Open Thread

by epi on October 21, 2013

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth October 21, 2013 at 10:06 am

My parents take offense when my teenage son doesn’t want to engage in conversation after his basketball games and also expect him to thank them for coming. Now they aren’t coming to his games. I think they expect too much from a teenager, who has always been on the stubborn side to begin with, and I’m not convinced a child should “have” to thank his grandparents for coming to his game. They should come because they want to come. Am I being unrealistic?

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Just Laura October 21, 2013 at 10:51 am

Is it really asking too much of a teenager to take about 5 seconds to thank someone for taking time to show up and support his activity?

Not everyone enjoys driving to watch high-school students play basketball. If people feel unappreciated, they are less likely to want to support these endeavors in the future.

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Elizabeth October 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I agree with Laura, I think you are not expecting enough from your teenager. If he doesn’t learn good manners now, when do you expect him to learn them? I believe that gratitude is not always a “natural” feeling – you have to learn to express it and feel it. Your son may not feel a natural sense of appreciation for the grandparents’ attendance at his game, but you as the parent should realize that it is in his best interest (in terms of his long-term relationship with his grandparents) to thank them for supporting him.

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Vanna Keiler October 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Alas! I agree with Elizabeth and Just Laura. Even though they are grandparents, and family, it would certainly be nice if the grandson could send a quick “Hello! Thanks for coming out” at them. Perhaps the grandparents have gone out of their way to show up for the games, and they expect at the least. some acknowledgment of their presence. Perhaps they have determined this is not the best venue to see their grandson in, who appears incredibly distracted with all going on around him. Regardless, it was their choice to attend, and they now chose not to.

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scdeb October 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I would ask my son why he feels it difficult to speak to his grandparents after his game and why he doesn’t thank them for coming. Perhaps he is shy or worried about the game or what his friends are thinking about him and having grandparents at his games. This would open the dialogue and give you an idea about how to proceed. I think that if he gave them a few minutes of his time after a game that that should be enough. Expecting a teenager to partake in a lengthy conversation after a game is too much. For one thing they are tired and probably eager to get home. That being said the grandparents obviously want to be part of the son’s life and they have been reaching out. Life is too short not to connect and this is good training for future interactions that the son will have in other social, school and work situations. Imagine meeting a fiancĂ©’s family or attending parent’s weekend at college or his first serious job interview–making polite conversation even when one is not in the mood is a learned behavior. Practicing with the grandparents now will be great training for future interactions and give your son confidence in any social situation.

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Jazzgirl205 October 22, 2013 at 9:29 am

The son thanking the Grandparents gives them the opportunity to reply, “It was our pleasure. We love you.” That alone is worth it.

He should also open doors for them and give up his seat when no other is available. It is in your best interest to teach him to respect age.

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Antonia October 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I like all the above advice. I just wanted to put in my vote for it being important that your son spends just a few seconds thanking his grandparents. To my mind it’s a battle worth fighting. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation – but I think it important he’s told he’s being rude and just a couple of seconds saying ‘hi’ and ‘thanks’ will set that straight. Finding out why he doesn’t want to do this would be helpful, as scdeb points out.

As for not being sure if he should be required to thank his grandparents, I see it in the same light as thanking for gifts. Yes, the gift should be given not for thanks – but if someone doesn’t appreciate it or seems to feel entitled it takes away from thy joy of gift-giving. Perhaps his grandparents have come because they take joy in seeing him play and wish to cheer him on – yet it seems he couldn’t care less and doesn’t even say hi. That will reduce their joy and wish to come – in fact they might feel unwelcome.

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