Question

Grandchild Says “Don’t Embarrass Me!”

Question:

My grandson is 10. He used to love spending the night with my husband and I, and he would beg to stay longer. However, this weekend I told him I was going to volunteer in his class, and he said “don’t embarrass me.” I asked what that meant, and he said “act like you don’t know me.”

How should I proceed? Should I stop asking him to do things with us?

Response:

Those comments do hurt, but you have to consider the source- a 10-year-old boy.

You might bring up the topic again and find that he gives you a completely different answer as this is common with young preteen boys. If not, understand this: at this time in a child’s life, he or she is beginning to be less invested in the relationships with parents and grandparents and more interested in the development of peer relationships.

So, his response to you was likely motivated out of his desire for you to be liked by his peers. This is a fairly normal response from a boy of 10 years of age.

Normal does not mean “acceptable”, however, mainly because the comment communicated disrespect for you. Kids need to learn to show respect for their grandparents and that starts with their parents.

I encourage you to talk with your grandson’s parents and arrange a time when the two of you can talk with your grandson about the importance of showing respect to the trusted adult in his life and your desire to continue to be a part of his life.

Ask him how he would like you to spend time with him or how you can invest in his life going forward. It is ok for him to have some choices about how and when you interact with him.

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