Do You Need Expert Advice on Being a Grandparent?

While grandparenting may feel familiar, it is a whole different gig. But there are workshops and classes to help.

Comments: 157

  1. My advice to grandparents - never ever complain about being “SO busy” to a young parent. ugh

  2. I had the amazing good fortune of having had parents and in-laws who offered only support and gifts, never unsolicited advice nor criticism, when my children were young. Consequently, they enjoyed lots of closeness and time with all of us. If grandparents hope to be remembered with much love and great gratitude, this is the way to go.

  3. There are so many quiet, profound ways to supply love and care to children. Know what I found out when I was in college? For a few years, my grandparents helped my parents pay their mortgage during a rough spot. They did that because it was important to all of them that I get to stay in my local public elementary school and have food on the table without worrying about survival. I had no idea about this financial arrangement, but you can be sure I appreciate this now! The children don't need to *know* you love them via giant stuffed bears, trips to Disney, and extravagant splashy gestures. Love them by teaching them about family traditions. Love them by telling them stories. Love them by babysitting so parents can have a little break. Love them by making them feel there's nowhere you'd rather be than holding their hand or snuggling them up for stories. And, when they are grown up, love them by asking them about their books, activities, friends, and dreams. My grandpa, the one who helped pay the mortgage, used to ask me every time we talked: "Tell me what's making you happy!" The last words he said to me when he was just shy of 93 and dying were, "Are you happy?"

  4. I’m going to remember this.

  5. @Golf Widow Beautiful advice; beautifully said.

  6. @Golf Widow Exactly. Well said.

  7. I'm fascinated to hear about these workshops. Think it would be a wonderful idea in our city!

  8. This is news to me. I have never heard about it at least in India. However it’s interesting to read. By the way I am a grandparent myself. We are having wonderful experience with our granddaughter ever since she is born. We were there in Ann Arbor, MI for the birth of our granddaughter in 2014 and also for her first K.G class recently in September. Being male, my role was very limited when compared to that of my during these periods. Undoubtedly it’s a fabulous experience to be a grandparent. In fact it’s heavenly experience. I have learnt a lot teaching small English words and little bit additions and subtractions to our granddaughter few months back. I learnt the fact that I shouldn’t jump to teach but learn to patiently wait and wait till she is willing to learn. We don’t dictate our grandkids, rather they dictate us and more than willingly we should surrender in all humility. It’s much more than a fascinating experience. The writer didn’t mention about the relationship grandparents should have with their daughter or daughter in law during very tough pregnancy and post pregnancy periods since the ladies concerned have mood swings. It’s too difficult and too sensitive to handle such situations. It needs hell lot of skill and patience on the part of grandparents under such tough situations. It’s more tough if the lady happens to be daughter - in - law. Love the kids and you get manyfold love from the grandkids in return. Be blessed to be grandparents.

  9. The main thing that needs to be taught is boundaries. A lot of grandparents don't believe they exist.

  10. @kazolar The ingrates!

  11. Like many Americans, my husband and I were raised to prize independence and self-sufficiency. When our first child was born we were eager to figure it all out on our own and prove ourselves as parents. Luckily, our parents were very patient and tolerant of this phase of our development as parents. When our second child arrived we transcended our ridiculous desire to go it alone and learned to accept and ask for help. I have never been more grateful to my mother and my in-laws for the support they gave us when our second child arrived. Even small acts, like making sure my water bottle was always filled and near me when nursing or doing our dishes, meant the world to us during those first sleepless weeks. So, new grandparents, be patient with your children and remember that you have likely been training them for decades to do things on their own. It may take time for them to appreciate your helping hands.

  12. I try to follow the lead of my son and daughter-in-law, to avoid overstepping boundaries. That’s been helpful — but sometimes they expect us to co-discipline. Many kids need that extra “what did your Mom say??” to keep them on track. Other issues, like holiday/birthday gifting and whose house works best for holidays .... sounds like that could be worked out on a case by case basis, with everyone keeping their egos in check.

  13. Re grandchildren: 1. It's not your kid. Don't push ("What do you mean that X is too immature and young for first grade! That Ph.D is waiting). 2. Your kid(s) are adults (or should be). 3. Be yourself. 4. But learn when to keep your mouth shut. 5. If you say "can I help", don't be surprised when it is not what you thought it would be. 6. Learn to say no.

  14. As a new parent, I’m experiencing two extremes of grandparenting. One set of grandparents is supportive and observant. The other set is giving the most direct and unsolicited advise that made me question my ability as a new and nursing mother. Some comments made me sad for such long time I wouldn’t read them again. I have since tuned out of the unsupportive set of grandparents - relatively easy to do as they are an ocean away. I wish they know about classes like this or think about what they say. I mourn the distance that have grown between my parents and me since the arrival of our new member - we don’t talk anymore. I am searching hard about possible paths to have them in our little one’s life - I am wounded by their words and my shields are up - fragile as a new parent.

  15. Hi Susie, As a daughter of someone from another country, I understand the differences in cultures and upbringing. I am confident your parents love you and are just trying to help. Please don’t let your fragile ego close the door on them. And they may have a few good points to learn from, if you can put your hurt feelings aside. I for one, was brought up very strict, and many of my parenting skills reflected that, while many of my parents rules were abandoned by me. You have only one set of parents and one day they will be gone, believe me, you will miss them. Please repair your relationship before it’s too late.

  16. @Stefanie Hey, Stefanie, the point is to listen. It sounds like your experiences with your parents worked out well. Good for you! SuzieQ has not been so fortunate. There's nuance here. Repairing the relationship requires the parents to want to change too. SuzieQ may have been trying to work with them this whole time, and they still hurt her. We don't know. Words once said can permanently devastate a relationship, so maybe it's better for SuzieQ not to communicate with the parents, particularly if they are verbally cruel. We don't know. What we do know is that guilt-tripping people doesn't help them solve their problems. It's mean and manipulative. Please stand down and listen.

  17. I am sympathetic to all parties concerned. It is sad when families break down and can’t overcome differences in opinion. That is the message I was trying to convey. Your point is well taken regarding my not knowing the circumstances involved in the discourse, however to call me mean is rude and unnecessary. You have no idea of who I am or what I am like and that comment had no relevance to the subject and only served to upset me.

  18. I was 25 when my first child was born and grateful for all the experienced advise and help my mother and mother-in-law provided. I recall when my son was one and still using a bottle, my mother took the bottle from him and declared he is too old for a bottle, handed him a cup which he picked up and drank from, never to drink from a bottle again. I really didn’t know he could drink from a cup already. Sadly she passed away when my youngest was two and I miss all her good advise. Today, most new parents are 10 years older than I was and are not as willing to take advise from grandparents. They read books on child rearing and have definite theories and positions on how they wish to raise their children. We live close to our grandchildren and are fortunate to be able to attend pre school events, baby sit, walks to the library, and a regular family meal. But I have learned, or tried to learn, to hold my tongue and not offer advise unasked. Sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes there is a conflict of opinion. But if we want to maintain a good, open relationship we have to remember it’s their child and their responsibility. Very hard for this Jewish Mother! Tomorrow is Stone Soup day at school and I am thrilled to be invited!

