This year I am hosting the holiday meal, and my Grandfather will be joining us. Here’s my concern. He is extremely rude and makes caustic remarks. For example, one year he turned to my Grandmother and said, “Hey old lady, get this recipe. I like it.” Another time he called my youngest son a “whiner” when he simply asked for more juice. Now that my children are older and can understand what Gramps is saying, I’m uncomfortable with his behavior. What should I do?
Grandpa in the House
Dear Grandpa in the House,
Whenever someone has a relative issue I’m always reminded of this saying: God gave us our relatives. Thank God we can choose our friends. Having said that, Grandpa’s coming to dinner. My suggestion is to speak up in those awkward situations since you’re no longer four years old, but a parent yourself. Depending on his remark, try humor.
For example, when Grandpa makes the “old lady” comment, say “Gee, Grandma, who is this old lady that Grandpa is talking about? Can’t be you, but I hope she’s a good cook!” In the case of the “whiner” remark, look at your son and say, “I’m glad you used your big boy voice to ask for more juice.” I know moments like this can put a damper on the day, but don’t let them. He’s an old coot who simply wants to be loved and appreciated — just like all of us. Perhaps you can catch Gramps doing something right, and let him know. Ask him about a favorite childhood memory and truly listen.