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Too Old To Be Sleeping with Grandma

Comment

Dear Annie: I am very close to my 12-year-old grandson. His family life is not good, and since his parents live nearby, the boy is at my house more often than not.

The problem is, he started sleeping with me when he was a baby and still does it. I have addressed this issue several times and told him he's too old to crawl into bed with Grammie. But he cries and pleads with me, saying how much he loves me, and that he wouldn't be able to sleep otherwise. I always give in, because deep down, I'm happy to have him with me.

My husband sleeps in another room due to health issues. He definitely thinks the boy should be sleeping in his own room, and we've had several arguments over this issue. This is such a stress on me every night. Please give me some advice. — Grammie

Dear Grammie: Your home is a safe haven for your grandson, but when it comes to the sleeping arrangements, it is selfish to put your needs above his. You know he should be sleeping in his own bed, but your passive encouragement allows him to continue the current setup. Yes, he will be temporarily unhappy if you stop, but a grandmother (or parent) who truly cares about the boy's welfare would be willing to tolerate his negative reaction for the greater benefit of his emotional independence. He is old enough to understand why you think this is best.

Please talk to the boy's pediatrician about transitioning him to his own bed. It will take time, and there will undoubtedly be some backsliding, but we urge you to persist until he can sleep on his own. You won't regret it.

Dear Annie: My 13-year-old son has autism and anxiety issues, severe expressive and receptive language delays, and profound sensory issues. Bright lights, loud sounds and large crowds can overwhelm him. Many things that we take for granted, such as getting in an elevator or going to the grocery store, took years for him to accomplish.

And it truly took a village of dedicated family, friends, teachers and therapists, along with sheer luck that he has grown and developed to this point.

He loves life and wants to be involved, have friends and participate. He is simply a joy.

Recently, my family traveled to visit my sister. My son still has anxiety about flying, and the airlines allow us to pre-board. The problem was the other travelers who made snide remarks and gave us nasty looks. I'd like to make a plea to the public: Please do not judge others. My son may look totally "normal" and healthy on the outside, but inside, the daily struggles he encounters can be overwhelming. It takes just as much energy to be nice as it does to be mean-spirited. You have no way of knowing what the person next to you is going through, and one small gesture of kindness can make a difference. — Any Mom

Dear Mom: Well said. We wish people would train themselves to think generous thoughts before making assumptions that lead to being unkind. Most of us do not mean to be cruel and would be appalled to realize we have been.

Dear Annie: I agree with your advice to "Losing My Religion," whose wife was always late for church, that he should go on his own. But I don't think he should save her a seat. Knowing there is a place saved for her will only enable her to continue her inconsiderate behavior. She should pay the consequences of her tardiness. — L.

Dear L.: We think having to get to church on her own is punishment enough. There's no point in creating a reason to gossip about their marriage.

Dear Readers: Today is Administrative Professionals Day. If you have assistants who make your job easier, please let them know how much they are appreciated.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

