GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021 - 14

ask dr. gramma karen
Snack food shopping
Let your daughters know in advance that
you are happy to shop for basic groceries,
but, because they have different rules about
snacks, you are going to let each set of parents
be responsible for their own family's
snacks. Offer to take care of the grandchildren
while they do their own snack shopping.
I also suggest you have separate shelves or
bins to store each family's snacks.
If you feel pressure to " just buy my list of
snacks since you'll be in the store anyway, "
you stick to your guns: " No, I am going to
leave the purchase of snacks to each of you,
since you have some different rules. " It's
important to note that you're not being judgmental,
you're just acknowledging differences
and making it clear that this is one sandbox
you're choosing not to play in.
Your mantra: you'll have
to take that up with your
parents
During the vacation, if one of the cousins
raises the issue of " How come they can have
that and we can't, " your standard response
is, " That's your family's business, so you'll
have to take that up with your parents. " You'll
probably get pushback from your grandkids
that " that isn't fair they get to have soda, but
we can't have any, " and you need to keep
repeating that they need to take it up with
14 GRAND Summer 2021
"
Require the parents to
lay out what they want
for their kids, in front of
the kids, so you are the
enforcer, not the rules
maker.
their parents.
They'll get the message after a while, and
they will stop pestering you. In fact, you may
hear one of the grandchildren start to complain
to you and then say, " I know, I know. I
need to take it up with mom and dad. " Kids
are very smart about these things.
Although you don't mention it, it is possible
that in addition to having different
rules about snacks, your daughters may have
different rules about other things, such as
with bedtimes and screen time - that is, one
daughter being more rules bound than the
other. If your grandchildren try to get you
involved in these matters, I suggest that this
is still the same game, same advice: " That's
your family's business, so you'll have to take
that up with your parents. "
Be proactive
If your daughters and their husbands want
to do things, either alone or as couples and
they ask you to babysit the grandchildren, I
suggest that you call an all-family meeting
"
and go over the expectations together. This is
especially important if there will be different
rules for the two sets of cousins, regarding,
for example, snacks, bedtimes, activities, or
screen time.
Do not passively accept the parents saying,
" Be good for Grandma and Granddad, and
do whatever they ask you do to. " Require
the parents to lay out what they want for
their kids, in front of the kids, so you are the
enforcer, not the rules maker.
Request the parents to keep their phones
on so you can call them in case any new
issues arise while they are out, and you need
some clarification on what the parents want
to see happen.
I think by now my general advice is clear:
steer clear of your daughters' differing parenting
philosophies by requiring them to
address issues between the cousins as they
arise. You may find that over time, your
daughters' parenting styles regress to the
mean: one daughter may lighten up a bit, as
the other puts more rules in place. Even if this
doesn't happen, rest assured: all your grandkids
will be just fine!
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes
an advice column for parents and
grandparents at Mommybites.com.
Her most recent book is, It's All
About Relationships: New Ways to
Make Them Healthy and Fulfilling,
at Home and at Work.
A Must--‐Read for
Grandparents
A Must Read for
Everyone!
Look Inside
" This book...set me
straight. I wasn't sure
where my boundaries
were as a grandma... "
This book takes the
uncertainty and thorniness
out of relationships.
No more being confused,
or unsure about what to
do, often doing something
that makes a relationship
even worse!
" Karen identifies the
cause and effect of
family issues in plain
and simple language. "
--‐ Amazon.com Reviewers
Show me the book!
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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021

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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021 - Contents
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