  19. My colleague and I have recently created a Grandparenting class in Atlanta. We are so excited to see this trend taking off. As grandparents ourselves we’ve made mistakes and have a clearer vision of how to help others avoid relationship destroying missteps. We’ve been birth workers (doulas and childbirth educators) for two decades so we have seen it from both sides!

  20. @Guina Doula (n) 1. A person you pay $1000 to slap the call button out of your hand if you try to call for an epidural. 2. A person you feel the need to hire to protect you from your doctor.

  21. Well of course, parenting has become project oriented and a source of commerce, why not grandparenting?

  22. I remember the time when my then future daughter in law was talking about their upcoming wedding and then added they plan on waiting four years until they start having children. She said it so low that I couldn't understand what was said so I asked her to repeat it. She did and I can tell she was very nervous and waiting for my reaction. I looked at her straight in the eye and said "it's none of my business". And that's how it's been ever since, unless asked, it's none of my business. Two terrific parents with two beautiful daughters, I couldn't ask for anything more.

  23. My concept is to give unconditional love that is my only role. They have two very competent parents and need no further parenting from me. I will attempt to talk to them about frustrations in life and the amazement of finding another path. We also like to give them some interesting life experiences, like swimming with the dolphins and seeing Broadway shows. These young adults give me a reason to rejoice.

  24. @Caro Amen!!

  25. It's never too late to learn how to get along with others, even our own children who are starting their families. What a nifty idea these workshops are. Let 'em spread like wildfire.

  26. You don't need a workshop. You just need to listen.

  27. @Sara lots of people need years and years of therapy to learn how to do that

  28. My unexpressed thoughts to my daughter: " don't text, you don't come over as much." The visits, the texts dimish after the second grandchild arrives. By then, Mom has acquired the necessary experience to confidently direct the circus her way. However, the pleasure one enjoys when visiting with grandkids will never fade and continues to be enough to light up Broadway.

  29. @PoliticalGenius Your daughter might just forget due to being so busy. I am a mother of two young children, and just getting through a normal day saps a lot of brain power and energy. Most of the day I'm dealing with a whirlwind of activity and many, many questions from my four-year-old. I might pick up my phone to text my mom/mother-in-law and get distracted by one of the children halfway through. I would bet that your daughter still needs you, just in a different way than before. Sometimes my mother-in-law will call or send a text asking if she can swing by and take the kids to the park, store, etc. I very rarely say no.

  30. With all that collected wisdom, how can you not understand that parenting is exhausting. She should be reaching out to you more? I laugh...

  31. If, by the time you become a grandparent you haven’t realized that unsolicited advice will likely be ignored or worse, resented, I suppose a workshop is a good idea. Learning to step back and letting our children be the individuals we hoped they would become should be the goal, but it’s hard to do after 20 years of nurturing. In the end, most parents want their children to have a good relationship with their grandparents, so anything that helps get you there sounds like a good thing to me.

  32. Really enjoyed this article! I know several Nanas and Bubbes and Grammys but I've never heard of grandparent workshops! My main response: why not? It gives grandparents a chance to talk about how much they’d love to see their grandkids all the time with people who won’t judge! My only question: you figured out how to unlatch the car seat? How??? I’m impressed! Those things are tough!

  33. I once had to cut the car seat straps with scissors because I think I fastened them wrong. It was a nice car seat I ruined.

  34. @Nancy My dil is still furious at me for "nearly killing" my first grandchild by accidentally misconnecting the car seat. Always in a hurry, that generation, and me with carpal tunnel in the wrists, arthritis in fingers. When baby and I woke from our short naps, Mama Bear was screeching, face red. I was banished from the back seat of her car forever. A good seethe later, she and my son decided they didn't "need" another grandparent around at all. Hers lived closeby and would do nicely. Five years later, my broken heart still aches. Never imagined this grief. Probably a few people here are already writing or thinking, "What ELSE did this old guy do wrong that even his son hates him?" So grandparents like me, estranged, find a bit of solace online from a group for estranged parents. When someone doesn't accept your sincere apologies and repeated offers to talk, there's just not much left to do.

  35. And earlier you wondered why you didn't spend more time with your grandchildren...

  36. That there is a need for such workshops is clear if you've every spent time with a group of young parents. I've heard so many sad stories about grandparents who don't understand that the roles and rules have changed now that their "children" are adults and parents. It inspired me to start a blog for grandparents, hoping that I can share some strategies for more respectful, rewarding relationships.

  37. oh really? there is support for grandparents raising grandchildren? is there childcare provided ? and where is the respite? youre article was elitist and dismissive. such issues I wish I had

  38. You may have to look for it, but at least in my community, where high rates of opioid addiction have resulted in many children being raised by their grandparents or even great-grandparents, there are support groups, many of which provide childcare. Check with your local YMCA or YWCA. Local social workers also may know, as may your grandchild’s school. And if you can’t find physical groups near you, some of the grandparents I know have found support online.

  39. @Barbara I am privileged to run a program, in Philadelphia, for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren , called the GrandFamily Resource Center. In Philly, there are about 15,000 grandparent-headed families and trauma impacts all of these families. These grandparents are the unsung heroes of our community. Their devotion, resiliency and love take my breath away.

  40. @Arlene Do you know of any programs like yours in Orlando? If not, can you franchise it and get it here and around the country. There is a growing tribe of grandparents completely raising grandkids or significantly assisting a newly single parent and greatly involved for the sake of the children after traumatizing divorces. This article was good for the normal situation but not for grandfamilies!!!

  41. I so look forward to Paula's grandparenting columns. I just did a quick web search for grandparenting workshops in San Diego. There are only 1 or 2, and geared toward getting prepared for a newborn, not for ongoing grandparenting as the children get older. (Currently the grands are 7 and 3) By the time my first grandchild was born I was 63, my husband 70. It had been a very long time since we were parents (i was barely 20 when my son was born and had very little idea what I was doing). That stood us in good stead when it came to deferring to the parents (Daughter and SIL). We were eager for them to tell us about best practices. It was surprising to learn about how to keep an infant safe these days. It makes me grateful my son survived (sleeping on stomach; no car seats, etc.). Totally agree about asking what the parents need most. For the first month of our granddaughter's life both parents were home on parents leave. But once SIL went back to work, our daughter was anxious about being on her own. So, we rented an apartment near her and for two months showed up every day and just sat with her. She didn't want help with laundry, cleaning, etc. She just wanted that extra support. She did occasionally go out to shop or to a parent support group, or she'd take a nap, but mostly it was the 3 of us watching the baby... lots of times watching her sleep. Frankly I was deeply touched that she would leave us alone with this precious babe.

  42. We are fortunate that 3 of our grandchildren live a couple of blocks from us. They are teenagers now & I love to pop in for a few minutes (when invited!) and just chat & observe them growing up. They bring so much joy to my life. They are being raised very differently than their father, our son & it remains to be seen how they will turn out. But it’s not my problem we have raised our children already. If I can’t stand not speaking up about something I talk to my son privately. He patiently listens to me & does whatever with my thoughts, most likely disregarding them. But that works, I get it off my chest & my daughter in law isn’t offended . My husband on the other hand goes right in & corrects their table manners, saying it’s in their best interest. I cringe but my daughter in law acts like she is grateful & the children listen. We all do the best we can. We all need to be patient with each other because it’s just love being expressed in different ways.

