DEAR ANNIE: This is in response to the letter about grandkids not sending thank-you notes for gifts they receive. I was brought up to always say thank you, or to send a thank-you note. This not only shows appreciation but also it lets the sender know that the gift was received.
Forty-two years ago, I married a widower with three young boys. At the time, the twins were 6 and the older boy was 9. I started teaching these kids to follow this practice, too.
They are now all adults, and we have four grandchildren. Despite raising them to respond to presents and show appreciation, I find myself always having to ask the parents if the grandkids received a gift we sent them. I am very disappointed and upset that the importance of this, apparently, has not been passed down to the grandkids.
My husband says that this is “just the way this younger generation is,” but I believe everyone should be taught manners, no matter their age. Therefore, I keep reminding myself that, as parents, we are only responsible for the input and not the outcome of our children. But it still is upsetting. — Disappointed Grammy
DEAR DISAPPOINTED GRAMMY: It is understandable that you are frustrated with your grandchildren’s lack of manners. It’s not too late to remind your children about how important it was for them to write thank-you letters, and the value of passing on this skill. Maybe this reminder will help them change their behavior and their instruction to the next generation.
You are right that at some point you just have to acknowledge that you did the best you could as a parent and hope that some of the good habits and manners that you taught them trickle down.
DEAR ANNIE: “Not Feeling the Christmas Spirit” should tell her family no, she won’t be hosting Christmas this year, and that she won’t be guilted into doing so. I, too, have the largest house in my family and was expected to host not only Christmas but Thanksgiving, birthdays and any other occasion that warranted a celebration.
If she doesn’t say no now, this could turn into an annual event. People might be upset, but you were right when you said that if she gives in, she will be resentful and can only blame herself. — Been in Her Shoes
DEAR BEEN IN HER SHOES: Setting clear boundaries from the beginning can prevent lots of fights and resentment down the line. Thank you for your great letter.
DEAR ANNIE: I was a smoker when my daughter was expecting her first child. She gently told me that if I was going to stay with them and help out, I couldn’t smoke. I quit two days before he was born, and he will be 10 years old at the end of this month. None of us could have been happier, and I am much healthier. You will never regret quitting. — Happier Nonsmoking Grandmother
DEAR HAPPIER: Congratulations on your newfound health. Quitting cigarettes is very challenging, and I can’t think of a better reason than to spend time with your grandchild. Imagine what you would have missed during the past 10 years. Thank you for sharing your story.