Dear Amy: We are a group of grandmas who see our grandkids for hours or sometimes a few days at a time.
Our question is how we should handle punishments given by the parents when our grandchildren are with us.
When the parents of my grandkids ask how things went, I always say “fine,” but other grandmas give a detailed account of everything that went on.
This discussion started when I was given instructions to deny my 5-year-old grandson treats while he was with me because he had defaced something at his house (I was not there).
During their visit, his older brother constantly reminded me that the punishment for his brother was to be followed while they were at my house.
I was left with the feeling that I could not spend the time with my grandsons as I wished.
I know that in order to have a presence in my grandchildren’s lives, I need to follow the parents’ instruction. However, I don’t like how the punished child’s sibling was policing the situation.
We all agree that any problem of significance should be shared, but how about the little things that come up? — Loving Grandmother
Dear Grandmother: Generally, grandparents should make their best efforts to adhere to discipline guidelines laid down by the parents.
That having been said, when the children are with you, you are (in effect) “in loco parentis” — in place of the parent. This means that you should use your own best judgment, without directly or deliberately undermining the parents.
I diagnose this NOT as a discipline issue with the parents of a 5-year-old, but as a tattle issue with an older sibling.
You should very gently remind this older brother, “OK, Mr. Tattle McTattlemuch, when you guys are with me, I’m in charge of treats and punishments. And because we are a team, if one of us doesn’t get treats, then none of us get treats.
So, until your parents say so, we’re not going to have our daily ice cream scoop. But we’ll have other sorts of good things. Have you ever eaten fruit kabobs off of a skewer and dipped in yogurt? It’s really good. But the deal is that you don’t get to remind me about your brother’s punishment. Because we’re a team here ... and I’m the coach.”
Then you look your little dudes straight in the eyes and ask, “Who is the coach? I can’t hear you...” etc., until they both get the message that Coach Grammy is in charge.
Dear Amy: I am an employer seeking to hire a new employee.
I have been very disappointed when applicants confirm an interview and are then no-shows.
Sometimes they respond that they were in a car accident, a child is in the hospital, or that an accident on the highway prevented them from arriving.
Then they ask to re-schedule.
Other times, they don’t show up, and there is no communication at all.
I do not know why they don’t email/call to say that they are not going to make their appointment.
I am grateful to know in advance that they would probably not be good employees, but I do not understand the behavior.
Our time is valuable, too, and it is disappointing.
Do they just need to apply for jobs to satisfy receiving unemployment benefits? — Frustrated Employer
Dear Frustrated: Yes, people receiving unemployment benefits are often expected to show evidence that they are actively searching for work.
And sometimes, people get hung up in traffic or have children whose needs overtake their day.
The unemployment rate is very low right now. And the experience of job searching has changed. Applicants often apply to multiple jobs at once and then — if they are lucky enough to score an in-person interview — have to juggle these commitments. I recently spoke with a hiring manager who waited for 20 minutes for the applicant to arrive. The manager said this wouldn’t have been a problem, if the person had apologized for being late. They didn’t.
Applicants should demonstrate professional behavior as well as common courtesy, calling if they are delayed or hope to reschedule.
Dear Amy: I loved your answer to “Desperate,” the med student who wanted to settle in a small town, while her longtime boyfriend craved city life.
I’d like to add my city, Tulsa, to the list of cities you mentioned that offer a great combination of small-town and metropolitan life. — Proud Tulsan
Dear Proud: I have spent a lot of time in Tulsa. I agree with you.