Dilemma: my grandson has no manners

Jo Brand / 08 December 2017

A reader is worried her rude, sullen grandson will spoil Christmas.

Dilemma: my grandson is rude and grumpy

I love Christmas lunch at my daughter’s, but her 15-year-old son is frightful, I hate to say. No manners, no conversation: he slumps across the table looking sullen and gets up and down from the table. 

It casts tension over the occasion, especially for my daughter who makes faces at him when she thinks I’m not looking. 

I love him but he’s exasperating.

Jo Brand's advice

I hope you realise that you are describing a rather sizeable percentage of all teenage boys, whose hormone levels tend to present us with a monosyllabic, catatonic lump who says and does virtually nothing from age 14 to 18. This is especially evident at Christmas when the contrast between normal human behaviour and increased joy becomes most pronounced.

The key to solving a problem is asking yourself, ‘Can I change the problem?’ If you can’t, then you have no choice but to change your behaviour.

Presuming that you don’t want to boycott Christmas, you need to try to help your daughter deal with the tension and create the best possible atmosphere you can. Do your utmost to treat the situation with more levity and I would have a word with your daughter before you all meet to have a plan for the big day.

Perhaps she could have a talk with her son and ask him if he wants Christmas dinner on his own. I know this appears to be a bit drastic, but perhaps he finds it an ordeal – and I for one am not a fan of enforced family happiness. At the very least, on Christmas Day shouldn’t we all do what we want?

Also, it might shock your grandson into realising what a pain he is being!

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