GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - 26

with just mother's milk or formula for the first six
months. There are many new - and valid - parenting philosophies and approaches. It's up to
the parents to decide which to use and up to you
to go along with those decisions.

Your advice may not
always be welcome.

You may reach the moment when you think
your experience and wisdom could benefit your
GRANDbaby or his or her parents. As true as that
may be, experts advise to tread carefully.
Remember that giving advice can be sending mixed messages. It can mean, "I love you so
much that I want to help," or "I really don't have
much confidence in your ability to figure this out
for yourself."
Jane Isay, author of Walking on Eggshells:
Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between
Adult Children and Parents generalizes the problem, saying that advising any adult child - not just
one who is a new parent - can lead to resentment.
There's also this advice in Good to Be Grand - Making the
Most of Your Grandchild's First Year: Remind yourself that several different opinions or approaches may be valid, especially
when studies and techniques are still developing. Then realistically
assess how receptive the parents might be to suggestions. Some
new parents are happy to hear another opinion. Others will take
any attempt to start the conversation as a criticism or insult. If you
do decide to speak up - choose the time wisely and try to raise
the topic in a non-threatening way. Phrase it as a question and
find out more about what the parents think before you talk about
your ideas.
If it sounds as though your role as a grandparent means forever biting your tongue, take heart from Alex, the grandfather
of three, who says: "Is it tough to manage - this relationship
26 GRAND

MARCH APRIL 2018

where you are not in charge? Where you sometimes disagree
but are afraid if you do that relations will become strained? It's
not always easy, but you just keep doing it and you keep getting
better at it."

There may arise the need to
navigate the in-law relationship
with more care than before.

When there are two sets of grandparents (or more, if any of the
grandparents have divorced and remarried) it's unlikely that the
relationship with the baby and the baby's parents will be identical. Even if relationship patterns have been going along without
disruption before the baby is born, some new issues may come to
the surface. Here is advice for keeping things flowing smoothly.
* Be inclusive in your comments. Don't say things to your son

or daughter that you wouldn't say to daughter-or
son-in-law. Say what you have to say to both or
don't say it at all.
* Don't criticize your son or daughter-inlaw in conversation with your child.
* Try to remain neutral when disagreements occur instead of taking sides. Be the
person who adds positive energy, not the person
who stirs up arguments or feeds animosity.
* Be true to yourself. Develop a special
bond with your grandchild based on who you
really are. Don't think you have to compete with
other relatives.
The relationship between the baby's mother
and the her mother-in-law are, for many families,
the most difficult. In fact, a study conducted by
the University of Cambridge Center for Family
Research and an organization called the Stand
Alone Institute found one of the most common
reasons for families becoming estranged is
the relationship between parents and the
daughter-in-law.
Deanna Brann, a clinical psychotherapist who contributes to
Huffington Post and who has authored two books on the topic
of relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-inlaw, points out that some of these relationships have a "passive
aggressive" nature.
What does a passive-aggressive daughter-in-law tend to do?
She might avoid spending time with you. She's always busy when
you come for a visit. She goes out of her way to include her mother
in special times, without sharing those times with you. You can,
of course ignore this kind of behavior, or you can encourage your
daughter-in-law to express her feelings. When she does, acknowledge that she has a right to those feelings and that your intent is not
to infringe on her right to feel what she feels. You may be able to
clear up past misunderstandings, but the most important part is to
let her know you want to have a good relationship going forward.
Continued on next page


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GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018

Contents
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - 1
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - 2
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - 3
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - 5
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - 6
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