Ask Mary Jo: Concern for grandkids & next steps in online dating

Hi Mary Jo,

I have two grandchildren I have concerns for. How do I express my concerns to their parents without coming across as too harsh?



When grandparents are part of their children’s lives and work as a team with their child, it helps ease communication and build a support system for the family. Children are continually trying to please their parents, and it becomes more complicated when they are grown, married, and have their own kids. Grandparents can help their adult children and notice things that parents may want to deal with. Here are helpful suggestions.

  1. Before you say anything, ask yourself if it’s truly important news. Kids change daily and what you see one day when you pick them up may not ever happen again.
  2. Look at the situation from their parents’ point of view. For example, if you are worried about screen time use, do the parents allow screen time all the time or do they have boundaries and only allow their child screen time during dinner with you?
  3. Tell your children how proud you are of them. Point out what their child is very good about, such as being polite and respectful.
  4. Stay away from insulting or blaming. Stay calm and in control of you.
  5. State the behavior you’re concerned about without judgment. It’s nice if you offer several solutions you can think of that may help.
  6. Tell the parents you want to be a united front with them. If they want, you to use a type of discipline or reward that they have had success with. It’s helpful if you can adopt the same plan so there is consistency.
  7. Don’t forget to be their grandparent. This is a wonderful time to love and support your grandchild, and that’s more important than doing things your way to raise them the way you raised their parents.

Hi Mary Jo,

When do you give your personal phone number on a dating app and then from a dating app to texting?



The most common time period to give out your phone number on a dating app is after 3 to 5 days or after you’ve spoken at least 25 times. I don’t agree with this because, as a licensed therapist, I’ve found that number is based on feelings of lust; people don’t think clearly under the influence of lust. My advice is to wait until you know the person well and they are consistent with actions that back up their words. Harassment is real and is a problem with dating apps once you give them your number. I advise clients to wait for at least a month to give out their phone number on an app. With texting, I advise taking more time to get to know them (about 2 to 3 months. They can always contact you through another social media source, and once you give them your phone number, you may be getting numerous texts, photos, and annoying messages you did not expect. It’s much easier to give out your phone number than to replace your phone number if the person you’re dating turns out to be a stalker or someone who is not good for you.