herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Dear Rosanna: Why are my granddaughters so rude?

Rosanna Davison
Rosanna Davison

Rude grandchildren, a weighty issue and a sister who is drinking too much

I'm a widow but very sprightly and like a lot of people who have lost their life partners I do my best to keep busy.

Part of keeping busy has been helping my youngest daughter with childcare as both she and her husband work. It's been a real boost for both of us - she gets help with the kids and saves on childcare while I spend time with my two grandchildren.

My problem is this, my grandchildren are six and nine and I try to teach them the basic manners - simple things like if we are out walking and people approach in the other direction I ask them to 'move out of the way for the lady/man.' I ask them to respect their elders, say please and thank you.

However, lately my daughter has been directing me to stop any of this kind of guidance - she says that things have change since I reared her and my son. Have things really changed so much?

Some real tension has set in. I think that her guilt at working might be at the root of it but I don't know how to approach the subject as she is very highly strung on the matter.

It sounds to me that you're doing your very best for your grandchildren, and have their primary interests at heart. I absolutely agree with you that manners are timeless, and all children must learn to respect others around them, and especially their elders.

I can't imagine that your daughter wants to raise a pair of brats with no interest in being kind or communicative with others. I think you're right about the guilt your daughter feels.

She probably feels a bit of resentment that you're spending so much time with them

My advice is to continue what you're doing, albeit in a gentle way making sure your grandchildren know that their parents are still the main authority figures in their life.

But explain to your daughter that having good manners will never change, and don't be afraid to suggest that you sense guilt on her part.

Rather than allowing tension to continue building, deal with it now. Addressing her emotions will allow all of you to move on and continue with this childcare system, which otherwise seems to benefit everyone.

 

I lost a lot of weight in the last number of months - it took a lot of hard work and I am thrilled with the results. I've had my children but I am still young and really needed to do this to regain my sense of self.

As I got thinner my husband became more and more distant. He started passing comment on my saggy skin and how my face used to look more buoyant with the weight on. He claims that now I look older than my years - I'm 42, I was 14 stone and now I am ten stone.

I don't think I look bad at all - in fact I think the result has been quite the opposite.

My husband is a very good looking man and he is used to getting all kinds of attention when we go out - to be honest I think that now I look just as attractive as he does and that it bothers him. I find this really upsetting - I was always a little plump, even before the kids, but now as a perfect size ten I have lots of confidence how can this be bad?

Congratulations on losing the weight, and for feeling healthier and more confident in yourself. However, your husband's attitude towards you definitely seems to be a problem, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's suddenly aware that you'll begin to attract more male attention, which he presumably isn't comfortable with.

He might not like change very much either.

My advice is to spend the time communicating with him again. If I were you, I'd book weekend away to spend the time together and reassure him that you're still the same person, just with a fresher exterior.

Take the time to speak, reconnect and have fun.

My sister has started drinking by herself - I noticed it a while ago when I stayed in her apartment, basically she had a lot of vodka and wine bottles in her recycling bin. The next weekend there were fresh bottles there and she lives alone. I've also noticed that whenever we meet she orders wine, even during the day when I'm just having coffee.

Our father and aunt are both alcoholics and I really think my sister is heading the same way. It's not something we've ever discussed in our family as families do tend to keep secrets. But my sister is just 29 - too young to be going down this road.

Up until two years ago she was firing ahead with her career but now it seems she's just ticking over - and I think the booze might be to blame. How can I get her to talk to me and is it time to get my mum to finally take action?

I feel for you as this is a tough thing to find yourself caught in the middle of. You obviously want to help your sister, but without causing her hurt or even pushing her away at the time she needs the support of her family the most.

It's important to trust our instincts, and yours are telling you that she's hit a trouble spot in her life. We all go through tough times, and it's not always possible to pull through them alone, which is where the help of others is so crucial. Usually when people drink to excess, it's a sign that they're unhappy with some aspect of themselves or their lives.

There's a big difference between enjoying one or two drinks on social occasions and being reliant on it as your sister seems to be. I do think you need to gently broach this issue with her. Be non-judgemental or accusatory, but casually suggest that she seems to have a lot of empty bottles and that she's been drinking more than before.

Explain you're concerned given your family history, and assure her you're there for her if she needs to chat about things. You may also suggest the idea of taking up a hobby together, like an exercise class. Fitness can be a way to enjoy a natural high and help us to feel more positive and motivated.

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