These grandchildren didn't show appreciation

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  June 29, 2010 06:00 AM

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Barbara,

We have just returned from a family cruise paid for by us. On leaving, two of our grandchildren, 7 and 5, who had a wonderful time, would not look up and give us hugs and reluctantly said goodbye. We see them a lot when home.

We feel hurt about it.

What should we do?

Our son asked them to give us a goodbye but they put their heads down and we did not think it was worth making a scene about it.

From: GPs in (Guilford), CT

Dear GPs in Ct,

Good for you for not making a fuss in the moment; it wouldn't have done anyone any good. And yes, I can understand that you were (are) hurt and disappointed. Here's the thing, though: young children, even when they are coached in polite behavior, fall apart because they are hungry or tired or hot or, well, because they are 5 and 7.

Nonetheless, I suggest you let your son and his wife know that your feelings are hurt that the children couldn't give you a more loving goodbye and thank you. Express your feelings in a calm, loving way.

Then you are done.

Anything else -- saying that you don't want to take the kids away again; offering to teach them manners yourself -- could be seen as a threat by your son and his wife, and could potentially backfire on you. Unless, of course, you are so offended by this that you want to take it to that extreme. But, again, I think that would be an extreme. Giving your son and daughter-in-law an honest and sincere expression of your feelings is not only acceptable but also important for all of you. It gives the parents a valuable opportunity to go back at this with their children by helping them to paint, draw or write you thank you notes.

Could the parents have done more with their kids in that moment of goodbye? Sure. Why didn't they? Here's are two possibilities: (1) they knew something about their very young children in that moment that that you didn't know, for instance, that they were tired, cranky, hungry, hot, sleepy..... etc. (2) They are entitled, spoiled adults with manners that aren't so hot, either. Did they give you a sincere and appropriate thank you?

Either way, here's a book that might be helpful: "Don't Bite Your Tongue, How to foster rewarding relationships with your adult children," by Dr. Ruth Nemzoff.

Grandparents out there, what would you do? Parents, what's your take?

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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20 comments so far...
  1. Maybe the kids were so sad about leaving this wonderful, fun cruise with Grandma and Grandpa that they couldn't keep it together enough to give a nice goodbye? My kids, who are a little older, still come unglued occasionally at the end of a visit or trip with their grandparents, generally a combination of too little sleep for several days and sadness that the grandparents are leaving.

    Do the kids normally say a nice goodbye to you? Did they ever say thank you at all during the course of the cruise? If so, don't even bring it up. I'd imagine that the parents have already spoken to the kids about it, and perhaps they're already working on thank-you notes or something.

    Posted by akmom June 29, 10 06:36 AM
  1. My take on this situation is that while the adults were disappointed, perhaps the children heard only that their grandparents were leaving and the wonderful, fun time was coming to an end. Because they had no control over the timing of the fun ending they could only control their response to the "good byes" expected.
    As the parents of the children, I would take them aside when they are not overstimulated by all this fun activity and explain that they need to properly thank the grandparents for a wonderful time. This could be after they are settled in at home while reviewing all the marvelous experiences they had with Gram and Grampy.

    Posted by Susan McNichols June 29, 10 08:16 AM
  1. Gee, were we on the same vacation? My family of four just returned from a cruise from Boston-Bermuda with my whole family, paid for by my parents. We had a great time.

    My younger child, who is about to turn three, behaved very badly all week long. She only wanted her Daddy. She embarrassed me in every possible way in front of family members and strangers...I did the best I could with her to manage her behavior in an unfamiliar setting (while she was off her schedule, eating different foods, around total strangers, having a hard time with the bathroom, etc.) and just kept reminding myself that while she certainly "has her moments" (yesterday I offered her out for rent on Facebook because she was driving me nuts), she does not normally act that way.

    Lately she is especially stingy with hugs and kisses. She has adopted a somewhat funny saying that "her hugs and kisses are all used up." She very much turns away from people looking for a direct response from her - a please, a thank you, a hug, a kiss. It crumples her into tears when she is asked for these things from people other than her Mom, her Dad, and her brother. She adores her grandparents, but she won't always give them hugs and kisses. I don't know why. I know it hurts their feelings - but I hope they will consider the two-year-old source.

    We are all home from vacation now and things are somewhat back to normal. In general, my daughter is fresh and unmanageable when she is tired, feeling vulnerable and/or overstimulated. At the end of a seven day vacation which consisted (for her) in fatigue, strange surroundings, and craziness almost 100% of the time, I have realized that it was too much of me to expect her to do much more than she did. I set her up for failure by bringing her into that environment.