48 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 - I don't have kids; know nothing about them. But maybe begin a process of teaching him to camp in his own room or yard with a tent and sleeping bags and other gear, maybe invite a friend? part of growing up, not just banishment from grandma's room.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Mary Lynn
Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:23 PM
Re LW#1-----
I too don't think it's a really good idea for him to be sleeping in your bed-------but the bigger issue, which you should be addressing, is his lousy home life and the fact that he feels the need to be in the bed with you or he cannot sleep. Have you considered, since he's at your home much of the time anyway, taking custody of him? Or at least letting him live with you full-time? Would his parents allow that? Or at least trying to get him some help in the form of counseling? It's very possible that with some security in the rest of his life, in time he'll be fine with sleeping in his own bed. Right now you are probably the only security he has. Sounds like you're all he has to cling to, and he literally does that.
Comment: #2
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:26 PM
Lw1- I do not see a problem with him sleeping with his grandma and find it a bit judgemental of the annies to assume that he will not be independent just because he cosleeps with Grandma. plenty of cultures co sleep to a late age and their kids are alright and independent. If grandma wants to help the boy then she should treat the problem not the symptom. He is doing because he needs a sense of security that he is lacking at home. She should talk to the parents about the boy joining a sport or karate or some other activity to help boost the kids confidence and independence, without immediately severing his feeling of security by cosleeping. The more confidence he gains, the less he will want to cosleep. Also granny should talk to the parents about him perhaps seeing a counselor to address his lacking of feeling secure, because for him to cosleep at this age and have a difficult family life is a bit of a red flag and there may be deeper issues in his home life that he may need counseling for. Grandma should talk to the grandchild to make sure he is okay and safe at his home.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Sun
Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:39 PM
Re LW#2----
I agree it would be nice if people would consider that there may be a reason for someone's behavior that they have no clue about. I would be interested to know specifically what he was doing that prompted the 'snide remarks and nasty looks'.
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I have mixed feelings about a child with special needs acting up in public, because it depends totally on to what extent they are acting up. I know I was on a plane once where a child behind me repeatedly jumped up and down in his seat, kicked the back of MY seat, kept grabbing the back of my hair, threw his toys into my seat, and screamed during the entire flight. He looked to be about 10, maybe. All the sympathy in the world couldn't keep me from secretly wishing they'd stop the plane and put him off. I gritted my teeth and didn't say anything, but I noticed the flight attendant saying quietly to individual passengers close to him, after he and his mom left the plane, that she apologized for the 'inconvenience'.
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I'm unsure as to at what point the comfort of the many should override the rights of someone like that child, but it was awfully close. We've had this discussion here before, and it gets hot and heavy, I know, but when does it become a situation of "You go cope with your child, and stop expecting everyone else to?" Have no idea if this child fits the category, because we don't know exactly WHAT he was doing on the plane. Life isn't fair, but sometimes you really do have to shoulder the load yourself and not expect everyone else to help you lift it. Without knowing details, don't know if this is one of those times.
Comment: #4
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:40 PM
Re LW#3------
With very few exceptions, I'm not much on saving seats. I pretty much think that someone who took the time to get there first should get the choice place, not someone who decided to piddle along knowing that someone else would make sure they got a good seat. Gripes me in crowded movie theaters, for example, when someone comes in and saves five places for his friends who come in late and tromp over everyone's feet after the movie has started. If I get there first and a seat is vacant, I want to be able to sit in it.
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(I'm also not much on continually late people, but that's a personal thing------my husband could never be on time to anything in his life. Only thing he ever managed to do on time was to get to work, since he knew if he didn't there would be a really bad consequence. When it was just going someplace with me, not so much. We had many a heated 'discussion' about that.)
Comment: #5
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:47 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the second letter on 12 February 2014, and was also discussed on 21 March 2014.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:30 PM
Re: Mary Lynn This is a really great idea! the tent is fun, and with a guest the boy will want to act all manly and not be sleeping with his grammy. Another idea, since you can't do the tent thing every night), might be to put the boy in his own bed and grammy snuggle him or read to him until he falls asleep. Then she slips out and goes to her own bed. (and locks her bedroom door!). Not meaning she should be sneaky about this. She should tell him she will stay with him until he falls asleep. He may try to avoid falling asleep, so bring a good book to read.
Comment: #7
Posted by: sarah stravinska
Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:16 PM
Re: jennylee All the child in question "did" was to be given pre-boarding with his family. People who saw two parents and a child who were not visibly disabled being permitted to get on board ahead of them "made snide remarks" and gave the family "nasty looks." It wasn't the child who was acting out--it was adult strangers who were judging him and his family, and felt entitled to be rude.
Comment: #8
Posted by: LizzieDavies
Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:37 AM
LW1 - I don't think she can talk to the boy's doctor because she isn't his legal guardian. I'm pretty sure if I called up my nephew's doctor and wanted to talk to him about something regarding my nephew, he would tell me he couldn't because I'm not his parent or legal guardian.

It sounds like the boy is yearning for comfort and security and who can blame him with a bad home life. But at what age will it stop? Will he be 16 and still want to sleep with grandma? IMO, I would go to a counselor and ask them. They may be able to help with a transition. Good luck.

LW2 - People are always going to judge. You'll never stop them so just learn to ignore them.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Michelle
Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:29 AM
LW1: At age 12 the boy needs to be sleeping on his own. That is WAY too old to be sleeping with Granny. I like the idea of setting up a fun area like a tent in the separate room. Granny needs to put the child first, rather than giving in to HER need to having him sleeping with her.

LW2: I've been on lots of flights and seen lots of pre-boarding, and never heard people remark on the folks getting on. Most people are looking at their phones or chatting. It's not like the pre-boarders are getting to travel first class or taking up all the seats.

I suspect the "dirty looks" are in the minds of the parents. Someone may glance over and wonder why they are pre-boarding, but that's normal, and the parents should just move on and ignore it. It almost sounds like the parents are expecting a gold star for traveling with their child, and guess what, at an airport, they aren't going to get that.
Comment: #10
Posted by: dave
Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:22 AM
LW1: Since the grandson is approaching puberty, time is of the essence to get him out of grandma's bed. Inviting a friend over is the best suggestion that's been offered here. Addressing the home life and adoption would take time they don't have. He needs to sleep in his own bed ASAP.

LW2: I never understood the desire of people to board first. I would prefer to get off first. I prefer to trust the authorities that allow early boarding and the issuance of special parking stickers. Although many people cheat, many more have problems that aren't readily apparent. As individuals, we as a whole need to choose our battles more wisely.

