Monday, February 19, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Mom upset that grandparents won't follow her lead with child

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Mom upset that grandparents won't follow her lead with child

Q: My parents frequently ignore or dismiss my parenting choices. I've discussed it with them many times, with no changes. The "last straw" involved their not calling when my child got sick while overnighting with them.

I'm so furious that I'd prefer to send a letter outlining the boundaries and the consequences for crossing them. I'm afraid another in-person conversation will be unproductive, and that I will say something they won't forgive. Am I wimping out or being responsible?

— Letter versus In-Person

Carolyn: Depends on how important these boundaries are to enforce. If they involve using car seats or observing health-based dietary restrictions, then you're being responsible — and in fact I suggest you decline their next invitation to have your child overnight. If they can't provide responsible care, then they lose the privilege.

If instead you're clamping down on things better written off as grandparental privilege — junk food for breakfast or staying up past bedtime — then you need to think carefully about the merits of involved grandparents versus the merits of to-the-letter adherence to standards.

I realize this isn't always an easy call, since the blown bedtime can lead to a ruined next day for you, for example. However, if anything, that makes it even more important to pick your battles carefully.

It also sounds, for what it's worth, as if you've talked about this plenty and to no avail. Since they're apparently going to do things their way regardless, what response makes sense for you now? Withhold time with your child? Tighten the supervision of visits? Choose the venue carefully to pre-empt the typical conflicts?

Anonymous: The flip side is, if you want free baby-sitting, you don't get to control everything.

Carolyn: That, yes. In fact, you can control more with paid care, but still not everything, since humans will be human and there's no happy ending in trying to have it any other way.

26-year-old's parents think she's too young for marriage to work

My parents like my fiance well enough and are always pleasant to him, but they are not enthusiastic about the upcoming wedding. I went over to their house alone to ask why. They told me I am too young and not established enough to get married (I am 26 and my fiance is 28).

I was floored. I am a high school social studies teacher and love my job; my fiance is a third-year resident at a local hospital. We have been dating for three years. Right now, money is tight, but we both have solid educations and a strong work ethic. I told them this, and also reminded them that rarely does a couple start off established.

They would not budge. They said over and over that marriage is a huge decision that I am not yet ready to make. I am at a loss. How can I convince my parents that my fiance and I are happily planning our future, that it is not perfect, but that we are both willing to work at it every day?

Engaged

Carolyn: Don't bother. They said their piece, and you've considered and ruled out their concerns, so now go be the adult you are and stop trying to extract your parents' approval. That will be more persuasive than anything you can say.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Don’t expect help from careless grandma

Q: My mother moved to be closer to us when we had a baby, who’s now 2. She’s not responsible with him. She gives him anything he points to and grunts. Just in the past month, this has included a lighter ("He doesn’t know how to use it"), garden shear...
Published: 02/19/18
Ordinary dogs take to the Derby Lane greyhound track for the Mutt Derby

Ordinary dogs take to the Derby Lane greyhound track for the Mutt Derby

Some stopped midway, some turned around and ran the wrong way and some dashed to the arms of their owners as more than 300 average house pets took to the track at Derby Lane on Sunday for the Mutt Derby. The popular fundraiser for the Jaycees died o...
Published: 02/18/18

Tell Me About It: Doubts creep in to six-year relationship

Q: I have been with my partner for six years and have just graduated from college. I love my partner and could see myself happily married to them for the long haul. However, I am beginning to feel wistful about never having dated anyone else — or kis...
Published: 02/18/18

Tell Me About It: Vacation opens dialogue about money

Vacation opens dialogue about moneyQ: My girlfriend and I just went on our first vacation together. I thought it went well, but after we were home she told me she felt I had been cheap because I wanted to split all costs 50-50.I think cheap would be ...
Published: 02/16/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Feb. 19-25

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Feb. 19-25

Gasparilla Distance Classic: One of Tampa’s best known road races returns to downtown, with a 5K and 15K Saturday and an 8K and half marathon on Sunday. The chief attraction is the 15K on Saturday, which takes runners out and back along the man...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak to appear at Florida State Fair on Saturday

Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak to appear at Florida State Fair on Saturday

TAMPA — Chloe Lukasiak will take on a different role than she is accustomed when she stops by the Florida State Fair this weekend.After all, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania-native and resident rose to fame on Seasons 1 through 4 of Lifetime’s reality te...
Published: 02/15/18

Tell Me About It: Past eating disorder affects food choices

Q: My wife refuses to change her diet and grocery shopping to accommodate my health needs and those of our kids. Everything she gets is processed grains and sugar. My doctor recently recommended losing weight, and exercise won’t cut it. But because s...
Published: 02/15/18
Top things to do this weekend: Florida State Fair, Mutt Derby at Derby Lane

Top things to do this weekend: Florida State Fair, Mutt Derby at Derby Lane

GO, DOG, GO: Mutt DerbyOne of the most hilarious days at the races is Sunday, when ordinary house pets get a chance to run on the Derby Lane greyhound track. Mutt Derby registration begins at 11 a.m., but you can register in advance at greyhoundpets...
Published: 02/14/18
This week’s best concerts: Mary J. Blige, Kelsea Ballerini, Wyclef Jean and more

This week’s best concerts: Mary J. Blige, Kelsea Ballerini, Wyclef Jean and more

LEGEND IN THE MAKING: Kelsea BalleriniComing off a debut with three No. 1 singles — Love Me Like You Mean It, Dibs and Peter Pan — it’s no surprise Kelsea Ballerini was feeling the pressure before dropping her sophomore album Unapologetically last fa...
Published: 02/14/18
5 things to do under $5: Apple's Steve Wozniak, mini golf in the library, Clearwater street parties

5 things to do under $5: Apple's Steve Wozniak, mini golf in the library, Clearwater street parties

1 Steve Wozniak: The Apple co-founder, above, will give a free talk on Tuesday, Feb. 20 as part of USF Muma College of Business’ new Thought Leader series. The college’s dean will conduct a discussion about everything from the need for en...
Published: 02/14/18