Ask Amy: Consider kids’ feelings about ‘Grandma’ title

December 22, 2013 

Dear Amy: My former husband (of a 28-year marriage) died 11 months ago. At his request, my adult children and grandchildren always referred to his new wife as “Grandma.”

I have always felt hurt and betrayed by that, especially since his second marriage was to a woman with whom he had an affair for many years during our marriage.

Now that he is deceased, I feel that out of respect for my feelings they should not continue to refer to her as “Grandma” but perhaps by another form of address such as “Nana.” What do you advise?


Dear Real: You don’t say how old these grandchildren are. You also don’t seem to imagine that their feelings should also be taken into account. They should.

You can talk to your adult children and express your own truth about this. They may reveal that this was an awkwardness imposed upon them by their father. But be prepared for them to express their own comfort for things just as they are.

If your grandchildren don’t call you “Grandma” and you would like them to, you can ask this of them. If they do call you “Grandma,” please remember that many families have (at least) two grandmas in their lives, and that this nickname isn’t necessarily an honorific to be held by only one person.

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