LW3: If he doesn't save her a seat, then she wouldn't go at all.
Comment: #11
Posted by: JustWinBaby
Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:23 AM
Oh dear. The sleeping with adults dilemma... and after last night's brawl!

LW1: It seems like everyone, with the exception of the boy himself, agree that the boy should not sleep with granny anymore. The LW herself admits that she knows it's basically wrong, but that she enjoys having him there with her.

While I'm sure the dirty minded amongst the BTL will be screaming about puberty etc., the bigger issue to me is the boy's lack of security. It's also a matter of HABIT for him to sleep in the same bed with his grandmother, and habits are hard to break.

There are many issues at play here, the difficult home life that leads this boy to spend more time with his grandparents than he does with his own parents, the grandparents co-dependency on the boy, and the boy's own lack of self-esteem. Frankly, this is a recipe for disaster and unless the family addresses ALL of these issues, things are likely going to get much worse as this kid gets into his teenage years. Kids like this are RIPE for gang activity, and don't tell me that gangs only exist in inner cities and that they are all organized. Gangs exist EVERYWHERE.

My advice then is similar than to some that is already BTL. Definitely get this kids into some kind of sports, karate would be great discipline for him. Kids at age 12 need to get physically tired every day and many schools don't even have PE anymore, so get him outside and working. Look into getting him a male role model closer to his own age. Is there an uncle or a family friend that can meet with him once a week or something to talk to him?

FWIW, when I was that age, my parents used to send all of us out to the family farm to work every summer and let me tell you, after a day of working on the farm, you fell asleep the minute you sat down!

Now, to address the other side of this dependency which is GRAMMIE.

LW, you know that this is wrong, and you are stressed by this. And the boy gives you comfort. I'm not going to come down on you. One of the saddest days of my life in a way was when I moved the crib out of our room into CC's own room. It felt like someone was taking a part of my body away from me. But I knew that it was not only good for CC to have her own space, it was imperative for ME to separate from her as well. Since you say that your husband sleeps in another room because of health problems, you are probably substituting your grandson for your husband and he doesn't like that either.

So my advice for Grammie is kind of simplistic, but I think it would help. Get a DOG. As I write this, my dog is sleeping about three inches away from me in the office and she always sleeps with me at night. Yes, it's annoying when a 15 pound terrier takes up the entire bed but I know she's always there. She's also been a phenomenal watch dog, but that is another part of her coolness. I think Grammie, that you are lonely and need some companionship, and a dog would be a great thing for you AND for your grandson. He is at an age where he can take the dog for long walks (again to wear himself out physically) and will bond with the dog. Heck if HE starts sleeping with the dog he might stop wanting to sleep with you!

Best of luck, this is a messy situation, but you care and that's half the battle.
Comment: #12
Posted by: nanchan
Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:29 AM
LW3: Sounds to me like the original LW's wife needs some preachin'. Just sayin'.
Comment: #13
Posted by: nanchan
Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:41 AM
Re: dave
Re:LW2
Before you accuse someone of having visual and auditory (you missed the snide remarks comment in the letter) hallucinations, you might walk a mile in their shoes. I know a few parents of children with ASD and they have experienced similar situations. It is very easy to assume there's nothing wrong with someone who does not have any obvious physical or mental disabilities. I used to judge when I was younger but now I try to assume there's something I can't see.
Case in point, my DH witnessed a woman who lost her leg in combat get into a mobile cart at a store. Another customer made a comment about perfectly healthy people using those carts. The woman pulled up her pant leg and said, "I'm missing my left leg!" Yes, people will comment and, yes, people will give dirty looks.
Comment: #14
Posted by: LibraryKat
Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:23 AM
Re: jennylee (4)

I agree with you and with Dave. I highly doubt a lot of people just gave nasty looks to this family for quietly sitting on the plane.

When my father passed away, my brother and I were pre-boarded along with another woman. She had lost her husband. No one looked at us strangely, and about ten minutes into the flight, we were all moved to first class without us asking. Again, no looks. We were grieving and having the extra space to spread out and not have to deal with the discomfort of the flight really helped. I'm still friends with the woman.

The fact is that there are MANY reasons why people board early.
Comment: #15
Posted by: nanchan
Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:32 AM
LW1: I think, in our culture anyway, 12 is getting to be too old to be sleeping in the same bed as a parent or grandparent. LW also pretty much acknowledges this, and if she's getting the sense it's not right, she's certainly going to be projecting that to her grandson as well. I think finding a way to gradually wean him off this habit is probably best for all concerned. That's not to say that grandma can't continue to be a supportive and helpful role model in his life, or that they can't find other ways to express their caring for each other.

LW2: Of course, it's not good to grumble at people who are pre-boarding, but I think some of the blame rests solidly with the airlines as well. Travel can be such a difficult and draining process, and it's not as if most airlines figure out how to make it easier on the travelers -- they are mostly interested in making it easier (and cheaper) on themselves. A little more thoughtful organization of the entire "waiting to board" process would probably calm nerves quite a bit. And I'd suspect that even in LW's case, those who were grumbling weren't *really* focused on the LW and her son, but more on their own discomfort, tiredness, and possible jetlag... and it's just being expressed towards an inappropriate target.

LW3: I think there are pros and cons to saving the seat versus not. Part of the question is whether or not the wife really is as religious as the husband; maybe she just would prefer not to go at all. Additionally, what's wrong with sitting at the back? Then nobody would really notice if he was alone, or if his wife arrived late, either way. I'm pretty sure that sitting more to the front doesn't make you any holier. So there are plenty of ways the original LW could resolve this, both for his own comfort and to resolve a stress point in his relationship.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:51 AM
LW2: I agree with LibraryKat (#14) – they very well might not be kidding when they say they've gotten dirty looks and heard rude comments because they thought they got "special treatment" to accommodate their son. Even if they are aware that the son has ASD issues, their grumbling is because of their own stress –- jet lag, sitting somewhere they might not want to sit, other stresses relating to flying, etc. -– and they feel the need to take it out on an innocent person.

I just wonder if some of these same people would take it out on someone who has boarded early because, say, they have a heart condition or need to carry around an oxygen tank? Or have other handicaps that aren't visible?

It appears that the LW is handling the situation as best she can, and that's all that can be asked for.

LW3: Gossip? By not sitting together because the wife is perpetually late? She needs to realize that the world doesn't revolve around her needs all the time. That seat that the original LW's wife asked her to save might be needed for someone else, and he might want to sit where he is for a reason.

This topic is getting a little long in the tooth, so I'm going to suggest that the original LW talk to the pastor about his wife's tardiness, and let him handle the wife if he feels the need to. Perhaps he can encourage her to show up on time.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:04 AM
I don't know why LW1 is having such a problem getting her grandson out of her bed. He's 12, not 6. A 12 year old is more than old enough to understand that he's past the age of sleeping with his grandmother.
With regard to LW2, If he does kick the seat back, as described by jenny, then they need to make sure they're at the front of the section where there are no seats to kick. Mind you, that's where the toilets usually are, so perhaps that's not ideal either. If the passengers are being snide just because they're pre-boarding, the there's nothing you can do about that. Air travel is stressful for everyone these days and tends to bring out the worst in people.
I agree with the poster who suggested boarding last instead of first. We do that every time we fly, on purpose. We don't have to try to squeeze past people who are trying to shove steamer trunks into the overhead compartment, most people are already settled into their seats... it's just way better.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Seabeast2
Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:05 AM
LW1: Agree with everyone else pretty much. If this continues to be an issue, I'd suggest referring him to a psychologist and see if there's other underlying issues.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:05 AM
LW1: I think this should be done in steps, not just a cold cutoff, and the suggestions other posters have given are great. She may be able to talk to A pediatrician about transitioning a 12 to his own bed without violating privacy laws, or there are probably books out there written by pediatricians that would walk her through it.

LW3: I would also do this one in two stages. The first time I left her behind I would save a seat. If she does show up, she is going to be pretty steamed, and the fact that they are sitting separately, and she's starring daggers at him could get gossip mills going unnecessarily. If the lateness continues, I would let her know in advance that a seat will no longer be saved for her.

As to airplane boarding, whether I want to get on first or last depends on whether I want to use the overhead compartment. If not, I would rather get on last and off first.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:36 AM
LW2, I have found a quick response gives the rude ones a start. "My son has autism and can not help himself, thank you for understanding." Thou his biggest issue is he repeats himself.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Lora
Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:40 AM
Re: jennylee

I can understand the frustration of people who have no experience with autistic or special needs children. It is always upsetting to witness the bad behavior of children in public while their parents stand by and appear to do nothing. As you go about your day to day life it would be wise to remember that you have no idea the frustrations, fears and difficulties these caregivers go through on a day to day basis. As I understood it, the letter writer said that she and her family received bad looks for being allowed to board the plane early when her child and I'm assuming the rest of her family did not appear to have any physical disabilities. That small favor from the airline cannot make up for the lifetime of work this parent has ahead of her. Dealing with bullies along side well-meaning but ignorant people who tell her about "cures" for autism. While the greater part of the world raises their children to be set free and make their own way in the world, this mother is just hoping to do her best for her child with no expectations. Her small victories like being able to travel without incident need to be celebrated and applauded for all the work they've done to get to that point, not condemned.
Comment: #22
Posted by: MTC
Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:58 AM
LW1—I'm waiting for sickos among us to start claiming that ‘grammie' has some sort of sexual thing for her grandson. You have this problem because you can't seem to say ‘No' to your grandson. The solution to this problem is simple. You need to tell your grandson point blank that he's become too old to sleep in your bed. Then without arguing or bargaining you put him in his own bed and turn out the lights. When the boy throws the inevitable tantrum, you put in your earplugs and let him bawl until he tires himself out. If your grandson should creep into your bed during the night, wake him up and walk him back to his own bed. Rinse and repeat.

LW2—“I'd like to make a plea to the public: Please do not judge others.” Hahahahahaha! Yeah, good luck with that! Look honey, since your son looks normal on the outside, why on earth would you expect the general public to anticipate the myriad sensory disorders that your son apparently has? All they see is an entitled family who gets to pre-board. They couldn't care less why. Trust me, when you're tired from traveling and weary from being treated like cattle or a common criminal at the Security checkpoint, you're going to be crabby and judgmental too. My advice is to either put up with it or don't travel. Your son may as well get a good dose of reality.

LW3—Personally, if my partner left for church without me, I'd find something else to do that morning. I can't imagine anything more bland and uninteresting then sitting in a room with a bunch of holier than thou sheeple.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Chris
Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:59 AM
LW1: I'm with Sun on this one. I can't imagine why anyone cares where the boy sleeps. When I was that age I used to love it when my parents would let me take my blanket and pillow and sleep on their floor.

I have a very close family and my son is 13 and my daughter is 15. Every now and then one of them will ask to sleep with either my wife or me and we don't mind at all. A few weeks ago my daughter saw a scary movie with her friends, against my wife's advice, but alas...anyway, at bedtime she wanted to sleep with my wife and my son hollered in from his room, "you can sleep with me, dad!" So my daughter slept with her mom and I slept with my son and it was a change of pace and kind of fun for all of us.

When we do this it's a chance for to talk about things that you normally couldn't get them to talk about, especially at their ages. They like little quizzes I give them, like "name your three favorite songs, and why are they your favorites?" They normally fall asleep quickly when I do that.

I've just never understood the hangup over kids sleeping with adults when everyone is in their PJs.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Gerhardt
Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:19 AM
LW1- I like many of the helpful comments about how to get the boy to stop needing to sleep in grandma's bed, but I would also add that grandma should have a talk with the boy, during the daytime, and ask him how he thinks they could accomplish the goal of getting him to sleep alone. Maybe a transitional object, like a blanket or stuffed toy would help. Even at his age, an object to hold onto might be just what he needs to be able to relax and get to sleep. I liked the suggestion about karate classes, or something to boost his self confidence. Also, the physical activity idea would tire him out. Having a friend over might help, if he has such a friend.
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In any case, discussing it with him will insure that the ideas come from him, so he would have a stake in implementing the chosen ideas. Maybe several things would be chosen, including grandma reading to him until he falls asleep. Maybe some soothing music, played very low would keep distracting thoughts away. Maybe a dog in the room would make him feel protected.
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Maybe the boy does not see it as a problem; maybe it is just the natural desire to hold on to familiar things of his childhood. Grandma could help him see that it is time to transition to a new stage. Perhaps a 'grown up' privilege could be given in exchange for sleeping alone, like pushing bedtime back 30 minutes (if he now goes to bed early), or a trip to the mall for some new clothes or a game, when he has been successful at sleeping alone. Another idea is to have him help decorate the room he sleeps in; new paint on the walls of his choosing, new linens of his choice. That would give him ownership of place. Since he spends most of his time at grandma's house, it seems reasonable.
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And grandma, of course, must be kind, but firm. Helping him to grow up is what we do to help our children, even when it is hard for us. Grandma wrote in because she wants what is best for the boy, and she is wonderful for caring about him so much that she spends a lot of time with him, providing him with security. She is a great blessing in his life.
Comment: #25
Posted by: Patty Bear
Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:19 AM
LW1 -

You'll have to figure it out, because no one seems to want this kid sleeping with grandma, even you. It'll be tough at first but he's 12, old enough to learn.

LW2 -

Call them on it. You know, a resigned smile and a quick "he's got autism and getting on the plane can be a challenge for him". If he's acting up, add a quick apology. Once you start talking to someone, they see you as a person and most of them will feel bad about their initial reaction and will think twice next time. The airport is a particularly stressful place for everyone so you should also forgive them their mean reaction; these people are also tired with long travel ahead of them in a tin can in the sky and aren't on their best behaviour. They want to board too, and may be more irritated that they aren't boarding yet, vs. being mad that you are boarding first.
Comment: #26
Posted by: Zoe
Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:41 AM
You know what's funny, folks? That we Homo sapiens - aka "wise brains" can't figure out how to get a 12-year-old boy to stop sleeping with his grandma - and no other creature in the entire animal kingdom would have the slightest problem. No wringing hands and worrying about self esteem and buying a dog and consulting a pediatrician and reading a book, etc., etc. The child (heck, he's about to enter puberty if he hasn't already) would be told "this is your room, you sleep here now" and that's the end of it. But it's not the end of it BECAUSE grandma just can't stop over-thinking it. Chris had it right.

And really - who on this board hasn't been somewhere in public mulling over an annoying thought and then realized that a stranger looking at you might interpret a "nasty look"? And even if you are getting supposed "nasty looks" for boarding first - I still think it's mostly imaginary - so what? You want them to stop? Turn your back.

Let the woman get herself to church if she wants to go. Good grief.

Comment: #27
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:55 AM
My daughter has autism. It was a long road to get her from low-functioning to high-functioning. She had sensory integration disorder. I was told by her therapists to desensitize her by exposing her to the problem sources. That included those security systems that use a higher than can be heard noise. She would go berserk. And I got stares. I so wanted to say "Would you rather be paying the government for her group home when she's grown, or would you rather have her paying your social security with a regular job?" Because that's what it came down to, exposure would mean better chance of high functioning, no exposure meant no progress.

Of course I guess I was too enthusiastic. Now I'm finding that employers are biased against an adult with the functioning of a 14 year old, brains of a 20 year old, partial social understanding and no filter. According to the ADA, they have to give her a chance if she only needs reasonable accommodations, and the only accommodation she needs is an "Oh, that's just so-and-so" attitude from co-workers, but instead they call her rude and won't hire her. I'm about ready to call the EEOC.
Comment: #28
Posted by: Krystyne
Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:20 AM
Re: Chris (#23)

Once again, I reiterate my point – and yes, I do understand that the ones making these comments are themselves tired and cranky and just want the flight to get underway:

"I just wonder if some of these same people would take it out on someone who has boarded early because, say, they have a heart condition or need to carry around an oxygen tank? Or have other handicaps that aren't visible?" Wonder if those people are "entitled"? Or if it's just the family with the boy, whom others see simply as a naughty little boy, who is entitled?

Point is, these people -– i.e., people who have circumstances, from children with various disorders to those with legit handicaps and illnesses -– have rights to travel, too. Yes, they well could have decided not to travel, but they have, so be it. And I am sure the LW has (or had) the patience of Job, and yes, there's always the chance she's worrying about nothing, but it's wearing on her and hence why she's written in.
Comment: #29
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:30 AM
Re LW2: I was a little hard on LW2 because of the comment at the end about looking for a "small gesture of kindness". Which sounds a lot different from "don't glare at us". I'm not sure what LW2 is looking for, but she seems to think that people should pick up on the struggles of her kid and do something extra special for him. That just isn't going to happen. And I'm sorry, I'm sure someone, somewhere, has made a nasty comment about preboarders, but I don't think it's the norm. Most people just don't care. If someone gives her a look like "why are you preboarding" she can just plain ignore it, which would be the best thing for her child. Getting all upset probably doesn't help her son calm down.
Comment: #30
Posted by: dave
Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:03 AM
Re: dave

I agree with you. I don't think she's hallucinating the scowls. I just think that all kinds of people at airports are scowling because traveling sucks and being at the airport waiting to board makes people grumpy, and she's making it about her kid.
Comment: #31
Posted by: Zoe
Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:17 AM
Re: jennylee #5
"-my husband could never be on time to anything in his life. Only thing he ever managed to do on time was to get to work, since he knew if he didn't there would be a really bad consequence."
I have mentioned this before, my friend Shirley is like that. At first, you'd think she couldn,t be on time anywhere to save her life...until you realise that she does make it on time for pharmacentical studies (wjhere she gets docked 50 bucks for being three minutes late, if not thrown out altogether), and to Tam tam, whre she'll lose her space if she's ONE MINUTE late. She made it on time for both =at the last possible minute and saved by the bell, but on time.

These people know how to be on time and hey're prfectly capable of it. It,s a control thing, and an attention-getting device.In Shirley's case, there is also an element of self-sabotaging.

@Dave #10
Unless they're audio-hallucinating, the snide remarks won't be all in their minds. ;-D

Comment: #32
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:27 AM
LW 2 Why would anyone want to get on a plane any earlier than they have to?? I hate being cramped up with strangers in a tiny space. I've never seen anyone give anyone else a dirty look for pre-boarding. All the seats are assigned and I never have a problem with my carry on bag. I think the LW is super sensitive and probably projecting her feelings. Everyone I ever see at the airport is involved with their electronics and ignoring everyone else.
Comment: #33
Posted by: locake
Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:54 AM
Re: dave (#30)

The comment about wanting others to pick up her struggles -- now that you mention it, maybe. After all, it must be stressful enough dealing with an ASD child. I will agree that she's not likely to get sympathy, at least from everyone. And I will also agree that it may not be as prevalent as she believes -- a few might, but not everyone. If it is that bad, then I don't know of a good solution.
Comment: #34
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:01 AM
Re: Krystyne

Seriously? Call the EEOC because your daughter is unable to function normally (and yes, that means having a "filter") in the work environments you want her to work in???

