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"They Don't Do That Anymore" - Bringing New Grandparents Up to Speed

A lot can change between raising children and raising grandchildren.

It has been 20 years since my mom had a baby, and 33 since she had her first.  It goes without saying that a lot has changed.  More often than not, I find myself telling my mom and others of her generation…they don’t do that anymore, those are illegal now, or we’ve been told to do something different.

It’s not that either one of us is necessarily right or wrong.  I know that back in the days moms were using drop-side cribs, putting us to sleep on our stomachs, and undergoing x-rays in the delivery room.  And while some practices and traditions will surely stand the test of time, there’s definitely something to be said for modern research and updated safety standards.

Please raise your hand if you have heard the following sentence:  “Well we did that and you turned out okay…”

Enter the wonderful world of grandparent classes.  Designed to bring new grandparents up to speed on modern baby raising and safety standards, these are a great way to help grandparents feel involved and appreciated.  A recent article in Consumer Reports highlights some of the great benefits that these classes can have:

For Ann Stark of Los Altos Hills, CA, who became a new grandmother last spring, taking the grandparent class was invaluable. “I saw how many things I had forgotten,” said Stark, who noticed the class’s emphasis on safety and “differences in child-rearing,” like “all the different rules,” such as “having the baby sleep on his back. It’s a different world now.”

It probably helps that the course also covers the emotional terrain of becoming a grandparent and managing the new relationship with one’s children.  “Their role is not the parent of this new baby,” said Sanchez. “They have to let go. Grandparenting is being there in the background, supporting the new parents.”

I want my kids to have a wonderful and close relationship with their grandparents.  I want them to be spoiled and snuggled and all those other things that grandkids should feel.  But when it comes to making parenting decisions, particularly when regarding safety, medicine, and modern practices — I’ll be using the new rules that make me most comfortable.

I think these new grandparent classes are a great way to bridge the gap between parenting and grand-parenting.  Telling me that I “turned out okay” isn’t a good enough reason for me to not listen to all of the new ideas and practices that are available to me today.

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