Dear Grandparenting: My daughter needed a new car. She had her heart set on a Ford Mustang. Then my granddaughter Hannah got involved, way over-involved. Hannah talked her into buying a hybrid electric job to help save the world.
I don’t think my daughter realized what she was getting into. But it’s her fault for A) letting Hannah into the decision process in the first place, and B) caving in and buying what Hannah wanted.
We used to say kids like Hannah were too big for their britches. She has attitude, like she deserves a major say in family decisions—at age 13! It bothers me to hear my granddaughter take part in discussions that are none of her business. My daughter just sits there and lets Hannah have at it.
This strikes me as a very odd arrangement. My daughter is a smart cookie and good provider while my granddaughter has lots of growing up to do. So why do they come across like equals sometimes? Carla Early, Phoenix, Arizona
Dear Carla: Sounds like the by-product of a world where grandchildren can grow up way too soon — empowered, entitled and large and in charge.
And while that’s nothing new, your situation illustrates how their parents become willing accomplices, soliciting their inputs on major family matters.
Consider the findings of a National Retail Federation survey of parents of children born after 1995. Nearly 70% said they always ask their child’s opinion before a major family purchase, and nearly 60% won’t buy without their approval.
While we maintain that youngsters do better with boundaries, the modern generation of grandchildren has a greater voice. Surveys show that parents spend more time with their children than ever before and spend less time on friends and social events, and that was before the COVID-19 virus clamped down on getting out and about.
No mention of the father leads us to suspect your daughter is a single parent to a single child, a situation custom-made for something resembling co-dependency. Too much closeness, say some, can interfere with a grandchild’s moral development. Children naturally emulate their parents and internalize parental values and ideals. But when treated as equals, children have no incentive to strive to become like their parents, because they already are.
Grand remark of the week
Dottie Brown from Sidney, Ohio reports that she “makes sure to always count my blessings. I have my health, my dear husband and our house, and we don’t owe anyone a penny. And some of my greatest blessings call me Grandma.”
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.