GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 30

ask dr. gramma karen

When the grandchildren's visits go awry

A	
  Must--‐Read	
  for	
  
Grandparents

BY KAREN L. RANCOURT

W

hen Grandpa Don and (step)
Grandma Marni dropped off
Don's son, Don's wife, and their
two young children at the airport, they felt
guilty because they were so glad to see
them leave.
New Englanders Don and Marni had
rented a beautiful three-bedroom condominium for the winter on the water in
Florida. As a Christmas present to their
two grown children, both married with two
young children each, Don and Marni bought
them plane tickets and invited each family
to stay with them for a week, a month apart,
to enjoy a break from the cold New England
weather.
The first family arrived with the two grandchildren both sick with colds and fevers. The
parents explained, "We came even though
the kids were sick, thinking the warm weather would
be good for them." Marni and Don spent the week
taking care of their sick grandchildren while their parents took in the beaches and local attractions. After
they left, Marni came down with a cold and fever that
lasted for days.

"

"

"We were disappointed, and
at first we said, 'Never again!"

The second family arrived for their week in good
health, but their grandchildren's behavior left much to

30 GRAND

JANUARY FEBRUARY 2019

A new game plan

be desired: They rough-housed and fought with each
other, grabbed food off each other's plates, and complained about whatever activities Marni and Don had
planned for them. The parents explained away their
kids' bad behavior by saying, "Kids will be kids."
In describing these visits Marni said, "Our time
together was strained. We would have preferred
rescheduling the week with the sick grandchildren,
and as regards our other grandchildren, we didn't
want to spend our time disciplining them. We were
disappointed, and at first we said, 'Never again!'
Then after a couple days of venting, we felt sad as we
thought about not spending extended time with our
grandchildren."

Marni and Don addressed the
unpleasant visits with a different
plan for the next winter. They would
rent a one-bedroom condominium
for themselves, and they would rent
a nearby efficiency with two bedrooms and a kitchenette for a week
for each of the two families. They
also plan to rent a car for each visiting family. Marni and Don figured
out that paying for the plane tickets,
the efficiency, and the rental cars will
be more cost effective than renting
an upscale three-bedroom condo
for three months.
Marni and Don like this new plan,
as the visiting families can have
privacy, independence, and take care of many of their
own meals. In addition they feel that the actual time
they will be spending with Don's grown children and
their spouses and their grandchildren will be more
relaxed and fun for everyone.
Now they are looking forward to these visits.

Look	
  Inside
"This	
  book...set	
  me	
  
straight.	
  I	
  wasn't	
  sure	
  
where	
  my	
  boundaries	
  
were	
  as	
  a	
  grandma..."
"Karen	
  identifies	
  the	
  
cause	
  and	
  effect	
  of	
  
family	
  issues	
  in	
  plain	
  
and	
  simple	
  language."
--‐	
  Amazon.com	
  Reviewers

Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes
an advice column for parents and
grandparents at Mommybites.com
and is the author of Ask Dr. Gramma
Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to
Help Soothe Parent-Grandparent
Conflicts.

Show me the book!


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GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019

Contents
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 1
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 2
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 3
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 5
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 6
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 7
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 8
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 9
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