Concerned about granddaughter’s appearance

Published 10:38 am Monday, September 4, 2023

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Dear Aunty Pam,


My husband and I are having a disagreement over our granddaughter and I was hoping you might have some words of wisdom to help us settle it.

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I’ve read your column for a while and have seen letters about parents and grandparents worried that their daughter/granddaughters are wearing too much makeup or wearing revealing clothes at too young an age. Well, with us, it’s the opposite. My granddaughter, ‘Cindy,’ is 16 and makes no effort to look attractive. She wears baggy clothes, no makeup and wears her hair back in a ponytail with a baseball cap. I’ve tried to gently nudge her into taking some care in her appearance; I’ve given her pretty sweaters and jewelry for her birthdays and Christmas but she never wears them.

My husband said she’s always been a tomboy. That might be true, but I just hate that she might be missing out on her school prom and all the nice things about her last year in high school. I was wondering if I should take her on a ‘Grandma and Granddaughter spa day,’ because maybe if she had some pampering, she might like it and begin to take a little more care in how she looks. What do you think?



Worried Grandma



Dear Granny,


Here’s what I think: I think you should take yourself and a friend along for a spa day and leave Cindy alone. A facial given inside a salon playing Einaudi in the background isn’t going to make her suddenly sit up and say, “You know, I think I need some highlights and a boyfriend!” Unless your granddaughter is showing signs of depression and stress, it doesn’t appear to Aunty Pam that the girl needs any ‘help’ from you to ‘change.’

You act as if lipgloss and mascara would change her. And things that seem important to you— prom, homecoming, all of that—might not be of the slightest importance to Cindy. It’s different today, dear. Cindy might choose not to go, or to go alone. She might go with a guy or, gasp, a girl!

One of the biggest joys, I am told, in being a grandparent is to be a haven in which a grandchild can run when at odds with their own parents. You run the risk of alienating Cindy by passing any sort of judgment on her. Leave the kid alone and love her.


Cheers, dears!

Aunty Pam