to talk about what words are nice, what words are kind, and most importantly, that grown-ups often can forget their manners. Then I offered both her and her brother more Oreos as bribery to quit the discussion and hurry up and get outside to play. Whew! Sometimes grandparents just have to think on their feet. Now, when her father, my son arrived – we had a little talk. And while I respect him, one is never too old to have their shortcomings pointed out.
SO.. what do we do when the kids kind of fill us in on things their own parents do? After all, one of them, the older and the wiser is our own child and now their children are quoting them! What’s a grandparent to do? What are your thoughts?
Some of our readers have made fabulous suggestions when posed with serious and funny types of questions, and we want to share them with you! No doubt if you have some of your own, please share!
- Your grandchild lets you know that they overheard mommy and daddy talking loudly last night and clearly were concerned about it.
GPL Suggestion: Explain to your grandchild that often times, mommy and daddy will disagree with each other and that is a normal part of family dynamics. If a child is astute enough to identify that this is occurring, you as a grandparent should carefully make sure you do not triage them further to obtain information. There is a fine line between a comforting sentence from you and an inquisition to find out what the parents are disagreeing about.
- You want to try and keep your dessert and sweets eating extravaganza that happens at grandma’s house just between you and your grandchild – but then mom finds out! How do you handle this situation? We always teach children not to lie… but what about a sweet fib?
GPL Suggestion: We think all parents in these situations actually do understand their kids will always be spoiled at grandma’s. Try and make a point to be honest with your (grown) children, the parents, and let them know that there might be some splurging here and there (it’s just what we do!). Hopefully, they will appreciate that some things hold greater importance and deserve 100% honesty, while how many cookies were consumed on a play date with grandma…can be between you and the grandkids! J
- You overhear your grandchildren talking about a stain that they created at home on mom’s new couch, but they just flipped the cushion over…do you race over right away and clean the stain or what?
GPL Suggestion: This is a great time to implore the honesty button, and also foster more discussion about taking responsibility for their actions. We think that in a situation like this, grandma needs to step in. Yes, while children can be messy and clumsy sometimes, they don’t intend harm. And let’s be honest, do kids know all the tricks of the trade of getting stains out? NO. So pack the kids in the car and make this a lesson, show them what products are needed for the clean-up and let them work with you to try and clean up the mess. Make the kids responsible, but don’t make them feel disappointed in their actions. They should be proud of their efforts and take it as a learning experience. And, make sure they report all of this to their parents!
On the funnier side, here’s a hilarious page we found with some of the best quotes kids have said, check it out for a laugh.