GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021 - 13

ask dr. gramma karen
Advice for grandparents vacationing with
extended family
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT
A
s Covid-19 vaccinations increase and more and more extended families get together, many vacationing
together, intergenerational conflicts may result. For example, a reader presented me with this situation, one that
may apply to other families.
" My husband and I have rented a large vacation home at a beach for three weeks for our two grown daughters, their
husbands, and our four grandchildren, all between the ages of 7 and 11. Each daughter has two kids. Because of the pandemic,
all of us have not been together in almost two years.
As excited as my husband and I are about everyone being together, we can anticipate a problem that could really ruin
this time together. Our two daughters are like night and day when it comes to parenting our grandchildren. One is looseygoosey
and lets her kids eat whatever they want, whenever they want (and they do eat some pretty unhealthy stuff). Our
other daughter is regimented and very health conscious. Her idea of a treat is to let the kids have low-fat ice cream.
We saw inklings of what will probably happen when on the family vacation the last time we were all together, for
example, one cousin saying, " How come they can eat that, and we can't? " And now that they're older, we're pretty
sure they'll be even more aware that one set of cousins gets to eat things the other set isn't allowed to have.
I am happy to shop for groceries, but I really do not want to buy junk food, so I am anxious about my one
daughter putting a shopping list together that includes junk.
Help! I am losing sleep over this. "
My advice
I want you to close your eyes. Picture a ten-foot pole lying on the ground with a big sign
affixed to it that says, " DO NOT TOUCH. " That is my advice: stay out of this! Any kind of
direct involvement on your part will be a minefield.
I applaud you for wanting to be proactive and not taking a well-let's-keepour-fingers-crossed
attitude. That approach will no doubt end in disaster.
Rather, here are the steps I suggest you take to address this situation.
13 GRAND Summer 2021
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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021

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