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Aster's avatar

Do you think this was very rude behavior for these sweet teenage granddaughters?

Asked by Aster (18745points) August 12th, 2017

I have a friend who has flown up north to spend ten days to two weeks per year with her son she adores, his wife and their cute teenage daughters. She can’t stand her daughter in law but really loves her son and granddaughters.
Anyway, last year they told her she could only spend a week. She was hurt but flew up there anyway and found that her daughter in law has a full time job as does her son. The daughters were out for the summer and spent most of the day in their rooms with their phones as my friend sat alone in the den all day. A few months later my friend asked her son if she could come again this year and he said, “I don’t know yet; we have a lot planned.” Next thing she knew they flew down to Texas for three days. I think that was the last she’ll see of them this year . Do you think the kids were rude to ignore her? They still all went out to dinner and had a shopping trip. Its so sad to me because she has had several mini strokes and her family may regret treating her like this.

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23 Answers

Zaku's avatar

I’d say it seems inconsiderate to me, though sadly not unusual for many teens in the USA today. I wouldn’t blame the children personally though. I doubt it’s a personal issue. More like how young people tend to respond when faced with US culture, education, economics, pop culture, parents who both have to work, problematic family relationships, and lack of education in how they’re expected to behave. Wanting to escape into staring at electronic devices most of the day has been par for the course for a long time. So has not giving much consideration for (or time or attention to) the elderly.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Don’t forget that the daughter-in-law may also be creating a bit of a dark cloud over the grandma’s head. There is obviously a strong dislike between the two women which indirectly spills over and messes the way the teens see their grandma.
I don’t know who is to blame for the chill between the daughter-in-law and your friend, but ultimately it is sad that things could not be a bit friendlier. I think the ball is in dad’s court now. If she isn’t the shit-stirring type, then he should do something to create a bit of quality time before it is too late.

Aster's avatar

@ZEPHYRA yes; there is a dislike between the two women. One thing my friend did was , when one of the girls was fourteen or possibly thirteen, when they were on the phone my friend said, “how did you feel when you found out there’s no Santa Claus?” and the girl rain to her room, threw herself on the bed and cried her eyes out. Frankly, I thought the teen years were well old enough to know the Santa thing is a myth. This really angered the mother. Another thing that happened was when one of the girls was bathing my friend sat on the toilet so they could have a little chat. Whether or not this was inappropriate is extremely debatable but I was surprised she did it. So again her DIL was very upset . My friend’s son was raised in a private Catholic school but, when he went to live near Seattle, he soon became an Atheist and the girls are being raised Atheist . Irrelevant? Probably. The son’s sister , upon graduating college in Texas after a Catholic upbringing, joined her brother and made the trek to Washington State. My friend is Catholic and possibly this has helped alienate them from her. One thing I have to add: when the son married up there he took the last name of his bride’s with a dash leading to his mother’s last name. He stays out of all arguments and does not stand up for his mother. His wife runs the home and he’s very quiet.
He was adopted at three days old by my friend and she feels she’s losing him. She did not have a great education but both her kids went to college on an academic scholarship and one of them has a job with Microsoft.

YARNLADY's avatar

Whenever I feel bad about the way my adult grandsons treat me, never calling or coming to holiday dinners anymore., I think about how I treated both my grandmothers. That helps me realize they aren’t treating me any way at all, they are living their own lives, and doing a pretty good job of it.

Aster's avatar

In my experience grandchildren leave you for a couple years but then, after marrying, come back with their babies.
I hope.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Mmm, well the whole situation shows there has been turbulence in their relations and honestly a clash on religious beliefs most certainly leads to creating didtances and hostilities. A pity actually.

zenvelo's avatar

A man, or woman, must stand by their spouse even if that disassociates from the mother.

seawulf575's avatar

All this proves the old adage…you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.

jca's avatar

There are two sides to every story. Maybe the grandmother isn’t nurturing. Maybe the grandmother wants to sit in the chair and do nothing all day. Maybe the grandmother wants to be waited on hand and foot.

I think about how my grandmother was – she was very nurturing and I’d spend days at her house with her sewing, baking, and she’d take us on trips with my grandfather. We’d spend time in the yard, and all over the big Victorian house that they owned. When my mother was with my daughter, same thing. Cooking, crafts, traveling, going on trips. She was a youthful grandma.

Part of the issue may be that your friend is traveling to her son’s house so she is limited with what she can do in their house, as she’s a guest. If she is limited with what she is able to do physically, and the parents both work and want to do thing with the limited time they have for their own vacations and school vacations, maybe that’s part of the issue. It might have also to do with the comments that she’s made to the girls as outlined by the OP.