What you SHOULD do is look into appropriate career choices for her. Not ONE SINGLE PERSON ON THE PLANET is able to do every single job there is out there. We all have our talents and the trick is to find what they are and where we can use them the best way.

For example, I am not a finance person, it's not my forte. Should I sue every company I apply for because they won't hire me because I don't have a background and am dyslexic so I transpose numbers? NO! What I should do and what I HAVE done is look at what my strengths are and use those to the best of my ability.

That type of attitude is why people are outsourcing so many positions away from the US. Please, for your daughter's sake, get her to a career counselor and try to come up with some appropriate job options for her and stop blaming companies for not wanting to hire her. Not one of us gets hired for every job we apply for, and to complain about it like a helicopter parent who's child is SO SPECIAL just sends a bad message to your daughter as well.
Comment: #35
Posted by: nanchan
Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:09 AM
LW 1 Grandma should start sleeping in the nude. That would get her grandson out of her bed really quick.
Comment: #36
Posted by: locake
Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:21 AM
LW1- I wonder if the disgruntled looks you see on the faces of your fellow travelers are really directed at you, or they are random scowls that are so prevalent in the airport? Traveling is not a great experience, and I probably have had a negative expression on my face while in line to board. In my case, it would be because when the gate attendant announces who is next, I usually cannot understand a word they are saying. Hence, the frowny face. Try to imagine that people with sour expressions are not directing them at you, because maybe they are not. Smile at them; sometimes that will snap them out of their reverie, and they may smile back.
.
Another thing occurred to me- since airlines now allow passengers to pay money to jump the line, maybe people are expressing disapproval of that policy, and do not realize that you are getting preferential treatment because you have a special needs child, and not because you paid to jump to the front of the line. But in any case, put a smile or at least a pleasant expression on your face, and you might get the same back from others. Travel is usually not fun in this respect; no need to look for reasons to be angry.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Patty Bear
Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:34 AM
LW2: I'm with the people who think the LW is making too much of (or imagining) "dirty looks"; I've never seen this to be the case. Are you looking around for other people's reactions? Or, if they are right in your way, and they are annoyed that they have to move to let you through, then they are the problem. The people who rush forward the minute boarding starts - even though they might be in the last group called - should be called on it. I don't know how many times I've been in an early group and had to say EXCUSE ME to get past the early-rushers. LW, there's nothing you need to do except say "pardon me, we need to get through" (and maybe "your blocking the way of the people who are being called"). There is no reason to explain why you are in the first group to board to anyone, period.
Comment: #38
Posted by: Steve C
Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:35 AM
Re: Patty Bear #37
Good point about the fact they may be upset because they think you have paid to get ahead of them (although I guess they could also pay, if they wanted to)-----I don't like that policy either. (Bad enough that I can't afford first class, LOL.) And of course, there's always the possibility that they just don't like airports/planes/air travel in general, and are generally grouchy.
.
But I sure would like to know what the 'snide comments' were, because I know it's easy to imagine someone is glaring at you just because they look angry, but an actual comment is something else. Wish she'd said WHAT the comments were. I'd also like to know if she's just upset because of things that happened as they were boarding, or if the comments/glares also went on DURING the flight.
.
But whatever it is, the best she can do is ignore, not fret till it ruins the trip. I expect her son can sense if she is upset, and it won't help him any. Best way she can teach him to deal with things that happen in public is to deal with them calmly herself, he is going to be sensitive to her mood. (I assume the LW got safely to her sister's and they had a good visit, that is the main thing.)
Comment: #39
Posted by: jennylee
Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:01 PM
@Maggie, fair enough, but those "other" animals don't have the internet or indoor plumbing either. Frankly, I think Homo Sapiens still gets the better end of the stick, there!
Comment: #40
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:27 PM
@Maggie, also, I *only* wander around in public thinking the happiest of thoughts and wishing everyone around me the bestest most wonderfulest of days, so I don't think anyone would ever think I gave them a nasty look at all. (Mostly they just look at me sideways and try to edge as far away from the crazy smiling guy as they can!)
Comment: #41
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:29 PM
Krystyne - At my place of work we have a janitorial staff who are all employees of an organization called Hope. They all have various challenges. They are overseen by someone trained to work with special needs individuals. We also have a brilliant programmer who has Tourette's Syndrome. He's been working here for at least 10 years, and while he's not at all social, I'm told that his work is outstanding. Your daughter CAN get a job. She just needs to find the right employer.
Comment: #42
Posted by: PuaHone
Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:44 PM
I got grandchildren (granddaughters) but I raised sons. Granddaughters have their own bedroom when they come to my house. Suggest this grandma seriously get a room created at her house for him, esp since she says he is there alot and his home life is not good. If things follow as they might, he might ask permission of parents to spend more time or stay there. It is unhealthy on all aspects to think of this PUBESCENT YOUNG MAN as a small child. Yes, he is missing healthy nurturing (apparently) from his home life. But to fill in the cracks, you are disregarding the fact you are his grandmother and not a social worker, therapist. YOU cannot protect him from the outside world with "cuddling through a situation". BUT as you present it, he will know of no other way. Dysfunctional does not go away just cause you want it to. You need to search out for experts to help get through this. If you see this as his only issue, you are wrong. There are things that have led it to your 'cuddle bed' that have to be taken care of.
Sit in a living room with grandpa/grandma, do caring things with the grandson. If grandpa's health does not allow it, ask a neighbor to help with 'guy things'. Grab a fishing pole and head to a stream or the creek, take in a community or HS ball game, go bike riding, yard work, garden, toss a baseball with him. Do sharing/caring without having the 'snuggle bug thing". Hugs amongst your children/friends is fine to show. Just not in your bed.
Make it o.k. for him to fix his room the way he feels secure. Maybe an attachment of a stuffed animal.
Bottom line. You are the grandmother. Parents might come back at you with claims of other things happening if they so want you not in the child's life. It is for you to protect him. Not make it worse. He will appreciate it later.
Comment: #43
Posted by: Joyce/MN
Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:57 PM
LW1: I totally disagree with the annies - mostly because they're morons. You said it yourself that his home life is not good. He sleeps with you because he feels safe there. You cannot force a child to feel anything - the only thing you can do is project your crap onto them like the annies suggest. Let him continue sleeping with you and I guarantee when he feels safe and strong enough he will choose to sleep elsewhere.

