Grandma's Pearls

I would like to invite you to join me on a journey. On November 1st, 2003, my mother died of pancreatic cancer. Her passing meant not just that I had lost a cherished family member, or that our community had lost a compassionate human being, but as a grandma she had a plethora of "pearls" on nearly any topic of child rearing, and these were gone with her as well. When I became a pediatrician in 1988, I would tap into her common-sense knowledge on a regular basis. Through the years, I found that many of my pediatric patients' grandparents enjoyed sharing their words of wisdom with me in my office, and I found these pearls especially valuable when I started my own family over ten years ago.

The journey I'm proposing is a shared attempt to capture this vast collection of accumulated wisdom on my blog. "Grandma's Pearl's" will celebrate a very special group of individuals who deserve to have a forum for sharing their hard-earned life lessons with others. It will be a compilation of advice from grandparents from all walks of life...capturing the insights of the grandparent-next-door, to the still-out-in-the workforce grandparent, to more.

My hope is that "Grandma's Pearls" will be a ray of inspiration for both new parents and experienced parents alike. Not a "how-to" manual on baby care, but rather a collection of practical, no-nonsense tips on how to raise good kids. You can share a couple of sentences, a paragraph, or a full-blown story if you'd like. I welcome you to share your pearls of wisdom and wit with the world!

Questions (these are suggestions only)....substitute in "dad, grandfather," etc. where appropriate:

  1. What tips do you (or passed down from your mother, mother-in-law, or grandmother) have on raising caring, happy, responsible, and well-adjusted kids?

  2. What did you (or your mom) do right, and/or what could have been done better?

  3. Was there a transforming moment in your (or your mom's) life that served as a guide in raising children? As a result of this moment, is there a "pearl" to pass on?

  4. Do you have a favorite "grandmotherly" quote that has helped you in parenting your children?

To submit a "pearl" click on:



Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy New Year

In doing some "winter cleaning" the other day, I came across an old Ann Landers clipping that my mom had given to me shortly after Ms. Landers had passed away. It contained some great parenting pearls collected by the National Institute of Mental Health. One reader said she had placed it in a prominent position on her fridge many years ago, and while now yellowed and brittle with age, the wisdom and common sense are timeless. Here they are:

1. Love abundantly. The most important task is to love and really care about your child. This gives him or her a sense of security, belonging and support.
2. Discipline constructively. Give clear direction and enforce the limits on your child's behavior.
3. Whenever possible, spend time with your children. Play with them, talk to them, teach them to develop a family spirit.
4. Give the needs of your mate top priority. One parent put it this way: "A husband and wife are apt to be successful parents when they put their marriage first. Child-centered households produce neither happy marriages nor happy children."
5. Teach your children right from wrong. They need to be taught basic values and manners so that they will get along well in society. Insist they treat others with kindness, respect, and honesty.
6. Develop mutual respect. Act in a respectful way toward your children. Say "please" and "thank you," and apologize when you are wrong.
7. Listen. Really listen. This means giving your children undivided attention, putting aside your beliefs and feelings, and trying to understand your children's point of view.
8. Offer guidance. Be brief. Don't give speeches. And don't force your opinions on your children.
9. Foster independence. Gradually allow children more freedom and control over their lives.
10. Be realistic. Expect to make mistakes. Be aware that outside influences such as peer pressure will increase as children mature. One parent said, "Don't expect things to go well all the time. Child-rearing has never been easy. It has its sorrows and heartaches, but it also has its rewards and joys. This is what makes it all worthwhile."

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