It’s hard to comment without knowing both sides of the story.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I liked one of my grandmothers a great deal more than the other, but I never ignored either one. I spent time with them, gave them my attention, listened. When the diabetic one cheated with a donut, I chastised her, and when she explained her carefully planned cheats, with only her favorite donut and nothing else, I listened respectfully, aquiesced, then warned her I would watch carefully that she follow the rules exactly, except for her one cheat.
That woman never respected me, but I always was respectful to her.
My other grandmother broke her hip. I went to stay with her when she went home from the hospital. I helped her in and out of the tub, among other things to assure she didn’t suffer another fall.
Not all teens young women are indifferent to their elders, but respect certainly seems to be disolving where elders are concerned. It isn’t due entirely to parents. I haven’t raised my daughter to be indifferent or disrespectful, but she usually is.

si3tech's avatar

@Aster I think it was rude, hurtful behavior. We’re only here for a little while as the song goes. We need too hold what needs holding, mend what needs mending, walk what needs walking if it means an extra mile. There comes a time for us all when “there isn’t anymore”.

tedibear's avatar

Yes, I think it was rude of them to ignore their grandmother while she was in their home.

I do have a question. What attempts did the grandmother make to suggest activities or engage the girls? I’m not saying she didn’t, I’m curious as to what strategies she tried.

JLeslie's avatar

Teenagers these days often are locked up in their rooms texting friends. Even in my day, and probably before, teenagers “cared” more about their friends than family.

I try to be realistic, and I would say the kids should have spent at least some of the time with their grandmother. Planned something fun, or played a board game, cards, something. Certainly, she is also there to be with her son, so hopefully he gave her some of his time doing some fun stuff, maybe a tourist thing, watch TV together, whatever they like to do.

Does your friend drive? Does her son live in an interesting place? Does she know people there? Maybe if she has some autonomy and stuff she wants to do on her own while there it would be easier on everyone. When my inlaws visit they will sit in the house and do nothing waiting for us. When my parents visit they plan things they want to do. Sometimes they rent a car, sometimes I drive them everywhere, but at least I don’t feel the entire burden of entertaining them. My dad is still very stressful for me in other ways. I find an intense week gets to be exhausting.

I don’t have children, but I was just with one of my best friends, her husband, two kids (in their early 20’s) her sister, BIL, and their teenage kids, and my friend’s parents. The teenage kids are really good to their grandparents, respectful, but overall, the teenagers were in their own world.

I also just had an exchange student stay with me for almost 3 weeks. Mostly, she spent time in her room when she was home. I was disappointed, but most of the exchange students were like that. Every day she was doing activities, and I think part of it was needing decompression time.

zenvelo's avatar

This thread is too focused on the kids.

Grandmother imposes herself on her son’s family, doesn’t get along with mom, and expectations is being placed on the kids to entertain her.

My take on this is: why aren’t we asking: Do you think this was very rude behavior for a grandmother?

jca's avatar

@zenvelo: That’s why I said there are two sides to every story.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if the family would be better visiting the grandmother a few days if she has the space? I guess that’s what thanksgiving is for.

Aster's avatar

They just visited her last month and stayed two or three days. She and I feel it could have been a message to her, “ok you’ve seen us for this year.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it’s not just kids “today.” It’s kids throughout every generation. They can be the rudest, most selfish, thoughtless people. It is a rare kid indeed who has a mature compassion for others.
It’s too bad that she didn’t feel like she could make herself at home, rent a car, and just go about doing whatever there is to do during the day where she went, find thrift stores and garage sales, new places to eat, and just meet up with the family in the the evenings. I’ve been in that situation before. I never felt unwelcome. . It’s her own fault for just sitting in a den all by her self, feeling sorry for herself and expecting someone to change it for her.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My 13 year old grand daughter is POd at me. Last time I saw her she was calling me “Valerie” instead of “Gramma.” She was doing it to intentionally hurt my feelings.
The first time I was a bit taken aback. By the end of the visit, when she called me “Valerie,” her Mom kind of rebuked her. I said, “Nah. It’s OK. I don’t like being called Gramma. Makes me feel old, and Boo knows that.” (It’s an old, inside joke between us from several years earlier.)
My grand daughter had to turn away quickly so I wouldn’t see the spontaneous, laughing grin on her face…but I saw it!

JLeslie's avatar

@Aster I don’t assume that’s the case. I wish I could see my parents much more often, but in smaller doses. I’d rather have them living ten minutes away seeing them 3 times a week, than 5 states away and visiting for one or two weeks solid in my house.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Something that is catching my attention, for some reason, are all the darling adjectives she’s using to describe the girls, such as “sweet” and “cute,” then describing normal, unpleasant teenager behavior that is neither sweet nor cute.

jca's avatar

I knew someone (nobody in my own family) that was an elderly grandmother who would sit in her chair with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. Not warm, not nurturing, not doing anything “grandmotherly” with the grandchildren. Maybe the grandma in this question was that way. Maybe, like @Dutchess_III said, she sat in the den and felt sorry for herself. Maybe with kids she’d have to engage them. “What can we do today? Do you want to go to the museum? How about a movie? How about the mall?” With kids, especially teens, you may have to meet them on their level.

If you’re going to sit and pout and brood, nobody’s going to want to be near you.

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