Dear Grandparenting: I am not going to lie to you. I am not one of those grandmothers found jumping for joy about grandchildren. That goes double for infants and toddlers. I like mine when they get old enough to know better and behave.
My sister, Pearl, is quite the opposite. She had to wait and wait to where she had given up on grandchildren. Then her daughter, Paige, got to be nearing her 40s and decided she could afford to have children without going broke.
Paige delivers and mother and baby are doing fine. Here’s where it gets a little strange. Mother and grandmother always got along, but Paige is now convinced it is dangerous for the grandmother of the child to be too involved.
My sister is “an accident waiting to happen.” So she shuts my sister out. All she gets is one short visit a week. If Paige goes to work or wants to get out, she leaves a licensed childcare worker in charge.
Didn’t I see something in your column about how grandparents make not just good but really great caretakers? It might give hardheads like Paige something to think about. My sister is not a careless person. She is a loving grandparent waiting with open arms going to waste. Jennifer Watson, Everett, Washington
Dear Jennifer: Sounds like a bad case of one nervous new mother in this era of hyper-protective parents who see trouble at every turn. On the other hand, it is every parent’s prerogative to decide who gets visitation rights.
As reported by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, having grandparents is “protective, cutting the odds for injury by roughly half compared to having a stay-at-home mother.” The study’s findings even surprised its authors.
Still another study found that young grandchildren who are close to their grandparents experience fewer emotional and behavioral problems and less bullying.
And if that’s not enough, a third study reported reduced depressive symptoms for both parties when grandparents and mature grandchildren remain close. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Pam Lee, of Kingsport, Tennessee, lives “a hop, skip and jump away” from her three grandchildren. In the event of “little emergencies,” Pam keeps three different flavors of ice cream and two kinds of cookies on hand.
“If ice cream and cookies can’t fix it, then we might have a problem.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.