Grandma upset by tomboy behaviour

I’m the mother of 11-year-old twins, “Jack” and “Jill.” Jill is quite a tomboy. She’s always been more interested in her brother’s trucks than dolls, and I have given up trying to put a dress on her.

Dear Annie: I’m the mother of 11-year-old twins, “Jack” and “Jill.” Jill is quite a tomboy. She’s always been more interested in her brother’s trucks than dolls, and I have given up trying to put a dress on her.

Jack and Jill spent last week with my husband’s parents in Florida. Jill is their only granddaughter, and Grandma makes no secret that girls are “little princesses.”

My husband always defends our childrearing to his mother, but she refuses to accept our authority. Within minutes of their arrival, Grandma called to criticize me about Jill’s boyish haircut. A few hours later, she called again about Jill’s lack of a “proper” swimsuit. (We allow her to be shirtless whenever her brother is, especially since Gran’s pool is enclosed and Jill is still undeveloped.)

I told Jill to placate her grandmother and wear a T-shirt. Grandma bought her a swimsuit that Jill hates and almost assuredly won’t wear at home. Later, we heard about the lack of pajamas. Jill prefers to sleep in boxers like her brother. They still share a room at home.

I know Gran reads your column because she’s always quoting your advice. Would you please tell her we don’t live in Victorian England?

Jill will adopt feminine ways when she’s ready, and we don’t appreciate Grandma’s interference. It confuses Jill to have Grandma tell her what bad parents we are. — Mother of a Tomboy

Dear Mom: Grandma is overstepping her authority a bit, and under no circumstances should she badmouth you to the kids. Although we admire the flexible attitude you have toward childrearing, Grandma’s concern is not without merit.

Jill may be undeveloped, but it won’t be for long. It’s time she understood that a certain amount of modesty is necessary. No one, including Grandma, should be pushing her to be “feminine,” but Jill should not be topless, and soon enough, she will require more privacy at home. It would be best if you anticipated some of her needs before she has to ask.

Dear Annie: My husband wants to purchase a youth-sized ATV for our 10-year-old daughter. He claims it will teach her to be a better driver, and that it will be safe because she will be driving in the country and wearing a helmet.

Even though I have fond memories of driving one myself as a child, I say absolutely NOT. Am I being overprotective? Help us make the best decision for our little girl (who is totally on board with her dad). — No ATVs, Please

Dear No: While we are not in favor of young children riding motorized vehicles, most youth-sized ATVs will not go over 30km/h mph and some can be set as low as 8 km/h.

You and your husband should agree on a low set speed, and she must wear a helmet at all times, stay away from areas where there is traffic and not ride more than a specified amount of time per day under close supervision. We also recommend she take a training class specially geared for children. If she is reckless or careless, her privileges will be revoked.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, in Montreal, Thursday, July 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

Lille's Burak Yilmaz, center, reacts with teammates after scoring during their French League One soccer match between Lille and Nice in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Saturday May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Jean Carlo Salas of Costa Rica vies for the ball with Canada's Ian Bennett (right) during a CONCACAF Futsal Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CONCACAF-Norvin Mendoza MANDATORY CREDIT
Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson leaves the ice after defeating China at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 7, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

Most Read