Dear Grandparenting: I am beginning to think there is some truth to this “climate change” thing. People on TV keep saying that storms and such are getting worse and worse.
My young granddaughter, Mimi, is positively freaking out! She has nightmares about bad weather, and she watches the weather channel constantly. Hurricane Florence wiped out a beach house in North Carolina where she went on a vacation with her best friend’s family. Then the California fires came real close to the home of her favorite cousin, who’s like a sister to Mimi.
You have to admit this weird weather makes things scary. I can never remember being really scared at that age except the few times I broke the rules and figured I was in for a good spanking. How can I help make this scary place feel like a safe place for my granddaughter? I am not sure I know the words to make her fears go away. Ginger Barr, Trenton, New Jersey
Dear Ginger: Communication technologies plunder our grandchildren’s peace of mind, exposing them to unnerving events before they are emotionally ready and then amplifying the impact by recycling it repetitively.
Children are unable to differentiate between a clear and present danger and something happening halfway around the world. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Turn off the TV. Monitor computer use and other sources of information. You or another adult must be present to filter and buffer media reports.
Grandchildren interpret the world through adult words and actions. Keep your cool. Grandparents who reach out to help and comfort disaster victims are superior role models to those who dwell on the misfortune of others or speculate about worst-case scenarios.
Child psychologists say a loving, protective family cocoon is the best antidote. And while that’s not always realistic, an attentive and proactively positive grandparent provides reassuring stability. By trusting you, they will start to trust that they can cope.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Woody Garcia, of The Villages, Florida, told grandson Eddie, 8, to clean off old lawn equipment in his shed. “Just needs some elbow grease,” he said before leaving to run an errand.
Eddie was waiting when he returned. “I looked around for elbow grease,” he told Woody, “but all I found to use was some dish detergent and a sponge. Is that OK?”
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 410-828-7451.