Having no daughters, I imagine that mothers and daughters have a deep, intimate relationship in which they can share hopes and fears, tea parties and toenail painting.
But, that may just be in my imagination.
I’ve interviewed enough young mothers now to know that when young women become mothers, whether they are daughters or daughters-in-law, their mothers think the relationship will remain one-way – they will continue to give advice.
Daughters, by contrast, just like sons, think that they are pretty good at this parenting business and, anyway, their mother’s advice is outdated.
Donne Davis captures this dynamic perfectly in her recent book, When Being a Grandma Isn’t So Grand: 4 Keys to L.O.V.E. Your Grandchild’s Parents.
The L.O.V.E. acronym is her summary from conversations with grandmas in her living room, where she started the social network for grandmas, GaGa Sisterhood in 2003, and a survey of 50 mothers.
L is for Learn the Parents’ Language
Though babies haven’t changed since we raised ours, what we know about them has.
And, theories about good parenting have emerged to replace our favorite Dr. Spock books.
If your daughter or daughter-in-law starts talking about attachment parenting or co-sleeping, don’t dismiss her efforts to research what’s best for your grandbaby with a remark about how you used to let your children cry themselves to sleep and they turned out fine.
Actually, Cry It Out (CIO), or letting a baby learn to self-soothe by crying themselves to sleep, is still a valid theory among today’s parents.
However, dismissive remarks about the parenting methods your daughter chooses do not convey respect or confidence in her parenting skills.
That’s not the relationship you want.
Davis suggests instead that you research the same articles your daughter or daughter-in-law are reading in order to understand the styles they are trying and have an open, non-judgmental conversation about what they are doing and why.
You are right on one point. You raised your children and they turned out fine.
But, there is more than one way for children to turn out fine.
Today’s parents are investigative, open to new ideas and intensely involved in trying to understand how to build on the values you’ve given them while incorporating the latest information on child-rearing, all while picking a style that they are most comfortable with.
One of the young mothers spoke to this in her survey answer:
“I wish the grandparents understood that, YES, some of the parenting choices we make are a result of things that didn’t work for us in our childhood.”
“But, it doesn’t mean that we love them any less and it doesn’t mean we are trying to make them wrong.”
“We have the opportunity to improve our practices with each generation.”
And, that’s what you want for your grandchildren – confident, involved parents.
“We forget that no matter how much wisdom, perspective, and experience we think we’ve acquired in our long lives, now it’s our children’s turn to be in charge.”
Each letter has a chapter.
O is for Own Your Shared Purpose
V is for Value the Parents’ Hard Work
E is for Empathize.
It adds up to all the more love for your grandchildren.
Click below for the author interview.
Order Davis’ book from amazon by clicking on the title: When Being a Granda Isn’t So Grand: 4 Keys to L.O.V.E. Your Grandchildren’s Parents.
Carol Covin, Granny-Guru