Taking a leap of faith


Tom and Dee and Cousin Key



Dear Grandparenting: We care for our two grandchildren for months on end. Their mother is deceased. My son is the father. He works in the merchant marine and is often out of town. So far, so good — both children are turning out well.

We have been married 35 years. The wife and I keep Saturday as our date night. We’ve always had someone in to mind the children when we’re away. I trust them and all that, but I worry about what could go wrong leaving two adolescents home alone.

They don’t want a babysitter. I have one answer ready when the grandkids begin second-guessing me: “Because I say so.” But maybe they have a point this time. Sooner or later, one must start assuming some responsibility for themselves. How do you know when that time has arrived? Patrick Black, The Villages, Florida

Dear Patrick: You seem best qualified to assess their readiness to be home alone, and the fact that you’re wavering indicates to us it’s probably high time. If they weren’t ready, you’d know it.

Thinking the time has come is one thing. Acting on it may require a leap of faith, even when grandchildren insist they are ready, willing and able to hold down the fort. Most youngsters relish the freedom of unsupervised time at home alone.

Every child is different. Some are ready early, others born troublemakers. Teach them to handle situations that might arise like a power outage or strangers knocking at the door. Give your grandchildren a friend’s phone number to call should you be unavailable. And don’t be shy about returning home early to their surprise. Some trust their grandkids to behave until proven otherwise. We prefer to see for ourselves.

Grand remark of the week

Eva Marie from Fishkill, New York reports that “all my grandkids bring happiness during a visit. The good ones make me happy when they arrive. The others make me happy when they leave.”

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Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

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.

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.