“Tummy time” and “Back to Sleep” weren’t part of the playbook when Ginny Fountain gave birth a generation ago. This expectant grandma’s got a lot to learn about newborns, which is how Fountain, 64, wound up in a grandparenting class offered earlier this month at a hospital in Seattle.
But as it turns out, learning about all the new developments is actually the easy part; what’s trickier is figuring out how to play a supporting role and how not to bigfoot the new parents. If you think the birth of a grandchild is an opportunity to show off what you know, think again. The I-raised-you-and-you-turned-out-okay argument doesn’t cut it anymore. “Parents are very smart today,” Peel cautions her class.
Grandparenting styles are something I often think about. I am a maternal child nurse and a social worker specializing in children. That being said…it is difficult for me to keep my mouth shut in my role as grandmother.
So that is one of the reasons I began writing “parenting in the loop“. It gives me a voice and helps me understand the depth and width of parenting in 2012, some thirty years after I began my journey as a mother.
Mothering and parenting have always been learning experiences. At times the learning learning curve is a steep one. We had Dr.T. Berry Brazelton, who was preceded by Dr. Spock. They were the physician experts in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s.
But oh …how times have changed …with the advent of the internet, we are all able to share our experiences and personal preferences when it comes to parenting. The information is more than abundant, so it is no wonder that today’s generation of parents can have problems when their parents say,”we did it this way and you turned out okay”!
Here are my simple recommendations for grandparents:
- Take a grandparenting class prior to the arrival of your first grandchild (even if your kids turned out okay).
- If there are no ‘grandparenting classes’…go ahead and sign up for a parenting class like the one at your local hospital.
- Learn how to listen to your children about their parenting preferences.
- Incorporate your child’s parenting style into your grandparenting style.
- Respect your grandchild’s parents…listen…think before you make comments or suggestions…smile often.
- Visit some of the mommy blogs to become familiar with contemporary parenting styles.
- Enjoy the heck out of your grandchildren.