  43. @Granny, I just have to laugh because I wish my father-in-law would correct my sons just even once! I have found it hard to be “the heavy” in a family of lenient child-raisers, but my reward is being the mom of two successful teenagers who play by my rules.

  44. Read Lesley Stahl’s book “Becoming Grandma.” I find being grandma is a lot easier than being momma. I’m more relaxed and have fewer distractions. Yes I spoil her. Too many cookies and not enough vegetables. The hardest part is refraining from extolling about the joys of being grandma to friends who don’t have children.

  45. @Zejee I could not agree more. Being a grandmother makes me feel freer to do stuff with my granddaughter I didn’t have time (or energy) to do with my own kids. Sometimes we are just very silly. I wish she’d eat better, but I don’t agonize over it. Her parents can do that.

  46. We did go back as a surprise. Stayed at a hotel and helped out as we could. All we ask for is a photo or video now and then, and we are on a shared family photo group. Our son and daughter in law clearly know what they are doing and make us proud everyday. No one needs to learn to be a grandparent. Just be yourself.

  47. That workshop isn’t complete without a component on aging well. Being responsible about the changes involved—including cognitive—both members of the couple. Telling the seemingly liberated grandfathers that they sometimes must be the gatekeepers for their wife’s health as well. Not being in denial. Pretty horrible to be dealing with this as a new mother far away.

  48. My only grandchild/grandson is 5. This weekend I kept him while his mother, my daughter, had to drive out of town. He told me proudly : " Mommy came to lunch at school today because we had Thanksgiving lunch." I said I was so happy to hear it. What was served ? He enumerated a long list of more and more elaborate desserts. I tried to ask several times about healthier items while he continued to list desserts. I said : " But I'm sure there were things like turkey and potatoes and green beans and those things ?" He said, " Grandma, I'm pretty tired and that would just take too many words !" And then conked out on the highway in the rain. When I shared this wonderful remark with my daughter we commiserated and consulted about the sugar overload still available at many schools in our area. It was wonderful to be able to have this conversation with my adult child and be in complete agreement. It is not so wonderful that schools still showcase desserts.

  49. The desserts were at the child's classroom party, I'm sure, not at the lunch. That happens maybe 4x a school year, maximum. That is what you gleaned from this article?!

  50. Wonderful piece! I am a grandmother of 3 young children whose parents are divorced and my son, an only child, shares custody. Grandparenting is totally different than parenting and having a group of friends, women in a similar situation has made a world of difference. Bouncing ideas off of others is not only educational but cathartic as well. So whether workshops are formal gatherings or just sitting around after a fitness class, comparing notes and complaints does a world of good. P.S. So comforting to hear I am not the only mother of an occasional ingrate.

  51. Try texting - especially if you're nearby and would like to drop in. Text first. Works well with our eldest son and his wife, who have a new baby, and have always had high boundaries (which I can appreciate). It works especially well if you're sensing it's time to make extra dinner and either bring some, or have our son pick it up. Fast food comes to the neighbourhood! I am careful about this because of our own history with relatives who came too often and stayed too long, using our guest room -- the room I intended one day for our second child. My daughter in law is from the UK, and we are in NZ, half a world away. The need for vaccinations has meant a long waiting period before she feels she can safely travel by air. Her mum cannot, right now. She is doing a great job, yet we know she misses her own family as well as her twin sister, who has also just had baby.Meanwhile in Australia (over the Tasman Sea from us), we await news from our middle son and his wife, who are expecting in a few months. They are also moving cities. Her parents, who are lovely and have one other grandchild, will be a great help to them. We will be learning how to visit gracefully and depart. My own brother, skilled at distance traveling as an academic in the UK, advises short, rather frequent visits. A thought. Many thoughts. Good luck!

  52. Now that my third Great Grandchild has been born where do I go to classes on Great Grand Parenthood. The phrase OK Boomer comes to mine when I read this article.

  53. I dislike buying clothing and toys so with few exceptions, my grandchildren receive books and cash as gifts. When my daughter's daycare provider had to close her doors unexpectedly (the partner's job moved) and she asked me to pinch-hit for a week, I spent the weekend I arrived in the guest room but then rented a room on Airbnb for $35/night so that during the week, they could maintain their evening routine and not feel as if I were hovering, though I did stay long enough to have dinner and help with bedtime. I try hard to keep my mouth shut (not easy for me!) and give them all enough space. It is a balancing act - as parenting always has been.

  54. @Eileen My sister told me of a quote she heard regarding grand parents: “keep your mouth shut and your wallet open”. Sounds about right.

  55. Gosh!! How did human beings do “grand parenting” for 100,000 years before workshops and classes existed??

  56. @stevevelo It’s a new genre of media articles, the “everything is SO HARD and you don’t know what you’re doing” trend. From boiling water to walking your dog to being a grandparent apparently Americans have somewhere along the line become completely incompetent idiots.

  57. @stevevelo from the sound of it, your ancestors did it poorly...

  58. Unfortunately my wife and I may never have grandchildren despite having three children of our own. That’s because two are transgender and one is gay. Yes, they may adopt one day but it seems unlikely. My poor wife is beside herself as her younger sister has numerous grandchildren already and she doesn’t even have the prospect of ever having even one. It is a side of the LGBTQ issue that is not often discussed. It may seem selfish at first but the truth is that most of us hope to have grandchildren someday. But if all your children are LGBTQ then the chance of having grandchildren is greatly reduced if not eliminated. That is a very tough pill to swallow.

  59. Who knew there were workshops and classes about grandparenting? Not me. And I'm going to become a grandparent very soon, and I've been increasingly anxious about it... I'm so glad I discovered Paula Span's wonderful column. Now I know how to prepare myself. Thank you, NYT! Without this kind of help, I definitely would have been that idiot trying to put the baby to sleep on its stomach. Phew!

  60. Never had grandparents growing up. All 4 were murdered in the Holocaust. Fortunately I had siblings. It has affected my life in that there was marital strife and depression in my parents. I had to get help to break away, find joy, and literally grow up emotionally. Earning my own living was the hardest part.

  61. I am bad. I would fly anywhere to greet a new grandchild . Thats what hotels are for . Amazon separates billing and shipping addresses just for grandchildren . One of my sons who make more says don't worry we got it covered , I am like , cool the 529 money can go straight to your Child so they don't have to ask. One grandson at two has already ate more fruits and vegetables than I . What a wonderful Daughter in law. Hey bout a little finger food never Hurt and an extra Oz of formula is a matter of course. Finally, forget the force,This Is The Way... I did quit smoking for those pesky daughter in laws.

  62. Only Boomers would need classes on how to be a Grandparent. Just do what the kids ask and mind your own business.

  63. This is kind of a weird article, oriented to a really small sector of US society (I hope!) What about the many cases where grandparents are needed and wanted caretakers, helping out so that parents can work outside the home? What about the many Latino families where it is totally normal to have grandparents around, lots of times living in the same home? That is often by choice, and should not be considered bad. (The only folks it's bad for are housing developers, who would like very much to convince us all that we each need our own house.) Having multigenerational families in the same house has a bunch of benefits, including being able to watch and help out as your grandkids grow up. Sure there are stresses and arguments, but that is true of any family.

