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9 Things Grandmothers Should Never Do


Being a grandmother is a wonderful gift, isn’t it? And while there are certain special grandmother rules we should all strive to live by, there are also a certain few things we should vow to never, ever do.

1. Never disrespect the choices of your grandbaby’s parents.

Questionable bedtimes, meals, discipline and more? Sure, you can disagree with the choices, just do so respectfully. As long as you…

2. Never voice your disagreement or disapproval with the parents in front of your grandchild.

Mommy and Daddy are the last word. Grandchildren don’t need more ammunition in their battle for getting their way, and repeating words of disagreement from Grandma would be surefire ammunition.

3. Never secretly break Mom and Dad’s rules.

If tantrums mean Junior gets a time-out, give him a time-out. If 8 p.m. is bedtime, tuck him in when the clock chimes eight times. If Mom says only one popsicle, don’t you dare offer a second. What? Grandmas are meant to break rules, you say? Notice I said never secretly break the rules. The key is to do it loud and proud and let everyone know in advance the rules will likely be bent a smidgen — possibly even smashed to pieces — when Grandma’s in charge. Simply be upfront, not underhanded.

4. Never talk bad about your grandchild’s other grandparents.

Even if you’re clearly the very, very best grandma ever, your grandchild still loves his or her other grandma and grandpa. Accept it, deal with it, and don’t act like a jealous 12-year-old girl about it.

5. Never try to buy your grandchild’s love.

Any kid will smile, maybe even squeal with delight, over toys, gadgets, games and other goodies. But things shouldn’t make up your PDAs (primary displays of affection). It’s time and attention the kiddos want — and what they’ll most love you for.

6. Never pry for information about Mom and Dad.

Maybe they’re going through rough financial times, maybe the marital bliss isn’t so blissful, maybe they won the lottery and don’t want to share the dough. Whatever the case causing you to be Nosy Nelly, it really is none of your business. Don’t recruit your grandchildren for special ops in attempts to make it your business.

7. Never think your bad habits go unnoticed.

Swearing, smoking, sipping too much of the sauce, double-dipping, overeating, complaining about your looks, your size, your big butt in the mirror. Little pitchers have big ears — and eyes — and impressionable hearts and minds on which such things are etched, things that can be detrimental to his or her physical and psychological well-being. Yeah, even grandmas have issues; just do your best to not pass them along to your grandchildren. They’ll undoubtedly have plenty of issues of their own.

8. Never forget that you’re a mother, too, not just a grandmother.

Love on and brag about the grandchildrens’ parents any chance you get. This goes a long way in maintaining the bond with your adult children — and increases your grandchild’s ever-important pride in his or her parents.

9. Never take the time with your grandchildren for granted.

Every single minute with the little ones — whether those minutes include stinky diapers and equally stinky attitudes, or giggles and grins and big squeezes around Grandma’s neck — is a gift. Graciously accept it. Sincerely appreciate it. Heartily give thanks for it.

This essay originally appeared on and was written by Lisa Carpenter, a baby boomer, grandparent, parent to adult children, wife, and writer. Follow her on Facebook.

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