We Grandmas Must Not Forget Our Golden Rule: We Must Do As the Parents of Our Grandchildren Direct

Grandma vaccineThis Grandma was shocked When reading Kim Conte’s Motherlode Blog in the Sunday New York Times, June 29, 2014, titled, “The Battle Over Vaccinating Grandparents.” I expected that there would be a debate among professionals such as pediatricians as to whether or not such was actually required.  No. Pediatricians agree that we grandparents may need additional vaccinations to protect our precious grandchildren.  How dare a grandparent say no.

Kim Conte writes:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an abundance of facts: the disease (whooping cough) is on the rise in the United States, and in 2012 reached its highest level in more than 50 years (48,277 including 18 deaths). Particularly worrisome to me as an anxious new parent is that the highly contagious respiratory disease can be serious and even fatal for newborns who are vulnerable until they themselves receive the vaccine at 2 months old. About half of all infants under a year old who get pertussis are hospitalized, and one or two out of 100 will die.

She continues:

The C.D.C. says the effectiveness of childhood vaccinations against pertussis wanes over time, and recommends that adults over 65, even those who were vaccinated as children, get the Tdap vaccine if they are going to be in contact with infants under 12 months old.

But, when she approached the soon to be grandfather, her father, he balked at getting vaccinated! His excuses were ridiculous.  Actually, in this Grandma’s view, any excuse would be ridiculous. We are of a parenting age where we had little information.  We may think this parenting generation has too much information, but health and safety are truly not our call with our grandchildren.  As a matter of fact, if we get direct instructions about anything, it is this Grandma’s view that we must follow voiced directives from the parents of our grandchildren at all times.

We grandmas must not forget our golden rule: we must do as the parents of our grandchildren direct.


Kim Conte said it out loud in her column:

As my baby’s birth approached, I resorted to an ultimatum I thought cruel but necessary: Either my dad would get the vaccine or he couldn’t be around his granddaughter.

             After all, I was the one spending countless hours every month at prenatal appointments and educating myself on the most current health recommendations. I have to believe there is a reason for the information overload that is heaped on new parents, and it’s that we’re the ones not only making decisions about what’s best for our families but also about the health of our future generation.

 Unfortunately, my dad (and much of his peer group) isn’t tuned in or made aware of this information in quite the same way.

We grandparents are not up to date on new theories of parenting.  Ideas change.  We were told not to put infants on their back.  Now new parents are told not to put newborns on their stomach.  First, as Kim Conte says, it is not our job or responsibility to parent.  That is a good thing.  Parenting is hard work.  Been there, done that.

Second, we want our grandchildren to listen to their parents and know we do too. After all, we are role models of behavior.

Third,  and most important, the parents of our grandchildren are the gatekeepers.  We grandmas want the gate wide open to our grandchildren. This Grandma cringes that the grandfather to be did not consider the consequences of his ridiculous refusal to get a simple vaccination.

Kim Conte’s father should read the “Never Say No” blog entries by this Grandma.  We never say no to the parents of our grandchildren if we want open access to our grandchildren.  We want them to call us first and without hesitation when they need help or just respite.

This is not to say we cannot we free to play and do with our grandchildren.  Here is the secret to grandparenting freedom.  We can spoil galore and do what we want when there are no voiced directives from the parents of our grandchildren.  When it does not involve health and safety, a “Do not ask, do not tell” grandma policy is the rule of the day with








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