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GaGaSisterhood Interview With Ask Dr. Gramma Karen

Meet Gramma Karen

Our GRANDParent Network member, Donne Davis of GaGaSisterHood.com has launched a cool new podcast just for us GRANDparents called Conversations with Modern Grandmas.

GRAMMAHer second  live “Conversations with Modern Grandmas” features Dr. Karen Rancourt (AKA Dr. Gramma Karen). This interview originally took place on November 3, but you can listen to it now.

Karen shares her fascinating story of how she became an advice columnist for Mommybites.com and GRAND Magazine. She shared some letters from her book, Ask Dr. Gramma Karen Volume II: Savvy Advice to Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts and a list of Do’s and Dont’s for GrammaGrandmas and Moms. She even tackles the thorny topic of unsolicited advice from both the grandma’s and mom’s perspectives.


To learn more about the GaGaSisterhood and become a member, contact Donne at donnedavis@gagasisterhood.comgagasisterhood.com


Below is an example of one of Dr. Gramma Karen’s advice columns from GRAND Magazine

Ask Dr. Gramma Karen: When Does Giving Advice Become Interfering?

A grandmother who was scolded by her daughter-in-law for interfering with her parenting asked me, “When does giving advice become interfering?”

The simple answer is: You are interfering whenever your daughter-in-law says you’re interfering. Yes, you have good intentions, and yes, you have lots of experience to bring to the table, but what matters is that your daughter-in-law thinks you interfered with her parenting.

This reminds me of a scene in the 1989 Batman movie where the characters Alicia Hunt (Jerry Mack) and Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), the Joker, are standing in front of a mirror. Unsolicited, Hunt compliments Napier by saying in a sultry voice, “You look fine.”

Napier/Nicholson drawls in reply, “I didn’t ask.”

I didn’t ask.” The Joker didn’t ask. The daughter-in-law didn’t ask.

I advised this hurt and confused grandmother to talk with her daughter-in-law. As tempting as it might be to explain why she’d said what she said, I suggested she say only: “I owe you an apology for interfering with the children. You didn’t ask for my opinion. I am really sorry.”

Then, I explained how her daughter-in-law might respond: “I wasn’t really upset about what you said; I was upset about something else.” Or, “I know you meant well, but saying that in front of the children made me the bad guy and you the good guy.” Or, “You’ve been doing this more and more, and I’ve wanted to talk to you about it.” Or, “Apology accepted. No big deal.”

Regardless of her DIL’s response, the grandmother’s apology helped clear the way so the two could come to an understanding about welcomed and unwelcomed advice.

Whenever you feel the urge to give unsolicited advice to your grandchildren’s parents, remember those three words: “I didn’t ask.” It could stop you from saying and doing things that your adult children might interpret as interfering with their parenting.



Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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