  64. NO!

  65. Geez. I ordinarily agree with such topics, but reading about all the seemingly required accommodations, maybe it’s just as well I’m not able to see the grandkids more often.😊

  66. Well this is impactful and a subject I ponder often. About 100 years ago, children had nearly 4-5 nannies (aunts, grandmothers, etc). I believe this encapsulates the concept “it takes a village”- everyone pitched in. With the evolution of the nuclear family, this clear delineation in family involvement began to change and now we have very different involvement levels with grandparents. I’m a young mother of one boy and I often see grandparents with their grandchildren and I become so dearly envious of grandparent involvement around my community. Despite having six living grandparents my son (age 3) has yet to even spend a full day with any of them. My husband and I are capable parents and I think this translates to: “they’ve got this”. I also think our parents/step-parents feel they’ve paid their dues by raising us. What I would give to have someone I could call over in really tough times or just one night alone with my husband. For these reasons, we’ve tabled having another child.

  67. You know what? There is no doubt someone in your community who would dearly live to be your boys adopted grandma.

  68. @AB I can hear the longing in what you've just written. I wish I lived closer to you and could "grandparent" your son a little bit. I've got two grandkids, a girl and a boy, four and two, after having had six daughters of my own. It's exhausting, I have them here and then, sometimes up to seven hours, so I'm relieved when they go home. I consider it an honor that my daughter and son-in-law trust me to take care of the little ones, they're safe with me, they have fun and we have clear boundaries (Grandma, parents, and kids). That said, my daughter and son-in-law are pretty laid back, everyone has learned that being fussy is counterproductive. I myself never knew my grandparents so I marvel at this relationship. My daughters (especially the older ones) spent a lot of time with their paternal grandparents (my mom lived overseas) and it was an immense blessing to know they were cherished by someone other than my husband and me. Yet the most important thing for me was KNOWING that they were as safe with Grandpa and Grandma as they were with us. As JM from Phoenix suggests, is there someone you trust who could become a surrogate grandparent/aunt/uncle? I wish you the best, AB...

  69. @ AB... pick up the phone & call them. Reach out, I’m sure they would love to come over & play. Maybe they just don’t want to be a regular full time babysitter. I get that, I wouldn’t either but I’d be thrilled to be invited over for a play date.

  70. I literally couldn't be the parent I want to be without my parents help. They are always there for advice, babysitting and commiserating. I tend to find that when it matters enough to them to comment on my parenting - well, they're right. They have a combined 36 years experience between my sister and me.

  71. We took a grandparenting class at Doylestown Hospital before our granddaughter was born. It can easily summed up: everything you did when raising your children was both incredibly wrong and very dangerous. So except for winning the "door prize" of a pack of newborn Pampers, we did not find it useful. The one thing I do not understand is why young parents today are so defensive and hostile about getting advice from their parents. They will spend hours looking at all the parenting websites for information but let a grandparent mildly comment "We found this helpful when you were a baby..." and the walls instantly go up. I got an was angry lecture when I mentioned that my pediatrician had told me that baby bottles did not need to be warmed up before feeding the baby. Yet 2 months later, they had stopped warming the bottles. I commented on it and got a breezy "Oh you don't need to warm them up..." Sigh. When I was raising my kids, I never felt that way towards my parents. Even when I disagreed with their advice, I found that thinking through exactly why I disagreed was very helpful for me to learn exactly what kind of parent I wanted to be. A message to New Parents: For goodness sake- we are your parents. We are not your enemy. We are not idiots. We have learned many things over the years. We love you and we love our grandchild. Stop taking offense at every word we say.

  72. If you have a relationship similar to my husband and his mother, then the problem may be that you don’t realize how troubled the relationship actually is. When she makes these supposedly innocuous comments like the one you mentioned, they trigger all sorts of negative feelings, not least of which is that we are being judged. She’s cold and distant at best, but demands to be seen as grandma when it suits her. We aren’t unreasonably offended by her. Our offense is quite legitimate.

  73. @Connie Martin Social media, our societal divisions, have all ravaged the mother-in-law. (Hillary Clinton was described that way, just as an older woman) It's prejudice, but what can be done. Add to that the "OK Boomer" attitude, and the thinking that young people know much more about everything because they're "tech natives." It's not always personal, but it's a shame.

  74. @Connie Martin That is awesome that you cared enough about being a grandparent to take a class! As a parent of two small boys, I can relate to your kids becoming defensive when presented with unsolicited advice. In this society young parents (especially mothers) are frequently criticized for our every decision/move. It can be difficult to stop being on the defense and it can be draining to constantly turn the other cheek. Try not to take offense to the criticism and try to be understanding of this different time that they are raising their kids. Once they become more confident in their parenting they will likely come around! Also, remember if your kids let you watch your grandchildren then they obviously trust and are grateful for your knowledge.

  75. Thought-provoking- My first reaction was- wow, sure hope I was right to trust my instincts and history to enable me to be a good grandma! The idea of attending a workshop startled me. I think I know how to listen, love, nourish. But, reading about how the rules of the game have changed (car seats, social media, navigating complicated families...) I now realize that gathering concerned grandfolks together might have a lot to offer.

  76. The best thing to do is to avoid being a grandparent at all. Seriously, why would anyone want to spend their golden babysitting their children's children? Because that's what a grandparent ultimately is. A glorified baby sitter.

  77. That is exactly what I want to do

  78. If your daughter or DIL wants to breastfeed, be supportive. (That includes not forcing her to go to another room.) Feeding is not the only way to nurture. If your daughter or DIL wants to go with formula, be supportive. Her body, her choice. I breastfed three, and loved it -- except for unsupportive grandparents and occasional mastitis -- but people who go with formula can be perfectly great parents. Look at France!

  79. Such unadulterated "Yuppie" (for that is the age of the grandparents) idiocy and lunacy! My god, can things get any more silly?

  80. I am a mother/grandmother who apparently causes all this avalanche of defensive stuff from my daughter in law. I would do nearly anything to stop it, as it has caused my son, my daughters, their husbands, the whole family a great deal of pain. My son and his wife are great parents, they are great human beings, but, since baby arrived 3 years ago I am greatly avoided. I feel like a dreadful pathogen. Anyhow, I was recently visiting with a couple friends who are not yet mother-in-law’s. They have watched my pain and shared it with me. (Thank the good lord for friends.). They recalled their relationships with their own extremely difficult mother-in-law’s. One friend was talking about how now, finally, when the kids are grown she has begun to just see her mother-in-law as a person who wants to be loved- no longer a threat- and the relationship is blooming. The other sadly recalled how she could have been kinder to her late mother-in-law but was a scared young mother and wanted to do things her way. Of course, now, she will never get the opportunity of having an truly adult relationship with her. Daughter-in-laws—— it isn’t worth it! Please try to be truly adult, not a reactive child, and be loving to the woman who raised your man. You have no idea the pain you can cause, not just her, but your husband and the rest of the family too. Maybe we need daughter-in-law classes. Heaven knows I go for a whole degree program in motherinlawing if it would help.

  81. @JM I agree! Not only am I a pathogen, I am deemed having nothing at all to offer my grandchildren, about whom I am always thinking. I love them, am kind, have many interests and time to share with them. Every negative element in my daughter-in-law's life is projected onto me. I seldom (once a year, if I am lucky) get to see my son or my grandchildren and we live a mile apart. My son accepts this situation because he wants to stay living with his children, or maybe her figures that being married to her is less painful than being divorced from her. The endless bouts of rumination in order to try to FIX the complex situation are ruinous to my emotional health. It's obsessional and yet normal. If I could erase the bond between my son and myself, it would be a lot more healthy, but I can't. There are many grandparents like me. We have various groups, Alienated Grandparents Anonymous, Dr. Joshua Coleman's webinars, and many bloggers. If the daughter in law doesn't 'like you' or want you in their lives, you're out for the duration. I hope to remain alive so that when my grandchildren are 18 years old, we can have a relationship. I am lucky I am able to send letters and gifts so far. Others are denied absolutely every form of contact. I think there should be laws in every state for grandparents' rights to visitation. The estrangement problem makes me wonder if civilization isn't decaying faster than we think, kind of like climate change.

  82. @serenocormac I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to waste my last years being miserable over not enough time with the kids and grandkids. I have two boys, they are good to me, but, like most sons, they have transformed into their wives’ way of life. I tolerate my daughters-in-law, so therefore no hurt feelings when they are catty with me. I have my own family, three dogs and several cats. My life is pretty full.

  83. I suspect that if you speak to your DIL with the same sarcastic and passive aggressive tone with which you wrote this comment, then you are a much bigger part of the problem than you realize or care to accept. There are two sides to every story, and the truth usually falls somewhere in between.

  84. I wish my mom and dad were still around to annoy me with unwanted advice on my parenting style.

  85. I’m 78 and a few years ago my Grandson looked at me seriously and said, "Bobby, you are Very, Very, Very old." Somewhat shocked, I asked, "Why do you say that Gerry?" He responded, "Because you have grey hair and a great moustache and then you will die." Well, that got my attention! I wasn't going to dye my hair but thought about what I could do to change his mind. I hadn't done Pull-ups in years but gave it a try and did two. When I showed him he said, “ That’s cool!" With that, I was on my way. I now do a good deal more reps, at times to the positive comments of strangers and it's all recorded on a small video camera that I'll give him in a year or two. It will be my Testament to him that you can't stop Father Time but you don't have to lie down and just give up.

  86. My philosophy of grandparenting is the same as my philosophy of parenting. It consists of three principles. Love your children/grandchildren. Tell them you love them. Show them you love them. The rest is noise.

  87. Luckily (for them) my children and grandchildren live half a world away from me. Since I only get to see them every couple of years i keep in touch by providing an endless supply of age-appropriate children's books. This commences when the grandchildren are still in utero---the books are waiting for mother and newborn when they arrive home from the birthing place. The books are never gift wrapped, never sent for birthdays or for holidays, and could just as easily arrive on the 26th of December as the 24th. These books are not presents, rather they are commodities. I never expect thanks except it is nice to learn which titles seem to"work" well so that I can suss out additional titles, often by the same author. I never give the grandchildren anything other than books. The other sets of grandparents (who live closer) can fill in the gaps with other stuff. I'm the book guy. I have explained to my sons and daughters-in-law that I am not without motive in doing this. What I want to do is to addict my grandchildren to reading. herendethelessen (apologies for length)

  88. @John Reading addiction: I knew I had won the game when my older son asked his sophisticated mid-teenagers if they were prepared to give their personal libraries to their newborn cousin. My son reported they were horrified by the idea; adamantly NOT!! of course I have had to start over again with the newest member of the family.

  89. @John I 'spose I should (unnecessarily) add that a benefit of books is they are a great opportunity for shared time between parent and child. One thing I have learned is that many of the titles that work the best are the ones that are interesting (on multiple levels) to an adult reader, as well as to a child. My grandchildren were still hungering to be read to, well into early adolescence. Personally, I avoid all titles carrying overt/covert messages such as: "Guess how much Mummy loves you?", and of course I would never buy, Walter the Farting Dog or titles by Stephenie Meyer. I do heavily editorialize in the choice of books, after all it's my money.

  90. @John As a voracious reader this is my role as well. Fortunately, the other grandparents are also readers. I don't have a lot of money, but I can give a gift far greater.....the love of reading and traveling the world through books.

  91. Three steps to being a terrific grandparent: 1. Don't give unsolicited advice 2. Don't give unsolicited advice 3. Don't give unsolicited advice

  92. Interesting. I wonder why so many commenters are warning against giving advice. I understand too much unsolicited advice can be taken as criticism, but some of our wisdom should be shared. Newer parents might not like it at first, but it should be considered. I will occasionally quote my own mother to my daughter. As always, it’s a fine line and it must be tread carefully, but sometimes the hard won “wisdom” of our elders can help ease worries and anxiety about raising children.

  93. @Demelza this specifically says "unsolicited advice." Sharing stories from your time as a parent, or telling about something your mother did sounds wonderful. Telling your child, in-laws or anyone else for that matter that they should do something differently, when they didn't ask for your opinion, very rarely goes well. In my experience I get a lot more help from hearing people reminisce, talk about an interesting article they read, or tell a story from their own life than any direct giving of advice, which can feel condescending. If I ask for advice that is a different story.

  94. My aunt once summed up the role of parents to their adult kids: keep your mouth shut and your purse open. I can expand on that a bit: we’re good for babysitting, lending the car (my daughter&SIL don’t have their own, and live not too far away), expressing sympathy when the little ones are sick, but I have to get better at keeping my mouth shut, because often what I’m sure is totally innocuous is perceived differently. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!

  95. @colleen If you are suggesting that I am a deeply flawed human being I am down with that. If you are suggesting that my daughter in law could have a while long list of reasons why I am terrible.... sure. But the idea that I am being sarcastic or passive aggressive is not related to reality. I would like to say..... our children and in laws are always imagining they are being judged. Sometimes they may be ... other times it is all their own brain projected onto us. But what if they are being judged? Have we raised such a generation of snowflakes that they cancel out their children’s opportunity for loving relationship because they may sometimes feel judged? I felt judged by my mother-in-law- but she got to love my kids and they loved her back. I could handle it. It was more than worth it. Some of that judging from my mother-in-law was real and also, they y y y. I am sure a lot of it was my own head. I wonder what part of this seems passive aggressive or sarcastic to you. Fascinating.