    Teaching my children about showing gratitude and appreciation is of major importance to me as a mother, so it is not something I will let go. But I do worry about what other people think when she is behaving so badly...and then I have to remind myself that she is who she is, and she won't turn three until next month. In other words, she's still a baby. With effort from me, it all WILL come in time. Case in point? My almost seven year old. He had a ball...he loved every minute of it, loved the strangeness of it all, including a "first time ever" opportunity to stay up until eleven PM to see the chocolate buffet. He had a wonderful time and nothing but hugs and kisses for his grandparents. He's always been a more laid back kid. I'm the same Mom to both of them, but they are different people with different triggers and abilities to cope with social situations.

    It sounds like your grandchildren were exhausted and ready to go home. I would hope that a homemade card will show up in your mail this week. I know that one is ready to be delivered (in person, my parents are local) to my parents this week, complete with stickers and scribbles from my petulant younger child, who would not give them a hug or a kiss at the end of vacation.

    Posted by RH June 29, 10 08:24 AM
  1. "...paid for by us"

    Little kids don't understand that they have to be especially loving when people pay for expensive trips. They'll learn soon enough.

    Posted by Just-cos June 29, 10 09:13 AM
  1. Just-cos, that's what I was thinking while I was in the shower (after I posted my mini novella there). My almost seven year old is learning how to count dollars and cents, and understands what money is, but I think the concept that my parents just spent mega-bucks on this vacation (and that he should therefore be uber-grateful) is over his head.

    Posted by RH June 29, 10 10:51 AM
  1. I completely agree with Akmom, Susan and RH. The kids are little, and tired and ready to be home. Cut them some slack... I’m sure the parents will talk with them, etc.
    However, I had the same reaction as Just-cos immediately upon reading the letter.
    Gee, I know it is nice to be acknowledged when you do something nice (not to mention that it is plain good manners), but what happened to doing or giving just for the sake of making someone happy, especially your young grandkids? To me that is just as important a lesson as showing appreciation and gratitude when someone gives or does something nice for you.

    Posted by Leefee June 29, 10 11:10 AM
  1. At ages 5 and 7, kids are not "appreciative" in the adult sense. For all they know, this is just what all grandparents do for them. They have absolutely no concept that this was a big financial undertaking for you. Be happy that you have given them a nice memory that they can remember for a long time.

    Posted by Dad June 29, 10 11:39 AM
  1. I'm sure it's hurtful when little ones we love so much (& for whom we are willing to sacrifice much) are not yet skilled enough to show their affection. I'm heartened, though, that at least the parents tried to get their kids to say a proper goodbye. My youngest was like many of the posters mention when she was this small: unable/unwilling to follow through on important social niceties appropriately when she was in a strange environment or tired or overstimulated. Now that she's somewhat older, she's much better at controlling herself & getting out the right words at the right time. I found it takes patient persstence. I also learned to set the stage to get the right response: reminding her that the end was coming & telling her what to say & to whom (& why, if it seemed she could process it). These parents seem to be trying -- and as long as they continue, good things will fall into place.

    What wonderful grandparents you are, not only to provide such a fabulous opportunity for your family but also to demonstrate great patience when the kids weren't quite with the program! As my mom says, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. With your good example & their parents' continued teaching, these kids will be just fine.

    Posted by Karen June 29, 10 01:25 PM
  1. Kids do not understand costs of vacations and may not have understood that the grandparents paid for the trip. Although, they should say good-bye regardless of who paid for it.

    Also, some kids are uncomfortable showing affection through hugs and kisses, and as they get older they become more comfortable with refusing when asked. Don't force them. It does not mean they are ungrateful or unloving.

    Posted by M June 29, 10 01:43 PM
  1. What you gave your grandchildren is a boatload of lifelong memories! As they grow up they will remember the special cruise hosted by their grandparents with fondness and gratefulness.
    In fact, perhaps someday your children will do the same for these grandkids and their children, and perhaps the grandkids will someday do the same for their children and grandchildren. Just think, maybe you have started a new family tradition that will carry on for generations to come.
    That's how they will show their gratitude. And isn't that why you did it?

    Posted by Sherry Lane June 29, 10 03:34 PM
  1. Just want to add--children quickly get attached to a new situation--(such as being on a cruise and living with mom, dad, and grandparents. When that situation comes to an end AND includes parting with people they've become accustomed to and love, sometimes children go into what appears to adults as withdrawal. Actually they are just being sad while trying to process what's come to pass.

