The ABCs for grandparents
New York Times News Service
"The Grandparent Guide," by Dr. Arthur Kornhaber. Contemporary Books, $16.95.
Once, grandparents lived over the hill and through the woods, where they baked pies, sat in rocking chairs and talked about the old days.
Not anymore. Grandparents are living longer. Many have parents of their own still alive and well and are on their way to becoming great-grandparents themselves.
"The simple truth," writes the author of this guide to the challenges and obligations of being grandparents today, "is that grandparents are eminently useful and powerful where the criteria are love, caring, support and understanding." Even long-distance grandparents can have a profound effect on the life of a grandchild, the author adds, "if they are willing to put forth the effort."
Kornhaber, a child-and-family therapist, ranges wide, covering the roles of grandparents from ancestor to buddy to mentor to wizard, the last referred to as "one of the most enjoyable, freewheeling and free-spirited roles you will ever play."
On the subject of the grandparent-grandchild bond, he has much to say, dealing with issues such as taking sides in parent-child disputes over curfews, choice of friends and household responsibilities. Don't do it, he suggests. "Never go against your own good judgment or that of the parents," he said.