Grandfather has trouble connecting with grandsons

Published 8:50 am Friday, April 3, 2020

DEAR ABBY: My husband has a contentious relationship with our grandchildren. He generally is a fun, happy and interesting person. But by nature he is not “hands on” when it comes to children.
Our son and daughter have great spouses and five young grandsons. He stands around like a warden waiting for something to happen, then just yells at them. It is clear he doesn’t enjoy being with them, and their mood changes from happy to surly when he’s around. I enjoy doing things with them and taking them to lots of fun places, and I know my husband doesn’t like to go anywhere with them.
I have had two major talks trying to encourage him to have a positive, interactive relationship with the boys, to no avail. He reacts as if I’m the only one who sees this. My sister, son and daughter-in-law have talked to me about it, but I haven’t told my husband. Should I just drop this issue? — DOING THE WORK OF TWO
DEAR DOING: Your husband may or may not be capable of changing. However, the next time your sister, son and daughter-in-law talk to you about the negative message your husband is sending the grandchildren, please tell them they are talking to the wrong person. They should take this up with “Grandpa Grump,” and you should not be forced into the position of being the messenger.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter is 22 weeks pregnant. This will be our first grandchild, and we were excited to be hosting the baby shower for her. Unfortunately, her in-laws got involved. We were told they were mostly in charge and we should butt out, and my daughter will host her own shower. She sent us a message stating that they don’t want the shower to be a “burden or financial strain on us,” so we can come only as guests.
We never ever said anything about finances or anything. We were excited about the shower and couldn’t wait to start this amazing journey. What do we do? Do we still go as grandparents, as guests or stay away? We are not allowed to help with anything, but we were told to contribute to the food. — STUNNED IN SOUTH AFRICA
DEAR STUNNED: Contribute what food exactly? A box of crackers? A fruit salad? Money? I don’t blame you for being upset. It certainly looks like you have been pushed aside.
Did your daughter send you that message or did her mother-in-law? I ask because it is considered a breach of etiquette for an honoree to throw her own shower. Talk to your daughter. However, do not allow this to drive you away. Attend the shower. If you don’t attend, it may be the beginning of an estrangement.
DEAR ABBY: Is it OK for me to be carrying my boss’s belongings to his car at the end of his workday? Is it acceptable for me to be making his coffee a certain way and picking up his lunch? I was hired as a second administrative assistant, but I feel more like a maid/servant/slave. It’s 2020! I don’t think women should be treated like this anymore. Any advice? — UNCERTAIN IN THE EAST
DEAR UNCERTAIN: Absolutely. Have a chat with your employer and review what your duties are supposed to be. Nowhere in your letter is it apparent that your boss is singling you out for these tasks because you’re female. If you had proof this was the case, it would be another matter. Because you find these tasks demeaning, consider looking for another job because this may not be the place for you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.comor P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox