Dear Amy: My 25-year-old granddaughter and her 1- 1/2 -year-old son have been staying with me for a few weeks while waiting to get into an apartment.
My granddaughter yells at her son a lot, and she uses foul language with him, including the “F word,” etc.
Am I overreacting in thinking that this is wrong, and that he’ll soon pick up these words?
I don’t like the yelling. But I really don’t like to hear her swear at him.
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She is pretty angry with him at times, and he really doesn’t mind her very well. She doesn’t seem to pay much attention to what I say, either. Your advice?
Old-fashioned Grandma in OR
Dear Old-fashioned: Parents have been tempted to yell and swear at their toddlers since the dawn of time. But thoughtful parents don’t do this, because this kind of adult behavior is harmful for children. It is verbal abuse.
Your grandchild is at the dawn of learning language and communication. He is constantly keyed in to his mother, because she is the source of everything in his world.
The reason he doesn’t “mind” her is because she is offering him loud, confusing and negative messages. And – if he is desperate for her attention, he will figure out ways to get it, including being naughty.
The worst way to deal with a toddler’s tantrum is for the parent to have a tantrum. When he picks up on his mother’s foul language, she will either laugh at it or punish him for it (perhaps both). How confusing for him.
Getting down on his level, making eye contact and speaking clearly and softly to her child will have a greater impact on his behavior than yelling and swearing.
Make sure the child has books and puzzles and blocks to stack. He should eat healthy meals and take two naps a day. If he is healthy, rested and stimulated in appropriate ways – this child will thrive, and she will see a difference in his behavior.
Check into local Head Start programs in your area. Head Start is a miracle, and their toddler program has shown many young children – and their parents – a new way to behave, learn and grow. It could be a game-changer for this young family.
Dear Amy: My husband and I have been together for 15 years. He is 22 years my senior. For years now, he has not even tried to have an intimate relationship with me. When we were intimate in the past, it was very one-sided.
I know he is not cheating on me. This is not how I envisioned our relationship. I have talked to him so many times, but I feel like I am in a never-ending episode of “Groundhog Day,” and 24 hours later it’s like nothing was ever said. I love him but I am on the fence. Please – do you have suggestions?
Dear Lonely: Given the extreme age difference between you two, it is somewhat surprising that you didn’t anticipate the possibility that you would be at different places, sexually. And if your previous contact was very “one-sided,” you should have not expected this to change or improve on its own through time. You wanting something different and telling him what you want in an endless loop is also not effective. He is disregarding your stated wishes, so what is he really trying to tell you?
Your husband may be having ED problems, which would prevent him from even wanting to be intimate with you. Stop badgering him and ask him to please see a doctor.
Sex really starts with communication, and you two can work on your communication skills with the help of a professional therapist. Go in with the primary goal to communicate more effectively, and you will learn to discuss all aspects of your relationship.
Dear Amy: Your response to “At a Loss” was ridiculous. This bride’s mother had already ruined her sister’s wedding, and now you want her to invite her mother to her own wedding? No way!
Dear Appalled: Many readers did not like my advice for this bride to find a way to tolerate her troublesome mother. But because she didn’t seem to want to sever the relationship, I thought it was necessary for her to do what many of us learn to do: accept that our families are not perfect, and find someone to run interference on the big day.
Email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com.