Grandparent advice: helpful or hurtful?

They only interfere because they love us, right?


Short stuff: Reader poll When that first baby is born, there are a host of proud adults admiring the new little person. At the front of the line are the proud grandmas and grandpas, ready to help. So we asked readers to tell us how they handle unsolicited advice. Here’s what you had to say.

Some grandparents can be meddlesome, and some very helpful. With both, it is helpful to listen. (You never know what you might learn.)

If a grandparent is the meddlesome type, it is even more helpful to listen and be polite to keep from hurting anyone’s feelings. Then, take from the meddling/advice what you will.

We all have to live with the grandparents, so it’s much better to live with them politely. Sometimes we learn something new from grandparents. Sometimes we just learn to be polite. Kim Johnson of Woodridge,mom of Alex, 10, and Greg, 7

While I was pregnant, my mother–in-law told me that if she meddled too much, I should let her know. I told her I would welcome her advice.

For some reason, it was harder to accept advice from my own mother. She readily told me how things should be, while my mother-in-law offered up polite suggestions. If I told my mother-in-law something with which she disagreed, she’d shrug her shoulders and smile as if she didn’t know anything about it. It was her way of letting me make mistakes on my own.

But with my own mom, I would roll my eyes at her critiques, a striking resemblance to my high school days. Then, a few weeks after my daughter was born, my mother looked at me with a soft smile and told me what a wonderful mother I was and how she thought I was a natural. It was the best compliment I ever received. Since then, I have willingly accepted her critical offerings of advice. Carly Huegelmann of Villa Park, mom of Ryanne, 6 months

Next Month

Next month, we want to hear from dads. Tell us about your special Father’s Day traditions. Deadline: May 8. Send your response to: Reader Poll, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302, e-mail it to with "reader poll" in the subject line or fax it to (708) 524-8360.

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