Is there a "proper" way to go about this?
Give, or get, permission.
If the news is yours to give and you would prefer someone else did the honors, then designate a close friend or relative to do so, specifying (and prioritizing so as not to overburden them) who would most need to hear it. If the information is given to you, ask if it would be helpful to tell others, and which ones.
Miss Manners has no doubt that circumstances and individuals will vary widely in either situation. Having good intentions and using tact and discretion will help in figuring out who prefers what methods for spreading unfortunate news, but it is wise to ask.
Dear Miss Manners: I made a birthday box for one of my 13 grandchildren, who is 13. I took time to decorate a box with ribbons and vintage stickers, etc. Inside were gifts and cash.
On our travels, my husband and I always look for special items that we think the kids would like. If they request something specific, we try to get them that. Our card read, "Wherever we are, we are always thinking of you, as we are now on your birthday. Love, Grandpa & Grandma."
We sent it the day before her birthday. My husband and I were excited to hear back from her to see if she liked her gifts, but more important, to connect with her and see what was new, what she was doing, etc.
We never heard from her. A few days later, my husband received a text from his daughter saying that Morgan really liked her gifts, and thanks. I am hurt and don't know what, if any, my response should be. I feel that this is a teachable moment for Morgan and that she should learn to acknowledge a gift, no matter what it is, and not have her parent do it. I don't feel comfortable bringing this up to my stepdaughter, who I feel should be the one to teach her daughter.
Make your husband do it.
Or better yet, Miss Manners suggests that you start a separate correspondence with your granddaughter. Tell her how much you enjoy finding things she’d like, but how much more you’d like to spend time getting to know her. You could add that if the presents are not to her liking, you won’t burden her with them, but that if you got to know each other better, you would be able to better identify things that she liked.
If Morgan is smart and likes material goods, she will quickly learn to thank you herself — and you will have established your own relationship.
2020, by Judith Martin