Grandparenting Dos and Don'ts From Local Experts

Though loaded with experience raising children, grandparents navigate a tricky route in helping to raise a third generation.

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See also: Grandparenting advice from expert Barbara Graham.

“The first rule of grandparenting is that grandparents don’t make the rules.”

So says St. Davids’ Bruce Wilson who, with his wife DeDe, has four children, 11 grandkids and one great-grandchild. “What we’ve learned is that trying to impose our rules is an exercise in futility,” he says.

Anne and Charles Park raised five children in their Wayne home and now have 10 grandkids ranging in age from 8 to 27. “I confess to sometimes thinking, ‘I raised five kids—including you. Why do you trust advice from a book over my advice?’” says Anne. “But it seems that the best way to grandparent is with a zipped lip.”

Those closed mouths conceal plenty of opinions. Common concerns include overscheduled grandchildren, the use of technology and rules about food.

“Grandkids with different parents often have different rules about what they can eat,” DeDe says. “So I just say, ‘Go ask your parents if you can have this or that.’ I mean, I don’t think a glass of soda is going to do irreparable harm. But that’s not my decision to make.”

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