Dear Annie: We are grandparents who have adopted our twin 9-year-old grandchildren, a boy and a girl.

They have lived with us permanently since they were 2 years old. They have separate bedrooms upstairs but have always slept together. The past year, they have chosen to sleep on the main floor in the guest bedroom. It is at the point in their lives where they’ll soon grow into puberty, so within the past two months we have been trying to get them to sleep upstairs in their own bedrooms.

Every night we find them in the middle of the floor in various places: bathroom floor upstairs, closet floor downstairs, spare bedroom downstairs, on a couch or together in our grandson’s bed. We have made efforts to make their rooms special: buying radios for their music; having them pick out their own paint colors and night lights; adding special “happy” posters, new beds & bedding with soft, cozy blankets; letting them sleep with their stuffed animals; and reading to them separately each night.

We kiss them goodnight, tell them we love them and say, “sweet dreams” but every night they wake up at all hours and relocate. When we wake up during the night, we chase them back into their beds but still find them somewhere else later. We have talked to them numerous times to allow them to express their fears — darkness, ghosts, whatever — and we’ve tried to offer helpful suggestions.

We have rewarded them with special privileges and treats on the three nights when they actually stayed upstairs, even though they did not stay in their own beds. We have also taken away privileges: no sleepovers with friends, no camp-outs (we let them camp out on the family room floor on weekends).

They do several things separately during the days, have separate friends, separate activities and separate classrooms. Please help us as we are all losing sleep over this life transition.

— Bedtime Help Needed

Dear Bedtime Help: No one ever said parenting was easy, and you and your husband are experiencing a particularly difficult challenge.

You are wise grandparents to recognize the danger of their sleeping together as brother and sister as they begin to go through puberty. You took all the right steps by using a reward system initially, and, when that didn’t work, imposing negative consequences for their actions.

Since that is still not working, it’s time to seek the help of a professional therapist as you and your grandchildren adjust to this new transition in life. Heading foreseeable problems off at the pass is always a good step to take.

Dear Annie: My letter is about aging and manners toward the elderly.

I was at a store recently and getting ready to walk out, pushing my cart. At the same time, there was a young girl pushing the cart for her mother as they were leaving the store. The mother stopped the cart and said to her daughter, “Always let older people go first.”

I was insulted. But then I came to realize the mother was teaching her daughter a lesson on respecting her elders. So many people do not respect their elders, and I was glad to see this mother teaching her child to do so. Bless this mother.

— Another Aging Individual

Dear Another Aging Individual: Your letter shows that you are a very thoughtful person. When feeling insulted by a comment, most people get angry and want to retaliate. But you stopped to think about it, and you saw the positive in the mother’s comment — that she was trying to teach her daughter an important lesson about respecting her elders. By taking the time to understand the mother’s motive, you have taught all of us a valuable lesson.

Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to dearannie@creators.com.

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