Even when everything seems to be going smoothly, the holidays include their fair share of times you will have to rush, deal with rudeness, receive some peculiar gifts and get some unwanted invitations. More than likely, you will be tempted to lose your compassion, your cool or your temper in front of your grandchildren – but don’t! Our grandchildren learn much by our example and this is the perfect season for us to teach them much.
Responding to rudeness: You have grandchildren in tow, a list of presents to buy, and you are suddenly confronted with rudeness. Now what do you do? Because your grandchildren are watching closely to see what you do, and learning from it, remain in control.
If the person being rude is a sales associate, ask for his/her name, and then use it. It will remind them of when they were in school, giving you some of the authority of a teacher or principal. It will also make them concerned about whom you might report their actions to once they are no longer anonymous.
Acknowledge all the associate says with “I understand” or “I hear what you are saying”, but keep repeating what you want. It is much better to sound like a broken record than to blast the employee. Most especially, do not raise your voice, because once you do, you will lose control of the conversation. Once that occurs, you will be seen as the person who is rude, and your grandchildren will view that as the proper technique to handle things the next time they are frustrated, maybe with you.
If remaining calm does not work, jump to your endgame and ask to speak to a manager, who is probably going to be eager to keep things running smoothly and to look good to customers and clients. This will teach your grandchildren there is more than one way to solve a problem.
Dealing with disappointment: If surveys indicate that more than 70% of adults say the holidays are about “presents” (which they do), imagine what percentage of kids feel the same way – 110%, maybe?
However, not all gifts are perfect or even close to it, and it is often difficult for children to mask their disappointment. By our example, or by our instruction, we grown-ups can demonstrate how to thank someone for a less-than-perfect gift, without lying.
A simple way to start is to name the gift: “Oh, a sweater!” Next, describe it: “A green and yellow sweater!” And, finally, a thank-you-for-thinking=of-me statement: “Wow, you made this yourself? I’m so flattered,” or, “Thank you! It will remind me of you.” Through all that, you have not uttered a single fib.
Unwanted Invitations: Unfortunately, grandchildren hear a steady stream of white lies every day from their parents and grandparents, but they likely hear more during the holidays as adults try to wheedle their way out of holiday parties they just don’t want to attend. It becomes a slippery slope: We want to teach kids that honesty is the best policy, but we also don’t want them to be brutally honest if it will hurt people’s feelings. So if “Sorry, I don’t want to go to your house,” is not an option, what should we say?
If you simply must turn down an invitation, especially while the grandkids are listening, keep it simple. Just saying, “That isn’t a good evening for me,” or “I’m sorry, but I can’t make it,” is better than a list of excuses that are less credible and therefor more hurtful. Further, be clear. Do not say, “I will let you know,” if the real answer is “No.” You are just postponing the inevitable and inconveniencing the host. Finally, always be sure to say, “Thank you,” because any invitation, even an unwanted one, is a compliment.
Have a great holiday with your grandkids!