  96. @JK, I was replying to JM. Is that you? If so, I was referring to comments such as “don’t be a reactive child.” That is actually overtly aggressive rather than simply passive aggressive. Similarly, in this post, you imply that anyone who disagrees with your judgmental assessments can’t take it because we are “snowflakes.” And the overall tone of your comment is bitter, which I understand. You miss your son and aren’t getting to have the experience you want to have with your grandchildren. I don’t know you or your DIL, so I’m not saying you don’t have a right to your feelings and opinions. I’m simply saying that it is important for everyone involved to consider their role. It is unlikely that you are a blameless victim, especially when you went straight to name calling (snowflake) because I challenged your opinion. That tells me that your DIL may have some legitimate issues that you aren’t seeing and that you,in fact, may be the one who is reactive. Is there any way you can try to see her side and perhaps not just think she needs to grin and bear your judgments without feeling hurt? And, overall, I think everyone needs to back up a bit and stop feeling sorry for themselves for not getting to have a certain kind of experience they want with their grandchildren. They weren’t put on the earth to satisfy anyone’s needs or desires. They are whole beings in and of themselves, developing their own needs and desires. Why can’t just witnessing that be enough?

  97. Totally agree with all of this! JM/JK I too see that you are upset. I’m a prickly DIL. I hope my other comment made it in as maybe it will shed some light. I’ve learned and suggested to friends to treat in-laws like friends/work friends. If you want a relationship you must cultivate it - that means no bemoaning it to friends/no complaining about DILs as a group/no generalizations (snowflakes). Ask yourself if you’d talk to/about a friend the way you would an in-law. I often feel people can’t demand relationships/respect if you don’t give it. My friend Dana has a new dil. She erred in insisting she be present to help them buy a house/look at the one she picked. She didn’t like ideas for the wedding. The dil rejected her - I get it! It took a lot of time but she’s saying things like “my son loves her, she’s a great mother, I’ve pledged not to say anything about her that’s not kind.,” it’s working.

  98. So break the cycle and stop the bloody judging! Oh my word, has a snappy, pithy piece of unsolicited advice EVER made a recipient feel anything but shame and doubt? You are not their drill instructor or commanding officer, and your children are "cooked" - your parenting, molding of them was done when they were about, unless there is actionable abuse or neglect, back off with the judging OR stay away! Its that simple.

  99. I read this piece yesterday, but the comments only today. All I can say is “wow.” So much pain, anxiety, alienation. Maybe grandparents need a support group as well as a class. A wonderful piece, as always, which made so many people comfortable in expressing their joy and pain.

  100. Grandparenting workshops would not be necessary if grandparents simply adhered to the principles of the 3 (or 4) S's--Stand Back, Shut Up, and Smile (and Shell Out if you are able). 2019 has blessed me with 2 grandchildren (cousins), and there have already been opportunities to practice this.

  101. My daughter is a smart, opinionated, loving mother & my attitude is: your house, your rules. I respect the parenting she & my son-in-law do & I learn from them, more than they learn from me. The best teachings I gave my daughter happened in her formative childhood years, for much of which I was a single parent. I miss my 2 grandsons every day I'm not with them. They live 1500 miles away & I make the effort, spend the $ on my limited retirement income to visit them a minimum of 2 weeks in fall & early spring plus 6 weeks in summer. (I stay in a rental place nearby.) They won't be small for long & the older one - age 5 - will prefer the company of his pals to his grandma all too soon. I just hope when they get a bit older, I can bring them to visit me & have some adventures together on our own.

  102. @Janet Assuming 'your house, your rules' is to be read as your CHILD, your rules. As a grandparent of 7, 0-8 years, from 4 children - some nearby, some distant, I visit when welcome, care when requested, follow all guidelines, including advise, when asked and i've never had a problem.

  103. I just found out last night that I'm going to be a grandparent. I had somewhat given up, but I'm thrilled. Timely article, thank you!

  104. @JaneM ...Congratulations!

  105. This is really sad. Admittedly I'm only a a aprent not a grandparent, but be cause of a late start, I am older than most grandparents so I have a sense of generational issues. People...this is not hard. Whatever relationship you have with your children it should be more or less the same with a grandchild. Just always to remember to say to yourself and your kids... "Times may have changed." How much to spend on gifts? Really? This is a question? I can't even...

  106. @HA it’s generally not about the relationship with the grandkids, but the relationship with the kids- the new parents. The grandparents are used to being able to say whatever, whenever to their children. This can cause problems when those children are now new parents who are extremely stressed out. These classes are about helping grandparents maintain and develop good relationships with their own children now that they are stressed out parents who don’t want random drop ins, grandparent friend visits, constant unsolicited advice, and perpetual second guessing. People seem to think relationships are easy, but they are not. These classes help grandparents be mindful of their contribution to either conflict or harmony.

  107. Did you know that there is actually a magazine for grandparents? It's call GRAND and available free. It covers everything from grands in waiting, grands raising grandkids, alienated grandparents and so much more. I recommend it!

  108. This is news to me that there are grandparenting classes. I am forwarding this article to my husband who is struggling with his role as grandfather. (I am 2nd wife, step -grandma, no kids/grandkids of my own). My stepdaughter is very very sensitive and takes everything as criticism. She has a very prickly personality. To say she is over protective is an understatement. The helicoptering is so intense she will rarely let us be alone with the kids (age 2 and 4). She moved across the country when oldest was 2. We see them a few times a year. I am learning as we go along that we really have to let them go, let them be their own little family unit, be the cheerleaders on the sidelines, and never say anything remotely 'helpful' ( it will be taken as crticism). I feel lucky to be in a grandparent role, and melt when the little ones refer to me as such. My expectations are different from my husband's because I am naturally less invested emotionally. Some families are very close and dependent upon grandparents. We get jealous of our neighbors whose kids/grandkids visit all the time. My husband is sad that he doesn't get to show off his grandkids to his friends. But from reading some of these stories I realize we are lucky not to be alienated. We are learning to adjust to being distant but still there. Important: Do not compare yourself to uber grandparents next door. Do not expect your child to ask for advice. Facetime counts as visits. Be supportive and loving, always.

  109. I love your advice about FaceTime and being supportive - I’m thinking your step daughter will appreciate it as well as your reflections. I’ve been described as “prickly.” I didn’t become this way overnight; I’m very different from my family and in-laws - married later/law school mid life/more introverted. I’ve had large parties/gatherings forced on me, been shamed bc I eloped/deprived family of roles in my wedding - been told I needed to involve family on IVF/developments as we are “family,” and boundaries stomped. It’s made me controlling - I’ve drawn firm lines as any were not respected. I’ve learned to treat some relatives like work relationships - polite but with boundaries. I gravitate towards those who approach me on a level of equality and friendship ex. my husband’s grandmother shut down a table with “leave her alone she just got pregnant, it’s her business her body you are overwhelming ME.” Then she hugged me said I’d make a great mom, told me she’d always help and support me. While I’m divorcing her grandson, I love the woman, I make an effort to see her routinely and she has a great relationship with my daughter. Sounds like you are on a good path - go easy with the prickly ones you may be surprised what happens when you think well of them.

  110. I’m the grandmother of two boys three and four years old. I have great memories of spending time with my grandparents and so do my sons. Maybe that’s why the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren seems so natural to me that it puzzles me to read how complicated it can be. I realize we’re reproducing the same pattern over generations. Grandparents respect the parents general rules but the parents understand that they will be a little more relaxed at grandma’s.

  111. We have followed the example of my wonderful mother- and father-in law and we never give advice or an opinion unless asked for. We have a great relationship with our children, our grandchildren and the other grandparents. We are blessed.