    Please don't take their "putting their heads down" as a form of rejection. It was really just sadness at having to part from you and the fun they had on the cruise. Children don't like change! So, ironically, in this case, their sadness connotes something very positive. ;-)

    Posted by Sherry Lane June 29, 10 04:12 PM
  1. "Paid for by us" should have nothing to do with it. Would GP be in such a snit over two tired kids not giving an appropriate goodbye display if they'd been over at the house for the afternoon for free? Or if GP had won the cruise tickets in a raffle?

    Posted by di June 29, 10 04:13 PM
  1. I'm surprised that no one has taken these grandparents to task for "feel[ing] hurt." It is absolutely crazy ridiculous for you to feel hurt about something like this. These are young children!

    I certainly hope that the parents impress upon these children that they need to thank you properly for all the great times that they had on this trip, and that they do it soon. But the truth is that the kids have already thanked you by having a "wonderful time" on the trip that you paid for. Isn't that why you did it?

    Posted by geocool June 29, 10 05:37 PM
  1. Thank you geocool. I completely agree! I think adults expect way too much from children. They are being normal kids not spoiled or rude.

    Posted by ccmom2 June 30, 10 08:19 AM
  1. I can't even get my 7-year-old daughter to hug *me* good-bye when I drop her off at camp. Apparently, it's just too "embarrassing." I choose not to feel hurt or offended about this because I know it says nothing about my daughter's actual feelings for me. She gives me plenty of hugs and kisses at home when it's just the two of us.

    I suspect many kids feel uncomfortable displaying affection--or any kind of emotion, for that matter--in a public setting on command. It feels too much like a performance, which can be stressful. It reminds me of those situations when a teacher or parent demands an apology from one small child to another. Does anyone really believe that shaming a child into mumbling a few words of contrition will actually do anyone any good at all?

    Just because a child doesn't gush with gratitude or pepper you with kisses doesn't mean s/he doesn't genuinely appreciate what you've done. It could just mean that s/he would rather express those emotions in a different context or setting, and I think that's entirely reasonable. And, after all, when you give a gift, you're not supposed to do it because you expect undying gratitude in return (though that would be nice).

    What would I do if I were in the LW's position? I guess I'd just model the behavior I want my children to learn by showing my parents genuine affection and thankfulness. And I'd hope my parents would resist the petty urge to be offended and simply model the behavior of a true giver (i.e. someone who does a kindness with no expectation of reward).

    Posted by robin June 30, 10 09:48 AM
  1. i think the grandparents need to look at the big picture. if normally this family (kids and adults) are very appreciative than the grandparents need to think perhaps this is a one time occurence.
    kids could be tired, cranky etc etc.
    how long ago was the trip? maybe the family is planning a special way of saying thanks once they return home? a suprise night out to dinner or something like that?

    on another note - the grandparents reference they didnt get hugs.
    for me and my kids - i NEVER make them hug or kiss ANY adult if they don't want to. at times this causes a riff and adults get the nose out of joint but i dont care. its their body and if they are uncomfortable for ANY reason - i'm not going to make them hug and kiss someone just to make the adult happy.

    Posted by babyblue June 30, 10 09:58 AM
  1. "What would I do if I were in the LW's position?" should have been "What would I do if I were in the parents' position?"

    Posted by robin June 30, 10 01:12 PM
  1. Yay babyblue! I completely agree -- I never ever force my kids to hug or kiss adults. I don't care who the adults are; my children need to feel that physical expressions of affection are under their control. It's just so important for them to realize "my body, my rules."

    Of course, verbal expressions of gratitude and good manners are separate from this, and, as the parents here told their kids to say goodbye, my guess is they are trying to teach their children the importance of such verbal niceties. But at 7 and 5, I echo every other poster here: it is completely normal for the kids, after a fun, exciting, exhausting, and special vacation, to be too emotional/sad/tired/cranky/etc to behave the way LW wanted them to. This does not mean the kids do not love the grandparents, and it does not mean the kids are doomed to be mannerless dolts. But the LWs needs to adjust their expectations of how a 7 and 5 year old will process the end of such a special time.

    Posted by jlen July 1, 10 08:10 AM
  1. I'm a bit confused. LW states that the children would not give them a proper "goodbye",....then went on to mention that they see the children often at home. Is it REALLY a goodbye you were looking for? Or a THANK YOU? Because you mention that you paid for this trip, even though that should have nothing to do with saying goodbye.
    I think Grandparents sometimes forget that children are still learning these skills. (Hopefully) Most parents try to encourage their young children to be polite. But you can't really force them. I think as long as the parents of the two kids acted as an example and thanked you, that should be sufficient.

