Showing who’s the boss


Tom and Dee and Cousin Key



Dear Grandparenting: Andrew is my five-year-old grandson. He hardly said a word for his first two years. Then something came over him. He started talking nonstop and acting out when he doesn’t get his way, whining and carrying on, and he’s still at it.

Daughter Cindy calls him “the boss.” Working some 50 hours weekly, she comes home tired and gives in to his demands, just to make life easier. I told Cindy that Andrew and I are going to have a reckoning this summer when I babysit him weekdays.

My babies were born some 60 years ago, so I’m a little rusty at making kids behave. But I refuse to allow my grandson to make me his verbal punching bag. I figure it means setting limits and letting him know I’m the one in charge, right? Stacy Bird, Lexington, Virginia

Dear Stacy: We continue to be astounded by parents who give children the run of the house. The results typically are unsatisfactory all around. Fully functional family units are not a democracy, a truism that comes as a rude awakening for kids who think it’s all about them.

Numerous studies indicate that children do best under a regimen of rules and expectations, supported by positive affirmations when they rise to the occasion. Kids of the opinion the world will conform to their wishes are in for a rough ride; they call to mind an Asian proverb to the effect that a nail sticking up soon gets hammered down, just as loud and overbearing little ones invite punishment and social isolation.

Power runs top down in a healthy family structure. Draw up a list of do’s and don’ts with your grandson, but don’t over-negotiate — excessive bargaining erodes your legitimate authority. Follow through on consequences, lest you seem powerless. Without your daughter’s active support, it will become even more problematic to hold the line.

Grand remark of the week

Roberta Stepp from Dayton was talking with grandson Mason, age 7, about the impending arrival of a new sibling.

Roberta ticked off the possible combinations. “You’ll have two brothers and three sisters or three brothers and two sisters. Either way, won’t that be great?”

Mason looked at his grandmother with a blank expression on his face. “I want a dachshund,” he said.

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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.