LW2: You're wasting your time trying to change others. You have to learn to accept others as you are asking them to accept you. A lot of people are crap and you just have to learn to work around them.

LW3: Yes, no reason to create gossip. LMAO- annies so stupid.
Comment: #44
Posted by: Diana
Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:05 PM
nanchan ..just reading the days worth above, I like your idea of the dog. When a dog's area is set up, state that this is the dog's space, feeding area, safe area...and sleep area. But if the dog comes to sleep on the bed you sleep in, that is o.k.
Dog's habit of trying to sleep on the same bed whether or not grandson is there might create another issue...dog style. Our Allie pretty much roams and sleeps where she wants. Whether she pops the couch with college home son (previously when both were young pups) or she crawled up on the foot of my bed, or as now, chooses her blankie and puts it where ever she wants....

To those who remember conversation of my Allie, she is now 13 years old, debatable about how much time she has left, dealt with cancer surgery last fall. Hearing and vision an issue, but don't try to outsmart her. Her instincts of tracking perfect, knows where secrets are hid, still tells me at 6pm WHERE IS MY FOOD, knows where the treats are on the turntable and opens a Kerr jar faster than I can. And loveable, thinks my lap is hers (65#) and makes the best snuggle buddy for anyone!
Comment: #45
Posted by: Joyce/MN
Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:09 PM
LW1 - I do agree weaning him from sleeping in your bed is a good idea. When I was little and had nightmares or couldn't sleep, instead of crawling into bed with mom, she would take me back to my room and stay with me until I went back to sleep. So I always knew I could go get her when I needed her. Having friends over or creating a fun campsite in his room are good ideas too. And you could stay with him until he falls asleep. If he wakes up and wants to get into bed with you, take him back to his room, make him comfortable and stay with him until he falls asleep. I think this will help him feel safe and secure and feel like you still love him and care about him and you won't have to worry about abandonment issues. I know it's a little hard on you if you are an oldie grannie, but it will be worth his mental health in the end!
Comment: #46
Posted by: Mrs.C
Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:12 PM
Re: Joyce/MN (43)

Excellent point about the parents possibly using this against the grandparents in the future.

Comment: #47
Posted by: nanchan
Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:19 PM
Re: Joyce/MN (45)

I hear you about your Allie! My little S is 13 as well and didn't do so well after we moved to the new house at first. She stays very close to me when I'm home, and then when CC gets home stays close to her, and then when CC goes to bed, S comes into my room and sleeps. S keeps an eye on us girls and we love her so much.

Big hugs to Miss Allie for being good to you!
Comment: #48
Posted by: nanchan
Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:25 PM
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