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Familiarity breeds contempt - A Guest Blog from Tish

Although both Jake and I commented on the inane content of the recent How I Met Your Mother episode, there was a valuable lesson in it.

One of the characters is a college professor who prides himself on being buddies with his students. We see him joking with his students in class as well as out of class. But when all of his students participate in an organized protest against something that he is doing, and they refuse to go to class, he doesn't know what to do. He can't regain control over them  just by being their good buddy. In the end, he resorts to an ultimatum - those students who didn't show up for the next class would get an "F" for a grade. The next scene in the classroom shows all of his students filing into the room.

Jake has always had this problem with our grandsons. He relates to them as if he is a kid himself and then wonders why they show him little or no respect. I've cautioned him about this many times in the past and am not surprised at the lack of respect he is experiencing now. It seems he feels  that his status changed when he went from the grandfather role to the parent/guardian role. But even as just grandfather, he still is in a role that should be respected and taken seriously. 

Jake was letting Tio call him several nicknames, none of which showed the respect that the title of grandfather deserves. The other day when Tio yelled "Hey Tish!" I realized just how much this was getting out of hand. I don't mind "Grammo" but anything else that isn't a form of grandmother is unacceptable to me.

When Buddy and Sugar were small, the parents of their friends insisted that they be called by their first names. That idea was unthinkable to me. When I was a kid, ANY adult was called Mr., Mrs., or Miss. My grandparents were called grammy and grampy and their siblings were called aunt and uncle, with the exception of one of my aunts who wanted to be Auntie. There was an expectation of what we could or couldn't say as well as how to say it. Some topics were up for discussion in general population and some were saved for private discussions. Some subjects were taboo, whether we wanted them to be or not. I tried to teach my kids similar standards, but with the exception that they could discuss anything with me. But the idea that anything goes, anytime, any place just did not exist.

Tio's action of trying to moon Jake is indicative of the loss of boundaries and respect between the two of them. But it goes further than that - Tio is the same to his father and also to some of the limits set for him for living in this family. I don't care how much times have changes since I was a kid. Tio should have respect and consideration for people or rules, and someone has to reinforce it.

There is responsibility on both Jake's and Tio's parts to rebuild the respect that's been lost, but it has to start with Jake, just as it had to start with the professor on the tv show. The consequences need to be clearly defined, even if it means an "F" for Tio.