Believe it or not, becoming a first time grandma has been a bit of a learning experience. As a new mother back in the day, I would call my mother almost daily with, what do I do about___, is the baby ok if he is ___ or why won’t he stop crying, the list goes on. I don’t know what I would have done without her and the knowledge she acquired after raising three kids herself. And of course, she always had the right answers.
Well things are different now. Parents today are reading more books, (and there are many with different parenting approaches – in my day we only had Dr. Spock), blogging with other parents and reading articles online about what babies should be doing at every stage. Needless to say, to us older more mature parents/grandparents, some of the techniques that these young parents (my son included) are using today make you want to scratch your head and go, what? Oh, and don’t offer your opinions if they are to the contrary – they do not want our opinions or our advice. My son made it very clear that he did not want any advice, as they were getting it from so many directions, including friends that never had children. I told him that I am entitled to my opinions and if he didn’t like them, he didn’t have to follow them.
Since it was made clear to me that my advice was not welcome, I have made a concerted effort to not give any out of respect for my son’s wishes. (Of course I slip every now and then – it’s such a natural instinct for us isn’t it?) What I have learned from this is that rather than telling them what you think they should be doing, I find it is much more effective to show them or make subtle comments. And then low and behold, I will see or hear him doing something that I did or subtly mentioned in passing. Needless to say, because of the distance between us, these cases are far and few between (although Skyping helps). My son has even thanked me at times for the way I would turn my granddaughter’s tears to laughter during a Skype session.
I believe our children want our advice, it’s just in how we present it.
Sharon became a first time grandma in February of 2011 and had the pleasure of celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday in San Francisco where she lives with her oldest son and his wife. Sharon welcomes the opportunity to spoil her granddaughter after having raised two boys. Sharon is an avid lover of the arts and has dabbled with oil painting and enjoys interior decorating as a hobby. She is the Customer Service Manager for Step2.