Dear Grandparenting: Didn’t I see my 17-year-old granddaughter in a “passionate embrace” on my yard with her boyfriend of the moment? I think what they were doing is called a soul kiss. Did she bother to stop when I opened and shut my front door? No way.
I know she heard me. That’s not the first time either. I’ve heard noises when she’s down in my clubroom. The noises aren’t coming from the TV or the radio. The girl has no shame.
I am not so ancient that I cannot understand wanting to fool around. But I draw the line when she gets it on right under my nose. It is offensive and inconsiderate.
I spoke to my granddaughter about this twice before. How do I drive home the point without getting her up in arms? In my experience, telling her she can’t do something is the worst approach. May Anderson, Everett, Washington
Dear May: We well remember the 2000 outcry after Al Gore gave wife Tipper a passionate kiss on national television in accepting his party’s nomination for president. One pundit called it a “can’t-wait-to-get-back-to-the hotel” kiss.
Groping, necking and other sloppy displays of sexual abandon have become so commonplace they are now simply called PDAs – public displays of affection.
While they may not be as offensive as the profanity and acts of aggressive behavior that increasingly occupy America’s public spaces, PDAs show the same disregard for accepted norms that have governed society for decades.
That’s why we are not terribly surprised by your teenage granddaughter. Youth reflects the prevailing standards of the day, not their grandparent’s yesteryears. Between the often trashy values of teenage culture and the more permissive national culture, your granddaughter may hardly know better.
Instead of requesting compliance, try eliciting sympathy. Ask your granddaughter what situations make her feel uncomfortable and compare that to your reactions to her romancing. That might get the wheels turning in her head.
We all have a fundamental need for privacy, especially in the sanctity of our home. Should all else fail, threaten to ban her male companions from the premises. Enough is enough.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Luann Smith, of Lady Lake, Florida, grandmother of eight, completed “my favorite needlepoint of all-time” that now hangs in her den.
“Grandchildren are God’s reward for a long life well lived” is inscribed in the center. Luann encircled that with the names of all eight grandchildren, separated by hearts. “It’s perfect,” she says. “My little family tree.”
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.