Dear Amy: My daughter and granddaughter are coming to spend 10 days with us over the holidays. I am dreading the visit because my 3-year-old granddaughter is unable to be around others without being the center of attention.
If adults try to have a conversation she interrupts continuously, and if she has nothing to actually say, she just makes loud noises. It is beyond irritating.
I try not to interfere with my daughter's parenting, but I'm not sure how to survive 10 days of this. Any advice?
Amy says: It is extremely common for 3-year-old children to want to dominate their primary parent's attention. Children learn not to do this through a combination of repeated reminders and distractions: "The adults are speaking to each other. You are interrupting. If you have something to say, you need to wait your turn."
You also can ask a 3-year-old to do a "job" for you, folding dish cloths, sorting wooden spoons into different boxes, stacking blocks or putting their favorite toy "to bed" in a shoebox.
The holidays are highly charged and exhausting for children and their parents, and you should count on having your daughter's full attention only during your granddaughter's afternoon nap time and after she is asleep at night.
You would not dread this visit so much if you reframed your orientation: This will not be a mother-daughter visit between you and your daughter, but a Christmastime visit with your granddaughter. I hope you will find ways to bond with this little girl that will make this visit memorable for both of you.
Keeping it quiet
Dear Amy: My longtime friend "Charlotte" and I have been traveling abroad together for the past several years. We are both introverts and get along well on our trips because we respect one another's space and the need for quiet.
We avoid the bustle of cities to spend time hiking and in solitary reflection outdoors. We treasure these annual getaways as an opportunity to clear our heads and restore our creative energy.
Another friend wants to join us this year. The problem is that her chatter never stops. If she joins us, we feel that we will be mentally depleted by our trip rather than rejuvenated. It will defeat the whole purpose. How do you think we should handle this?
Amy says: You should handle this quickly, calmly and politely, by telling Charlotte, "We've been doing this annual trip the same way for many years and count on having this quiet experience of mutual solitude. This would not work if another person joined us — whether it was you or someone else. Please understand that this is not personal."
A tipping tiff
Dear Amy: A reader recently asked about tipping a sales associate for the purchase of a bridal gown. You said it should not be necessary.
I own a bridal store. Our store, as most do, gives the bride an option to tip the stylist at the time of checkout.
This is a service-based industry. We by no means push the client to tip the stylist. Over the past few years, it has become more customary for the stylist to receive a tip. Many do still receive a commission.
Did you reach out to any bridal stores before answering that question?
Amy says: I did not reach out to bridal stores, but I did research recent bridal trends via a popular wedding website, and the consensus among brides was that tipping for a gown purchase should not be compulsory.
I believe our culture of tipping has gone a little haywire.
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