Grandma wants to help but might be insulting
Dear Annie: I have two grandchildren, ages 11 and 7, and I am worried about them. I am trying to persuade my daughter to clean up their bedrooms. As an aside, they need new bedroom sets. My grandson still has my girl’s bedroom set, and my granddaughter refuses to sleep in hers, saying it is uncomfortable.
I just do not know what to do, as I want to help her yet cannot get anywhere with her. Sometimes they sleep downstairs on the floor and are up late at night. I don’t know whether they are getting proper rest.
My daughter is recently divorced, and her ex makes over $100,000 per year. Should I interfere and try to do something? I feel for these kids. The rooms are a mess, with clothes all over the place, and other rooms in the house are a mess, too. I offer to help, but my daughter does not want my help, which makes me feel powerless. What can I do? Please help! My grandson is 11 with a girl’s bedroom set! — Worried Grandma
Dear Worried Grandma: Instead of focusing on all that your daughter is doing wrong with her children, try to see what she is doing right. Remember, she is recently divorced and needs support, not criticism. She is going through a great deal. Instead of telling her how messy her kids’ rooms are or that her son has a girl’s bed, take action. Just clean the room yourself and ask the kids whether they want to help out. They probably will — if not at first, eventually. Make it fun, and consider buying a new bed or painting your son’s bed a different color.
People respond much better to positive actions than complaints.
Dear Annie: I can relate to the situation described by “Are Obituaries Over?” — the person whose friend was upset when his son’s wife didn’t put an obituary in the newspaper. My dad died four years ago. My brother was responsible for handling notification paperwork, and he refused to put an obituary in the newspaper. He said people “don’t read the newspaper anymore.” Because family tension was already on the rise, I didn’t raise a stink. I always felt he was wrong, because our dad had grown up in the area and lived there all his life. Also, my parents had moved from a neighborhood of close friends, and I think those people would have liked to have known about Dad’s death. Also, he worked at the same company for 39 years. There are many avenues from which people come into our lives. Not everyone is on social media, and many of those who aren’t would still like to know about a death. Remember, too, that people read newspapers online and might see the digital obituary. Don’t deny people an opportunity to acknowledge one’s passing simply because of laziness or inconvenience. You will be glad people thought enough about your loved one to offer condolences or even attend the funeral. — Been There and Wish I’d Spoken Up
Dear Been There: I’m sorry for the loss of your father. Thank you for opening up about your experience. It may spur others who are in similar positions to speak up.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.