Dear Grandparenting: I care for my grandson a good deal because his parents can barely take care of themselves. I suppose I am partly to blame for that, so I really want to get it extra right for my grandson.
His name is Leo. His parents named him after the famous actor, Leonardo DiCaprio. I read in People magazine where he is quite the man with the most beautiful ladies.
My little Leo must be trying to keep up with his older namesake. I lost one babysitter because he kept staring at her. She called him “creepy.” When I asked Leo about it, he shrugged it off saying she was “super stunning lady.”
Last week I got a call from the mother of a girl in Leo’s class. She said Leo was “getting real frisky” with her daughter in the back seat of her car. Am I seeing a pattern that needs to be nipped in the bud, or am I over-reacting? His mother says boys will be boys. I say enough of that. What about you? Nancy Cole, San Diego, California
Dear Nancy: It has never been easier to put provocative ideas into a grandchild’s little head. Explicit sexual imagery and content was suppressed back in our day, but ready access to raunchy material is now child’s play.
Take an adolescent weaned on frequent exposure to steamy stuff found on smart phones and computers. Stir in hormones and the onset of puberty. Add the general erosion of social standards of acceptable behavior. Top it off with more absentee parents and the sense of easy entitlement said to pervade youth culture. By the time they hit middle school, some are ready to start helping themselves to the banquet laid out before them.
That said, we wonder if your family is sleeping through the Me Too movement, a long overdue national protest against sexual harassment and aggression that is toppling the high and mighty and putting the brakes to hollow “boys will be boys” rationalizations. No means no now like never before.
Managing sexual impulses can prove problematic at any age, but grandchildren on the verge of sexual maturity are in special need of an education about the consequences of sexual misconduct. Given their position as wise and trusty family heads, grandparents make great teachers.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Mia O’Shea, of Boston, Massachusetts, weighed in with her somewhat unorthodox grandparenting technique:
“I keep my calm, love my grandbabies and lean toward letting them get away with murder at my place. It’s like they say about wild and wooly Las Vegas – What Happens Here, Stays Here.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.