    Posted by BellyB July 1, 10 01:16 PM
  1. Dear Grandparents,

    THANK YOU with all my heart for helping me appreciate that I have awesome grandparents whose self worth isn't needily defined by how much they are thanked by others. THANK YOU for showing me how petty other grandparents could potentially be, and by contrast, how kind and wonderful they are. THANK YOU for impressing upon me that my grandparents let me grow into my maturity at an appropriate pace, and that they measured my actions by what I did or did not do, and not against some lofty standard of what they thought I should be doing.

    When I miss them so much, it's nice to be reminded of all of the wretched things that they were not: it helps the memory of their goodness shine through all the more brightly.

    Thanks for that.

    Posted by j.walt. June 25, 12 01:47 AM
 
20 comments so far...
  1. Maybe the kids were so sad about leaving this wonderful, fun cruise with Grandma and Grandpa that they couldn't keep it together enough to give a nice goodbye? My kids, who are a little older, still come unglued occasionally at the end of a visit or trip with their grandparents, generally a combination of too little sleep for several days and sadness that the grandparents are leaving.

    Do the kids normally say a nice goodbye to you? Did they ever say thank you at all during the course of the cruise? If so, don't even bring it up. I'd imagine that the parents have already spoken to the kids about it, and perhaps they're already working on thank-you notes or something.

    Posted by akmom June 29, 10 06:36 AM
  1. My take on this situation is that while the adults were disappointed, perhaps the children heard only that their grandparents were leaving and the wonderful, fun time was coming to an end. Because they had no control over the timing of the fun ending they could only control their response to the "good byes" expected.
    As the parents of the children, I would take them aside when they are not overstimulated by all this fun activity and explain that they need to properly thank the grandparents for a wonderful time. This could be after they are settled in at home while reviewing all the marvelous experiences they had with Gram and Grampy.

    Posted by Susan McNichols June 29, 10 08:16 AM
  1. Gee, were we on the same vacation? My family of four just returned from a cruise from Boston-Bermuda with my whole family, paid for by my parents. We had a great time.

    My younger child, who is about to turn three, behaved very badly all week long. She only wanted her Daddy. She embarrassed me in every possible way in front of family members and strangers...I did the best I could with her to manage her behavior in an unfamiliar setting (while she was off her schedule, eating different foods, around total strangers, having a hard time with the bathroom, etc.) and just kept reminding myself that while she certainly "has her moments" (yesterday I offered her out for rent on Facebook because she was driving me nuts), she does not normally act that way.

    Lately she is especially stingy with hugs and kisses. She has adopted a somewhat funny saying that "her hugs and kisses are all used up." She very much turns away from people looking for a direct response from her - a please, a thank you, a hug, a kiss. It crumples her into tears when she is asked for these things from people other than her Mom, her Dad, and her brother. She adores her grandparents, but she won't always give them hugs and kisses. I don't know why. I know it hurts their feelings - but I hope they will consider the two-year-old source.

    We are all home from vacation now and things are somewhat back to normal. In general, my daughter is fresh and unmanageable when she is tired, feeling vulnerable and/or overstimulated. At the end of a seven day vacation which consisted (for her) in fatigue, strange surroundings, and craziness almost 100% of the time, I have realized that it was too much of me to expect her to do much more than she did. I set her up for failure by bringing her into that environment.

    Teaching my children about showing gratitude and appreciation is of major importance to me as a mother, so it is not something I will let go. But I do worry about what other people think when she is behaving so badly...and then I have to remind myself that she is who she is, and she won't turn three until next month. In other words, she's still a baby. With effort from me, it all WILL come in time. Case in point? My almost seven year old. He had a ball...he loved every minute of it, loved the strangeness of it all, including a "first time ever" opportunity to stay up until eleven PM to see the chocolate buffet. He had a wonderful time and nothing but hugs and kisses for his grandparents. He's always been a more laid back kid. I'm the same Mom to both of them, but they are different people with different triggers and abilities to cope with social situations.

    It sounds like your grandchildren were exhausted and ready to go home. I would hope that a homemade card will show up in your mail this week. I know that one is ready to be delivered (in person, my parents are local) to my parents this week, complete with stickers and scribbles from my petulant younger child, who would not give them a hug or a kiss at the end of vacation.

