Crazy grandkids have Grandma at wit’s end

  • By Wire Service
  • Wednesday, June 7, 2017 1:30am
  • Life

Dear Grandparenting:

I was looking at photos of my grandchildren at the beach when they were smaller. I didn’t know it at the time, but they were going through their perfect angel phase compared to what they are like now. My grandchildren can be so embarrassing that I sometimes hesitate to even appear with them in the public. I kid you not.

My five grandchildren are between the ages of 10 and 17. I think the term “immature adolescents” probably hits the spot, but then again, these are my grandchildren. Someone else might think they are the worst.

It can happen any time. Out of nowhere, my grandchildren just erupt! I don’t understand or need all that craziness.

Mandy Martin, The Villages, Florida

Dear Mandy:

Welcome to the wacky world of the adolescent grandchild, a mystery even to themselves, often uncertain of what they’ll do from one moment to the next.

According to people who study this sort of thing, adolescents report more frequent and more intense emotions (both positive and negative) during daily life than do children and adults.

Ready for some brain science? The onset of puberty releases powerful hormones that effect feeling and behavior. But the neo-cortex — the part of the brain that controls so-called executive functions and thus regulates behavior — is still under construction. So while adolescents begin to acquire adult-like reason and logic, their brains remain susceptible to becoming hijacked, smothered in emotion. Now they’re a runaway train, acting out impulsively and inappropriately. Other studies show that the adolescent brain misinterprets visual stimuli like facial expressions and body language, often mistaking fear or surprise for anger.

Adolescence is not without its share of major stressors — adult expectations of maturity, susceptibility to peer influence, engagement in romantic relationships and adjusting to middle and high school environments. For the scatterbrained, it’s an emotional rollercoaster.

Consult your school system — educators are focusing more resources on emotional regulation, including proactive and reactive interventions. Then buckle up and revise your expectations. In case you’re wondering, the neo-cortex fully forms around age 25.

Grand Remark of the Week

Hunter Lee from Manchester, New Hampshire, was on his knees peering into his refrigerator, trying to fish out a can of sardines that slipped down behind a storage compartment.

Grandson Roger, 6, wandered in and watched Hunter squirm as he tried to grasp the can. “What’s the matter Grandpa? Are you stuck in there?”

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285.

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