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Davis: Grandparents shouldn’t tolerate rude grandchild behavior

By Staff | Sep 23, 2016

I usually come up with a subject for my column about five minutes before I am supposed to send it to Ashley to be printed. I have almost always been a last minute writer, but this week I have been thinking about my column for days now.

Last week, Tyler and I went out for supper and we were seated right next to a grandmother and her two granddaughters. Tyler and I ordered our food and were visiting about our day when the girls next to us were getting louder than we could ignore. Plus they weren’t more than a few feet from us so it was really hard to ignore what they were saying. The two girls were about seven or eight years old and were having a blast with their grandma, it was fun to watch them having so much fun.

Soon the waitress delivered some buns for them to eat before their main course was served. One of the girls then started to explain to her cousin that she shouldn’t eat the butter because it will make you fat. The grandmother of course told them both that they shouldn’t even think about any foods making them fat and they can most certainly eat the butter. The girl then proceeds to tell her grandma that she doesn’t want to get fat like she is. She then pointed out that her grandmother had fat under her arms and she didn’t want to get fat like that. The little girl went on and on about how her grandma could wave her arms and look like a flag. I can’t even write about the rest of the conversation because it makes me so mad. I had a very hard time sitting there listening to this and not saying anything, but I didn’t.

Once Tyler and I left the restaurant I unleashed about the conversation that we had just witnessed, neither of us could believe what we had heard. First and foremost, I want to say that I am not a parent yet but I hopefully will be someday and the following is just my opinion. There are so many things wrong with what we heard I don’t know where to start. First of all, what Grandmother would ever let their grandchildren or any children for that matter talk to them like this? Second of all, what kind of children would say something like that to their Grandma or anyone for that matter. Thirdly, where in the world did a seven year old get an idea that butter will make her fat? Why is that even a thought in her mind? I know that things have changed since I was little but there is no way that I would ever let my child talk to their Grandparent or anyone like this! What this girl said was beyond disrespectful, I still can’t believe she really said those things. It wasn’t just the one comment, this conversation about the Grandmother’s weight went on for about five minutes. I can tell you that if something so horrible would have come out of my mouth when I was a child, I would have been taken out of the restaurant immediately. My parents raised us to be respectful of others and we would never have thought of saying so terrible to anyone. Don’t get me wrong I am not perfect and I have said plenty of things in my life that I wish I could take back but this just seemed to be on an entirely different level of rudeness.

The other part of this that blows my mind is that the Grandmother let this happen. Since when do grandparents let their grandchildren talk to them like this? I hope that most grandparents would have the sense to put the kibosh on this crazy talk but it scares me that some people wouldn’t. Where and when would a seven year old get the idea that butter will make her fat? I know that things have changed since I was seven but my biggest issue when I was that age was who would I invite for a sleepover and what scary movie we would watch, and that is how it should be. I am not saying that eating healthy isn’t important but a comment like that should never be at the top of mind for a seven year old.

I will admit that I gave this Grandmother a look of confusion, and when our eyes locked for a short second I could see shame in her eyes. For a second I felt bad for her but in the same breath, she was the adult in the situation and she was in control of the children and she didn’t ever correct them or their actions. We as adults might not be in control of everything our children see or hear, but can surely teach our children how to be respectful and kind.

It breaks my heart that those two little girls will continue to think that they can talk like that to their grandmother and that butter will make you fat. Looking back now, I think that I should have said something to these little girls if their grandmother wasn’t going to, but they are not my children. I will never forget this conversation and even if the two little girls don’t learn a lesson from this, Tyler and I sure did.

Davis (formerly Carlson) is the daughter of late Tribune editor and publisher Mark Carlson.

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