GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 10

ask dr. gramma karen
cease and desist. Stop talking. Bite your
tongue." He seemed intrigued by this notion
of Zip it! and asked me to say more about it.
I elaborated: "Why should you zip it?
Because, as a grandparent, you are not in the
driver's seat anymore. You are a passenger
'riding along' at the pleasure of the parents.
When you were raising your own children, you
made the rules. Now your job is to enforce the
rules set down by your grown children regarding your grandchildren, whether you agree with
them or not. To use a common idiom, 'There's a
new sheriff in town,' and it isn't you."
I further explained that Zipping it! can be
hard to pull off, especially in light of the fact
that the average age for becoming a grandparent is 50 for women, and 52 for men. This
means that many grandparents are still parents
themselves raising their own children.
So, it's understandable that many grandparents find it challenging to move back
and forth between being the rule maker and
being expected to enforce the rules of the
very people for whom they used to be the
rule maker! And to complicate matters further, many times the grandparents don't agree
with the rules they are expected to enforce.
Nevertheless, zipping it needs to prevail.
He was nodding in agreement, so I said,
"Here are some phrases that are strong indicators that zipping it might be a wiser course
of action than plowing ahead with unsolicited
advice to the parents of your grandchildren:
'I know you didn't ask me, but...' or 'You really
10 GRAND

JAN., FEB. & MAR. 2020

he wasn't really good at zipping it and often
found himself in hot water.
I pointed out that of course any relationship is a two-way street, so lest grandparents feel I am singling them out as the sole
source of conflict in parent-grandparent relationships, I am not. I also have two words of
advice for parents: Lighten up! If the grandparents have loving intentions, parents should
give them a break when they don't exactly
follow directives.
Kids are very resilient and can easily survive occasional deviations in their nap times
or eating a forbidden dessert. If parents have
enough trust to leave their children alone
with the grandparents, then there will most
likely be times when the advice to Lighten up!
He looked crestfallen
makes sense.
and commented that he wasn't So, two words of advice: For grandparents,
Zip it! For parents, Lighten up!
really good at zipping it
By following their respective two words of
and often found himself
advice, parent-grandparent relationships are
enhanced. This increases the opportunities
in hot water.
for grandchildren to witness and experience
We talked further about the unalterable
interactions between their parents and grandfact that parents determine who has access to parents that are based on mutual respect,
their kids, including grandparents, and under consideration, and kindness.
what circumstances. Therefore, if grandparents want to be in good stead and have the
opportunity to enjoy wonderful and ongoKaren L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes
an advice column for parents and
ing relationships with their grandchildren,
grandparents at Mommybites.com.
then zipping it is worth doing. It's really that
Her most recent book is, It's All
simple. And difficult!
About Relationships: New Ways to
Make Them Healthy and Fulfilling,
He looked crestfallen and commented that
should... ' or 'Here's what I did when raising
my children... '"
My advice is straightforward: if you want to
be a welcomed and successful grandparent,
practice zipping it. Yes, granted, you have lots
of experience, and yes, you have what many
would consider wisdom, but until such time
as you are invited to share your experience
and wisdom, zip it. (The only time to jump in
uninvited is when the grandchildren's health,
safety, and well-being are at risk, a very rare
occurrence.) You will know when you've been
invited to "unzip" it when you are specifically
asked for your opinion: "What do you think
about...?"

"

"

at Home and at Work.

A	
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  for	
  
A Must Read for
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Everyone!

Look	
  Inside
"This	
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This
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the
where	
  
mtakes
y	
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uncertainty
thorniwere	
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randma..."
ness out of relationships.

No
more ibeing
confused,
"Karen	
  
dentifies	
  
the	
  
or
unsure
about
what
cause	
  
and	
  
effect	
  
of	
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do,
oftenissues	
  
doingin	
  
somefamily	
  
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thing
makes
a relaand	
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imple	
  
language."
tionship
even worse!
--‐	
  Amazon.com	
  Reviewers

Show me the book!


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GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020

Contents
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 1
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 2
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 3
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - Contents
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 5
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 6
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 7
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 8
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 9
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 10
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 11
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 12
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GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 19
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GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 25
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GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 35
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 36
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