    Posted by RH June 29, 10 08:24 AM
  1. "...paid for by us"

    Little kids don't understand that they have to be especially loving when people pay for expensive trips. They'll learn soon enough.

    Posted by Just-cos June 29, 10 09:13 AM
  1. Just-cos, that's what I was thinking while I was in the shower (after I posted my mini novella there). My almost seven year old is learning how to count dollars and cents, and understands what money is, but I think the concept that my parents just spent mega-bucks on this vacation (and that he should therefore be uber-grateful) is over his head.

    Posted by RH June 29, 10 10:51 AM
  1. I completely agree with Akmom, Susan and RH. The kids are little, and tired and ready to be home. Cut them some slack... I’m sure the parents will talk with them, etc.
    However, I had the same reaction as Just-cos immediately upon reading the letter.
    Gee, I know it is nice to be acknowledged when you do something nice (not to mention that it is plain good manners), but what happened to doing or giving just for the sake of making someone happy, especially your young grandkids? To me that is just as important a lesson as showing appreciation and gratitude when someone gives or does something nice for you.

    Posted by Leefee June 29, 10 11:10 AM
  1. At ages 5 and 7, kids are not "appreciative" in the adult sense. For all they know, this is just what all grandparents do for them. They have absolutely no concept that this was a big financial undertaking for you. Be happy that you have given them a nice memory that they can remember for a long time.

    Posted by Dad June 29, 10 11:39 AM
  1. I'm sure it's hurtful when little ones we love so much (& for whom we are willing to sacrifice much) are not yet skilled enough to show their affection. I'm heartened, though, that at least the parents tried to get their kids to say a proper goodbye. My youngest was like many of the posters mention when she was this small: unable/unwilling to follow through on important social niceties appropriately when she was in a strange environment or tired or overstimulated. Now that she's somewhat older, she's much better at controlling herself & getting out the right words at the right time. I found it takes patient persstence. I also learned to set the stage to get the right response: reminding her that the end was coming & telling her what to say & to whom (& why, if it seemed she could process it). These parents seem to be trying -- and as long as they continue, good things will fall into place.

    What wonderful grandparents you are, not only to provide such a fabulous opportunity for your family but also to demonstrate great patience when the kids weren't quite with the program! As my mom says, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. With your good example & their parents' continued teaching, these kids will be just fine.

    Posted by Karen June 29, 10 01:25 PM
  1. Kids do not understand costs of vacations and may not have understood that the grandparents paid for the trip. Although, they should say good-bye regardless of who paid for it.

    Also, some kids are uncomfortable showing affection through hugs and kisses, and as they get older they become more comfortable with refusing when asked. Don't force them. It does not mean they are ungrateful or unloving.

    Posted by M June 29, 10 01:43 PM
  1. What you gave your grandchildren is a boatload of lifelong memories! As they grow up they will remember the special cruise hosted by their grandparents with fondness and gratefulness.
    In fact, perhaps someday your children will do the same for these grandkids and their children, and perhaps the grandkids will someday do the same for their children and grandchildren. Just think, maybe you have started a new family tradition that will carry on for generations to come.
    That's how they will show their gratitude. And isn't that why you did it?

    Posted by Sherry Lane June 29, 10 03:34 PM
  1. Just want to add--children quickly get attached to a new situation--(such as being on a cruise and living with mom, dad, and grandparents. When that situation comes to an end AND includes parting with people they've become accustomed to and love, sometimes children go into what appears to adults as withdrawal. Actually they are just being sad while trying to process what's come to pass.

    Please don't take their "putting their heads down" as a form of rejection. It was really just sadness at having to part from you and the fun they had on the cruise. Children don't like change! So, ironically, in this case, their sadness connotes something very positive. ;-)

    Posted by Sherry Lane June 29, 10 04:12 PM
  1. "Paid for by us" should have nothing to do with it. Would GP be in such a snit over two tired kids not giving an appropriate goodbye display if they'd been over at the house for the afternoon for free? Or if GP had won the cruise tickets in a raffle?

    Posted by di June 29, 10 04:13 PM
  1. I'm surprised that no one has taken these grandparents to task for "feel[ing] hurt." It is absolutely crazy ridiculous for you to feel hurt about something like this. These are young children!

    I certainly hope that the parents impress upon these children that they need to thank you properly for all the great times that they had on this trip, and that they do it soon. But the truth is that the kids have already thanked you by having a "wonderful time" on the trip that you paid for. Isn't that why you did it?

    Posted by geocool June 29, 10 05:37 PM
  1. Thank you geocool. I completely agree! I think adults expect way too much from children. They are being normal kids not spoiled or rude.

