Dear Grandparenting: What can I do about a grandchild who always runs late? I have sat and tried to reason with Tony. He is 12 and plenty old enough to get with the program.
Nothing works. All I get is “just one minute more” or “almost ready.” It pains me to get tough with Tony, but the child aggravates me no end.
I warned him what he’s headed for. The older he gets, the more he will stand out as the one who keeps you waiting. It’s the kiss of death in the work world.
I suppose Tony keeps me waiting because he thinks I’m old and am just waiting around to die or something. He doesn’t realize that my time is the most precious thing I have. Lucinda Alvarez, The Villages, Florida
Dear Lucinda: Almost anything goes in America except running late. Other cultures may be more cavalier about the clock, but we are a nation of mad multitaskers and not terribly patient people. Late is for losers.
It’s hardly uncommon for youngsters to be late. Children and adolescents are highly distractible by nature, and their neurological systems can be slow to develop. Most shake the habit by their early teens as they become more socialized and don’t want to jeopardize friendships or social status.
To get grandchildren moving on time, state your expectations and let them face the consequences of their lateness. No more excuses! Another tactic is to deduct five or 10 minutes of video game or TV time for each minute they are late. If they sleep over, get them in the habit of using an alarm clock at an early age.
When the problem persists, it’s often to avoid something that makes your grandchild anxious, something they’re not committed to doing or something that masks a greater problem. Have you considered counseling?
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Anton Post, of New York, New York, likes to follow his grandchildren’s progress in school, like so many grandparents.
Knowing this, granddaughter Frances plopped down next to him and announced she just learned about a figure of speech called a simile, which uses the word “like” to compare one thing with another thing of a different kind.
“My teacher used this example,” said Frances. ”A grandparent is like a piece of string, handy to have around and easy to tie around your finger.”
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.