Dear Grandparenting: Allow me to set the stage. I have been divorced from my one and only wife for 11 years. She died three years ago. And I am extremely close to my grandkids.
They spend many a weekend at my place and longer stretches during summer. I live on what used to be a working farm. There is a swimming hole nearby and lots of things to keep us all busy.
My problem is my love life. I feel a little foolish asking your advice about something that is really nobody else’s business, but here goes.
I have a girlfriend. I avoid having her sleep over when my grandkids are on the premises. I guess I am just old-fashioned enough to think that would not set a good example.
One grandchild is 8 and the twins are 11. I would feel like a hypocrite dropping them off at Sunday school after sharing my bed with a woman who is not my wife. Where do you come down on this? Anonymous, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Dear Anonymous: Your provocative question will generate opposing views from grandparents. On the one hand, what’s really left to hide? Grandchildren growing up in America in 2019 are guaranteed to be exposed to a gusher of explicit sexual imagery and Internet content.
Fifty or 60 years ago, the “facts of life” largely remained a mystery until a child hit middle school. Now they‘re able to see it all, on demand, 24/7/365.
But that doesn’t mean anything goes. Quite the opposite, because what grandma or grandpa does — along with parents, aunts and uncles — is a stabilizing influence that can moderate the impact of society’s sexual overdrive.
Grandchildren model the behaviors of home and family. Don’t kid yourself into thinking the kids don’t know what goes on. They are always watching. In this age of permissiveness, the behavior of a grandchild’s family at large is the last, best resort. We wish everyone showed your consideration and restraint.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
When Wanda White, of Kingsport, Tennessee, called to check on the progress of her 8-month old grandson Aaron, granddaughter Krissy, 6, answered the phone.
“So how’s your little baby brother coming along,” she asked Krissy. “Anything new?”
“Well, he eats OK but isn’t crawling or anything,” replied her granddaughter. “Probably just lazy.”