Dear Grandparenting: I understand that modern grandkids don’t date members of the opposite sex like we did. Going steady is falling out of fashion. One-night stands are the in thing now.
That is bad enough. But what is even worse are some of the losers that my granddaughter, Kim, picks when she dates someone long enough for me to get to know a little about them.
I cannot relate to these strange creatures she brings around. They don’t have much to say. Maybe it’s better that way because they look awful. They seldom shave or visit a barber and usually wear something like black clothes and combat boots.
I will admit to being suspicious about boys because all they really want is sex and more sex. I do not want Kim to get into a bad relationship that hurts her emotionally. Kim just turned 14. But since this boy is so quiet, I don’t know what I’m dealing with. Can you see my problem? Tracy R. Smith, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Dear Tracy: Who among us doesn’t make snap judgments about a grandchild’s romantic partners? It’s what grandparents do.
Here’s the thing to know about teens: Girls acquire social skills at an earlier age than boys, making it easier to engage young ladies in conversation and get a good read on them.
Boys are tougher to crack. The strong, silent types tend to adhere to the prevailing code of conduct of alpha boys — outwardly confident and in control, but awash in visions of girls, money and cars beneath their tough exterior.
As difficult as it may seem, you have to move beyond appearances. Kids with tongue studs can be terrific guys. But if the lad is disrespectful or impolite, then you’ve likely got a problem.
Co-opt him by inviting your granddaughter and her escort over for a meal, the better to draw the lad out of his shell. If the very thought of the boy still drives you crazy afterwards, take two aspirin and wait one week. At that age, romantic relationships are fleeting.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Lois Love, of Tucson, Arizona, reports she has “become a believer. Grandparenting is like falling in love. If you’ve never experienced it, you have no idea how fantastic it is.”
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.