    Posted by ccmom2 June 30, 10 08:19 AM
  1. I can't even get my 7-year-old daughter to hug *me* good-bye when I drop her off at camp. Apparently, it's just too "embarrassing." I choose not to feel hurt or offended about this because I know it says nothing about my daughter's actual feelings for me. She gives me plenty of hugs and kisses at home when it's just the two of us.

    I suspect many kids feel uncomfortable displaying affection--or any kind of emotion, for that matter--in a public setting on command. It feels too much like a performance, which can be stressful. It reminds me of those situations when a teacher or parent demands an apology from one small child to another. Does anyone really believe that shaming a child into mumbling a few words of contrition will actually do anyone any good at all?

    Just because a child doesn't gush with gratitude or pepper you with kisses doesn't mean s/he doesn't genuinely appreciate what you've done. It could just mean that s/he would rather express those emotions in a different context or setting, and I think that's entirely reasonable. And, after all, when you give a gift, you're not supposed to do it because you expect undying gratitude in return (though that would be nice).

    What would I do if I were in the LW's position? I guess I'd just model the behavior I want my children to learn by showing my parents genuine affection and thankfulness. And I'd hope my parents would resist the petty urge to be offended and simply model the behavior of a true giver (i.e. someone who does a kindness with no expectation of reward).

    Posted by robin June 30, 10 09:48 AM
  1. i think the grandparents need to look at the big picture. if normally this family (kids and adults) are very appreciative than the grandparents need to think perhaps this is a one time occurence.
    kids could be tired, cranky etc etc.
    how long ago was the trip? maybe the family is planning a special way of saying thanks once they return home? a suprise night out to dinner or something like that?

    on another note - the grandparents reference they didnt get hugs.
    for me and my kids - i NEVER make them hug or kiss ANY adult if they don't want to. at times this causes a riff and adults get the nose out of joint but i dont care. its their body and if they are uncomfortable for ANY reason - i'm not going to make them hug and kiss someone just to make the adult happy.

    Posted by babyblue June 30, 10 09:58 AM
  1. "What would I do if I were in the LW's position?" should have been "What would I do if I were in the parents' position?"

    Posted by robin June 30, 10 01:12 PM
  1. Yay babyblue! I completely agree -- I never ever force my kids to hug or kiss adults. I don't care who the adults are; my children need to feel that physical expressions of affection are under their control. It's just so important for them to realize "my body, my rules."

    Of course, verbal expressions of gratitude and good manners are separate from this, and, as the parents here told their kids to say goodbye, my guess is they are trying to teach their children the importance of such verbal niceties. But at 7 and 5, I echo every other poster here: it is completely normal for the kids, after a fun, exciting, exhausting, and special vacation, to be too emotional/sad/tired/cranky/etc to behave the way LW wanted them to. This does not mean the kids do not love the grandparents, and it does not mean the kids are doomed to be mannerless dolts. But the LWs needs to adjust their expectations of how a 7 and 5 year old will process the end of such a special time.

    Posted by jlen July 1, 10 08:10 AM
  1. I'm a bit confused. LW states that the children would not give them a proper "goodbye",....then went on to mention that they see the children often at home. Is it REALLY a goodbye you were looking for? Or a THANK YOU? Because you mention that you paid for this trip, even though that should have nothing to do with saying goodbye.
    I think Grandparents sometimes forget that children are still learning these skills. (Hopefully) Most parents try to encourage their young children to be polite. But you can't really force them. I think as long as the parents of the two kids acted as an example and thanked you, that should be sufficient.

    Posted by BellyB July 1, 10 01:16 PM
  1. Dear Grandparents,

    THANK YOU with all my heart for helping me appreciate that I have awesome grandparents whose self worth isn't needily defined by how much they are thanked by others. THANK YOU for showing me how petty other grandparents could potentially be, and by contrast, how kind and wonderful they are. THANK YOU for impressing upon me that my grandparents let me grow into my maturity at an appropriate pace, and that they measured my actions by what I did or did not do, and not against some lofty standard of what they thought I should be doing.

    When I miss them so much, it's nice to be reminded of all of the wretched things that they were not: it helps the memory of their goodness shine through all the more brightly.

    Thanks for that.

    Posted by j.walt. June 25, 12 01:47 AM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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High needs/fussy baby

memes98 writes "My 10.5 month old DS has been fussy ever since he was born, but I am getting very frustrated because I thought he would be much better by now...has anyone else been through this?"

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