Monday, October 5, 2009

The ART of Grandparenting

Edited by Valerie Connelly
Nightengale Press (2009)
ISBN 9781933449791
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD,  for Reader Views

"The ART of Grandparenting" is a wonderful collection of stories, humor and wisdom from several authors. Whether you are a soon-to-be, current, or seasoned grandparent, the author's real life stories and experiences give you great insight into some good and not-so-good adventures.
 
This was such an easy-to-read and fun book that I look forward to using it as a gift to my friends who will be grandparents. No one tells us how to be parents, much less grandparents. We often think it is an easy job, but we find that we must conform to the parent(s) guidelines, share our grandchildren and learn through each adventure.
One of the things I particularly loved about this book is that it was not telling you what to do, but sharing experiences others have had and how they overcame any obstacles they encountered. After each story, there was a wonderful Tips and Tricks page which summarized what one had just read.
 
I also found it interesting, although we all want to jump in with both feet and spoil our grandchildren and help the parents, we must sometimes "watch from the sidelines without trying to coax" or intervene.  I know, just like many of these authors stated, we just want to "be in the moment" and let schedules and rules fly out the window. In my own experience I have found that sometimes that is okay, but on a consistent basis it causes problems on the home front.  Heaven knows I have had this "battle" with my daughter many times.
 
Even though we are ready to help whenever we can, we must learn that there are two sets of grandparents and we must share. This part of the book made me laugh as I'm not too good at sharing my granddaughter, even at my mature age.  I really enjoyed the encouragement grandparents are given to share stories of their lives. The authors give many great suggestions on how to do this from verbal to journals to recordings.
The authors relate that there will be many times that you will not live near your grandchildren and it is important to keep in touch with them through mail, phone calls, cards or email.  Also the authors suggested that we must be "flexible" in our holiday schedules. Usually during this time there are many family members to visit, and sometimes we just might have to have our holidays and visits not on the actual day.
This is such an excellent resource full of humor and is non-threatening. "The ART of Grandparenting" is a book that all should have on their shelves and read many times, especially when things get rough.