A granddad who became estranged from his three grandchildren after they referred to him as “Mr” instead of “grandpa” has asked for advice on how to mend the rift between them – but he received a very harsh response.
Writing to the Washington Post’s ‘Ask Amy’ advice column, the worried 87-year-old admitted it all began when he sent a large check as a Christmas gift to his three grandchildren. While he wasn’t in their lives growing up, he insisted he wasn’t “a bad or cruel influence”.
But he said in his open letter to the site: “I quickly received a nice thank you card, but it was addressed ‘Dear Mr. ‘Smith’. I was so angry that I never sent another gift and haven’t heard from them since.”
Revealing his worries, he begged for advice on how to finally become “grandpa” to his grandchildren instead.
However, the response from the site was less than sympathetic, and began by saying: “The way to become a ‘Grandpa’ is to act like one.”
The reply detailed various ways grandparents can act the part, including offering a safe place for children to go, communicating with them regularly, and being caring and kind to them, while “loving them without harsh judgement”.
It went on: “Your reaction to this gracious ‘thank you’ was punitive. Instead of simply saying, ‘I would love it if you would call me Grandpa,’ you cut off all communication, missing yet another opportunity for meaningful connection.”
The advice for the worried man was to reach out to the kids and explain why he wasn’t in their lives growing up. Finally, the response questions his relationship with the parents and insists he will not regret trying to mend the relationship.
It’s not the first time a grand-parenting dilemma has sparked a controversial response. Last year, a woman wrote into the same advice column asking for help after her mother invoiced her for expenses she incurred while babysitting her daughter.
The woman who identified herself only as “Burned by Grandma” explained in the letter to Ask Amy that she sent her daughter for a visit with her grandma, only to receive an itemised invoice for expenses on the visit!
The advice columnist sensibly advised that the grandma in the situation may have had legitimate reasons for demanding the cash, but that it also could be a passive-aggressive way of saying that she does not want to babysit.
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