DEAR ABBY: I would like to respond to the letter from "Disappointed Daughter," who complained that her parents found their grandchildren "bothersome."
It's sad when grandparents are more concerned about peace and quiet than in creating happy memories for their grandchildren to treasure all their lives.
My parents never enjoyed any of their grandchildren. They were interested only in making them toe the line. They provided one disposable cup a day per child -- "If you throw yours away, you go thirsty." If they failed to completely shut the sliding glass door, it was "Shut that damn door!" God forbid they giggled and acted like children, because that meant they were "hyper-brats."
Fortunately, my children were blessed with another set of grandparents. Although they are gone now, we have many warm memories of them to share.
My mother is still alive and now complains she doesn't know her grandchildren. She insinuates they are the ones responsible.
Being a grandmother is the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. Recently, when playing "I Spy" with one of my granddaughters, I told her I spied something very precious to me. Her face lighted up immediately. She exclaimed "Me!" and she was right. -- GRANDMA SHARON, FORKS, WASH.
DEAR GRANDMA SHARON: What a heartwarming story. However, not all grandparents share your view. Read on for the reason why:
DEAR ABBY: I am 64, widowed and live alone. My daughter, son-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren left last week after a short visit. Somehow, I survived.
Within five minutes of their arrival, chaos reigned. The children, ages 2 to 6, were everywhere. Beds were torn apart, toys strewn all over the house. Snacks were ground into my new living room carpet, meals were a nightmare. Two out of three wouldn't eat what was served, but they still got dessert. Soap and wet towels were left in the tub, on the bathroom floor or on a bed. Dirty diapers were left on the sink. You get the picture.
My dear children were not raised without proper training. If only they would pass it on! -- BITING MY TONGUE IN HOT SPRINGS
DEAR BITING: Your point is well taken. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am the grandmother of three young boys and a girl. I was a single mother, worked hard, and spent many hours after my children went to bed, cleaning and ironing.
After 40 years, I feel I've earned a retirement I can enjoy. I'm sure "Disappointed's" parents feel the same way.
Some questions she should consider:
(1) How often do your children interrupt when adults are speaking?
(2) How much of the conversation revolves around the children?
(3) Do you set aside time for a one-on-one conversation with your mother? There are things some older women will not discuss in front of children.
(4) Do you allow your children to "run loose" in the house?
(5) Do your children have any "quiet" toys? The noise some toys make can be nerve-racking to older people.
(6) Finally, when you telephone your mother, how often are you distracted from the conversation to answer or yell at your kids?
Our children know only what we teach them. -- VIRGINIA GRANNY
DEAR GRANNY: If parents of small children will give your letter the consideration it deserves, perhaps it would help to bridge the generation gap.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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