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A Grandparent’s Prerogative


No cookies, no television, tucked in no later than 8 p.m.  Parents today have a plethora of no-no’s, most of which weren’t even on our radar when we were raising the kids.  But as grandparents, can’t we cross some of these boundaries?  Let’s face it; breaking the rules makes being with grandma all the better.

So exactly when can we rewrite the rules?  Common sense has to reign. Cookies before dinner?  Of course not, even if those little voices are howling “I’m so hungry. Isn’t it ready yet? I have to eat something.”  Mom and Dad may make the kids wait no matter how much they complain, but maybe some carrot sticks or even some melon from Grandma isn’t all that bad.

Our kids have infinitely more information than we ever had to help them make important decisions which benefit their kids’ short-term and long-term health.  So just maybe, because there is a conscious effort by parents to make prudent and healthy choices for the kids at home, grandma has some wiggle room when the kids are with her.

It’s not that we grandparents haven’t heard the ubiquitous warnings about obesity and childhood diabetes.  It’s hard not to know that the percentage of kids who are overweight has more than doubled since the ‘70s. But we’re talking about carrot not chips!

In addition to the health issues there are dire warnings about Grandma spoiling the grandkids.

If you take the “sp” out of spoiling, you have “oiling” and that’s what we are really trying to do.  We’re oiling the bond between grandparents and grandchildren.

But keep in mind that there are many ways for grandma to grease the gears.  This doesn’t mean that you have to buy out Toys r Us or break all the at-home rules.

Take a look at “101 Ways to Spoil your Grandchild” by Vicki Lansky, Kaye Pomerac White and Rondi Collette. There are some great suggestions like creating a special handshake with your grandchild, keeping a jigsaw puzzle out on a table that you work on only when your grandkids visit or buy a disposable camera so your grandchild can chronicle the time with Grandma.

Yes, there are words of warning out there about spoiling children but in my mind spoiling has been given a bad rap.  Maybe we should call it  “specialing.” Doesn’t that sound a lot nicer?

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