  112. Grand parent training is a good thing. It’s been a long time! But having your grandchild across the country is only mildly Inconvenient. In a pinch you can even drive there. Try grand-parenting to a kidlet on the far side of the world, where visiting can be an $1800 (per person), 30 hour slog on 3 flights and maybe 2 airlines, to a planet where many things are done differently. With 90 minutes in a car on each end.

  113. Time to do face time. At least weekly. You can read stories to them, they can walk around & show you their stuff... whatever they want, you can still be involved.

  114. Now we need a Workshop on HOW TO BE A GOOD IN-LAW. (Not that anyone would take such advice.) There should be a Survey of how many in-laws are a direct cause of Divorce. (Not that anyone would accept responsibility.)

  115. They do not touch on the difficulties of grandparents with kids and grandkids overseas, which is difficult in many other ways.

  116. When our daughter was a baby... Ah, but that was then. This is now! In no uncertain terms, she - now an experienced RN, and due with our first grandchild any day now - directed us to the grandparenting class she and her husband had already signed us up for. The class and "tour" of the latest maternity section of the hospital (now completely unrecognizable from the place where our daughter's second and third siblings were born) was interesting and engaging. But except for "the baby sleeps ONLY on its back; and with NEVER anything else in the crib!!!" there didn't appear to be a whole lot of brand new going on. Well, except it's a little bizarre and pretty cool in so many ways to be experiencing the days of future past.

  117. Being a grandparent means everything to me. I've always believed the best advice is to have FUN together. Build moments together no matter the age. And be there when they need matter how far away you live. Invite them for weekend dinners and holidays. Bring them food when they are ill, help with the children when they are sick, listen to them when they need you. We just celebrated with 20 family members for a big joint birthday. Celebrate!

  118. As an old guy with two wonderful grandsons, I can’t believe we need a course on grandparenting. Are we now so lacking in self- sufficiency and resilience? Come on.

  119. @Mark Siegel: as another old guy with four grandchildren, I could not agree more with you. Do we have to be taught everything? Sigh ...

  120. I am a grandparent of seven children. Giving them love, attention and passing on wisdom is my role. Workshops for grandparents? It's more a way for people to meet other people in similar situations then anything else.

  121. Some grandparents (looking at one of my in-laws in particular) are just too overbearing. Before my first was born my FIL (who lives 1000 miles away) announced he would be visiting once per month. We managed to settle into once every other month, which continues to this day. But I've noticed everyone really is different. I know people who live airplane rides away (like us) who see the grandparents sometimes more than once a month. But others think every 4 months or even twice a year is good. I think it depends on two things - one, how many kids do the grandparents have? I know someone who is one of 4. All the siblings have kids, and they all live in different parts of the country, so the grandparents wind up only visiting each one 1-2x per year. Another thing it depends on is culture - my mother's family is super WASPy and people aren't very clingy.

  122. It’s not about you, it’s about how your kid can benefit of the relationship with their grandparents.

  123. Wrong - if the two adjacent generations (parent and child, child having the grandchild, whether they be in-laws or parents) do not get along, are abusive to each other, or lack respect for one another, the parent has every right to stay away from the "grandparent", thus keeping them as a distance from the grandchildren. Those grandparents had their kids and made their choices. If they alienated their own children (for whatever reason), oh, well! I wouldn't let my own mother within 10 ft of a child of own nephews and nieces want nothing to do with her, either, now that they're grown. She's had 50 years to sort out her hurtful, judgemental, screechy behavior to no avail. Allow children and grandchildren to have agency over their own relationships, and quit acting like blood relationships are inherently stronger than any others. Often, they're much more damaging.

  124. I think the fact they have limits on what to spend for gifts says it all. Middle class. If you are an ordinary person you are lucky to be able to give any gift. The world turns.

  125. There is no end to how people will blow their money and there is always a scammer ready to take it from.

  126. what is going on here? classes on 'how to be a grandparent?' what did theses elder 'snowflakes' learn in their life? they should just post they are unqualified and leave the didscujssion. they raised children? i doudt they were successful. if their children were successful they was without their help.

  127. Don’t need no seminar. Just read the comments. Thanks you guys!

  128. From a young mother’s experience: keep your mouth shut unless asked. Unsolicited advice is in no way helpful. It is going to be taken the wrong way, and yes, you are judging when you dole out the advice, whether you want to believe it or not. As for the comments on here of “I just dealt with the comments when I was a new mother”, society has changed and you don’t necessarily need to sit back and shut up if your mother or mother-in-law is offensive. It’s not helpful to do so but destructive. Sit back, enjoy the ride, keep your mouth shut, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have your kids ask you for advice. I can guarantee the grandparents that are asked advice have done something right in their relationships, and for those who are not need to look at yourself and make some changes.

  129. In my opinion, your job is to unconditionally love your grandchildren--you are not their parent and be respectful of the parents--don't try to outdo them, compete with them, or go around their back.

  130. Come on! It doesn't seem like the the problems described here started at the birth of the grandchild. These grandparents sound like helicopter of parents of yesteryear who are so self absorbed with their own infallibility on how to do things right, they continue to, not start, correcting their children when they become parents. These grandparents are acting like this in their own self interested, as being saviors, lecturers and know it alls.

  131. as a grateful grandparent, i realize having grandkids is a consciousness-raising experience. if you've spent a lifetime dispensing with advice, whether the other party asked for it or not, it's time to look at the message that advice gives. it's something like, "i know better than you". it's not an empathic way of communicating - acceptance is your journey..

  132. I would teach that when they get to be teens and move on to the greater world it is a tremendous loss after having had one of the best experiences of your life enjoying them. I was besotted and it has taken years to grieve and move on. Much harder than when I had my own empty nest.

  133. I am not a grandparent and I don’t want to be. So far, my sons have not shown any sign of wanting to have kids, even though they are partnered. I have a strong relationship with my kids and I don’t believe I’ll ever have a similar relationship my grandkids (if any). It’d only make me feel old. Of course, I will buy gifts and so on if I am presented with a grandchild but I have had my fill of changing diapers and have no desire to do it again.

  134. Someone needs a "workshop" to be a grandparent? Is this like one of these "life coaches" who take advice tidbits from some trendy website and resell it at $100/hr to someone who has not the common sense they were born with? What has happened to us?

  135. I guess some people need to be taught everything. Perhaps there should be classes for brothers, sisters, uncles and cousins. Perhaps we should take a class on the proper way to receive the daily mail? Give me a break.

  136. My grandchildren were born in CA. Nothing made me happier than having my daughter ask me to come out after (not for) each birth. I spent the first week looking after her and helping out, and then my husband joined us. Later, they moved back near us. Boundaries are important. I think there was initially a fear that we would be over there all the time, but they soon realized that we have very active lives of our own. We are there when they need us, but not intrusive into their building a life for themselves where they live.

  137. @MaestraZ We moved near our son and daughter in law and two beautiful granddaughters this past June. In fact we are about 2 miles away. You are so right, boundaries are important. When we visit them I make sure my two little ones know who to ask if they want ice cream, "you better ask the boss, that's Mommy and Daddy, Nina is just visiting."

