GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 13

ask dr. gramma karen
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 47.
This means that many grandparents are still parents themselves raising
their own children.
So, it is 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 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 a grandchild'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 ...? "
We talked further about the unalterable fact that parents determine
who has access to their kids, including grandparents, and under what circumstances. Therefore, if grandparents want to be in good stead and have
the opportunity to enjoy wonderful and ongoing relationships with their
13 GRAND

WINTER 2021

"

grandchildren, then zipping it is worth doing. It's really that simple. And
difficult!

"

A	
  Must--‐Read	
  for	
  
A Must Read for
Grandparents
Everyone!

So, two words of advice: For grandparents, Zip it!
For parents, Lighten up!

He looked crestfallen and commented that he wasn't really good at zipping it and often found himself in hot water.

Gist of advice for parents in two words
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! makes sense.
So, two words of advice: For grandparents, Zip it! For parents, Lighten
up!
By following their respective two words of advice, parent-grandparent
relationships are enhanced. This increases the opportunities for grandchildren to witness and experience interactions between their parents
and grandparents that are based on mutual respect, consideration, and
kindness.
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.

Look	
  Inside
" This	
  book...set	
  me	
  
straight.	
  I	
  wasn't	
  sure	
  
This
book
the
where	
  
mtakes
y	
  boundaries	
  
uncertainty
thorniwere	
  as	
  a	
  gand
randma... "
ness out of relationships.

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

Show me the book!


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GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021

Contents
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 1
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 2
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 3
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - Contents
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 5
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 6
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 7
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 8
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 9
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 10
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 11
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 12
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 13
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GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 36
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