Dear Grandparenting: There are some things you shouldn’t wish on any grandson. Becoming a big baby is high on that list but that’s where I find myself. I have a crybaby on my hands.
Will is my six-year-old grandson. I spend a good bit of time minding him. The kid needs to toughen up. He cries and carries on with the best of them and don’t ask me why. I can count on Will to find some kind of reason.
Both his parents have told me it’s not getting better. They think he’ll grow out of it but I’m not that patient. Crying before you are hurt is no way to go through life. What’s a grandmother to do? Mary Lou Nelson, Milltown, New Jersey
Dear Mary Lou: Most grandparents associate the idea of getting attention with positive achievement, recognition for a job well done. But there’s another kind of attention some grandchildren go about seeking, often by staging emotional outbursts.
A scolding or good talking to is the reward these grandchildren hope to elicit. Attention comes in two flavors, positive and negative. And either way, grandchildren achieve their objective — your undivided attention. Grandchildren who habitually act out, or cry themselves a river, aspire to manipulate their audience.
What can you do? Take a page from his parents and don’t let him bait you. Any reaction on your part reinforces the behavior.
Jump back in when he calms down to praise his composure. Inform him that future outbursts will be met with stony silence. Tell your grandson that you are ignoring his behavior, not him, and make certain he understands the difference. Working with his parents to make sure you’re all on the same page should do the trick.
Grand remark of the week
Gemma DeMarco from Seattle, Washington finally finished knitting quilts for each of her six grandchildren. “I call them my love quilts. Each quilt was as different as each grandchild. This project has kept me busy for four years. I’ve kept the quilt that my grandmother knit for me 75 years ago.”
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.