  138. No, I don't need expert advice on being a grandparent. But I love my grandchildren enormously, and any helpful tips would certainly be considered and appreciated. Nothing is too good, for those little cutie pies.

  139. I am(we are) on the eve of of our first grandchild. unfortunately/fortunately that child will be born in Europe. I am (we are) excited for our son & daughterin-law. The reality is we will likely only see them 1 to 2 times a year. That feels rough. I feel conflicted about how our relationship will be with that child. We have a very good relationship with both of our sons, and I believe a good one with our daughter-in-law. I just worry that we'll be so remote that we will miss out on the bond that could be created by a grandparent and a child. And that the relationships will be forced, based on the timelines of time together. That makes me sad before we've even gotten to the birth.

  140. What has happened that we have created a society of people who classes for everything because they think there is a "right" way to do everything? Don't take classes. Do what you think is to your friends...and when you make a mistake then make a correction. Sigh.

  141. I have been a grandmother for 30 years. We have six grandchildren, five boys and one girl. Of the three daughters-in-law, only one was was willing to share holidays and special occasions with us. The other two lovely women are so tied to their mothers, it’s as if we didn’t exist no matter what we did or didn’t do. It took huge amounts of energy and compromising to see the grandchildren. Ladies, please! If you’re husband’s parents are balanced, low-key, reasonable, interested, non-interfering, loving people who want to spend time with you and the grandchildren, please don’t put up impossible roadblocks. It’s tremendously hurtful and unnecessary.

  142. New parents who are defensive and over-protective do not realize that they may be creating an antagonizing relationship with their OWN CHILDREN. I recall the time a close uncle's wife being really mean-nasty to his father. The uncle 'took' the wife's side. When their oldest son, about my age, grew up he used the same model towards HIS PARENTS [ie my uncle and his wife] as he had seen them do. Do as I do not as I say reconfirmed. Again. But of course the only way to have a relationship with the child-in-law is 'through' your child at least initially.

  143. I believe that the best thing you can do is to be there when they need help. Men sometimes don't realize how tired a new mother can get and just being there so they can get a LOT of sleep, but the grandmothers remember. There is a music CD called Cello Lullaby that was developed by the Children's Hospital in Melbourne to ease stress and help babies and children relax and sleep. I picked up a copy on a Qantas flight when my grandson was a few months old and it has been a blessing. This wonderful grandson is now 15 and that CD still impacts him as designed. Two or three songs and he's sleeping beautifully. Before the new mother gets too far along asking if they could use a lift chair. This can help as the baby grows, adversely impact the ease of movement for the mom-to-be. As that baby grows there is a big benefit in being able to press a button and recline to a comfortable position with feet raised - then press another button and have the chair gently lift her to a position where it's pretty easy to stand. In today's world it's really pretty simple to ask what is needed and then arrange for delivery. Weekly delivery of diapers, wet wipes, etc can ease getting through the TO Do list for tired/busy new parents. Most of all, be ready to relax and love the new grand baby.

  144. My own sister-in-law gave me good advice: month shut and purse open. My husband and I (4 married children between us with 7 grandchildren under 5 and 2 more on the way) agree that our children do not want to hear about "how we did it." We are dinosaurs. So, we enjoy our grandchildren to the fullest, but we don't get involved.

  145. A support group for new grandmothers, what a great idea! I will start one when the time comes for me! We'll invite the grandfathers every third meeting.

  146. Why do grandparents and grandchildren get along so well? Because they have a common enemy...

  147. Only in the US. What a strange place!

  148. Why can’t our children, the parents, just let us be in the moment with our grandkids. and then go home and laugh behind our backs? Doesn’t that seem more healthy for everyone?

  149. My mother-in-law was a problem. When the baby was 3 weeks old she wanted to know why I hadn't started potty training yet. She said that if I held her over a potty I might "catch" something. I knew then not to listen to anything she said. My own mother, who lived far away managed to visit when the baby was 2 months old. She would ask me how I liked to do this or that. She didn't impose her ideas despite having raised 11 children. This has been my approach with my own grandchildren. I tried to do things however my daughters liked them done. There are a dozen right ways to do most things, so it's best to ask, and it will be appreciated. There was a silly song I learned in Primary school, and we discovered that if I sang it, a squirming baby having a nappy change would lie still. I used to be called from the other end of the house to come and sing that song. It was very strange, but it worked with all the grandchildrren. When our daughter lived within commuting distance, we would go every Wednesday to help out and babysit. A designated day when your child and partner can go out together is very valuable.

  150. I don't.

  151. Please, no over the top gifts, or an endless supply of toys that are not needed. I know grandparents love the short term fun of giving gifts, but do not overdo. Set up a 529 account and give the gift of love and time. All the other stuff end up at GoodWill or the garbage pit.

  152. I am a grandparent (times 3). I’m enjoying every minute of it. Our children were raised differently than we were. The world they live in now is different than the world we lived in when we were raising them. They’ve had different life experiences than we have had that dictate their decision-making regarding their children. It has not been determined that our child-rearing methods were the “gold standard”. Again, it is a different world now, with different socio-economic, educational, and technology influences. We already had our children. Let our children have THEIR children. We, as grandparents, should not be overseeing or judging what they are doing with their children. They will make mistakes, as did we. And they will learn from their mistakes, as did we. Grandparenting classes are ridiculous!!!! The only advice needed for grandparents is: Open your hearts to all the additional love that you have for your grandchildren; Hug them and kiss them; Speak only when spoken to; Otherwise just smile and say NOTHING!!; Do not judge, criticize or offer unsolicited advice; NEVER make either parent feel incompetent or inadequate by your questions, comments or tone of voice; Be available to help out in any way that is requested; And, most importantly, you always want to make sure that when your children open their front door and they see you standing there, there are smiles on their faces!!! Then you certainly know you are doing everything correctly!

  153. If people wonder why new moms are so prickly about receiving advice, it is because when you’re a new mother everyone around you is constantly giving unsolicited advice (at the grocery, among friends, when you least expect it), and over time it builds up to feel like an attack on your abilities when you yourself are often questioning what you’re doing. If you want to advise, the best way is to couch it as a funny story about your own past, perhaps. As a new mom I just wanted someone to take a fussy baby off my hands in a competent way, so I could rest.

  154. I have 2 small children and I think it’s wonderful that grandparents are trying to learn how to best support their children and grandchildren and take on a new family role. I also welcome advice and perspectives from my parents and in laws as long as it’s offered with and open heart. We’re all stronger together as long as we respect each other.

  155. I sometimes wonder if our adult children realize that we got them here in one piece:I was babysitting my first grandchild for my son and daughter in law , they were attending a company Xmas party and this was the first time they had left her. She was just 5 weeks and was being nursed by her mum. So her parents had a couple of breast milk bottles made up and in the fridge. My son then proceeded to tell me how to heat up a baby bottle. I said, “ don’t worry, I’ll do it like I used to, over an open flame like the Flintstones”. It took him a couple of minutes to get the joke.

  156. "Because after all, we've all done this at least once" doesn't take into account those of us who don't have children of our own, but have step children that may have been adults when we came into the picture, who now have babies...making us "step grandparents", trying very hard to feel like a "real" grandparent. You do those of us without our own children a desservice. It's hard enough.