Life Advice



Passing Down Wisdom

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: Here are some suggestions for grandparents who feel worthless:

1. Love your grandchildren; let them know your love.

2. Show them the world around us: parks, zoos, theaters, book stores, libraries and museums.

3. Teach love, patience, honesty and integrity by example.

4. Be available.

5. Listen.

6. Give advice only when asked.

7. Let parents know you care and IF they have questions, make yourself available.

8. Congratulate the parents. Let them know you think they are terrific parents and have terrific kids! Let them know you have their back and if they EVER need you, you're there for them. You will listen, lend your help or give suggestions and advice if ever they want it.


Then back off.

My mother thought my sister was a terrible parent because sis declared neither she nor her husband would ever hit or spank their children. Mother didn't think that could ever work and she let her disapproval be known. (Spare the rod, spoil the child.) My nieces now are some of the most successful, caring, generous, college educated professional married women I know. Things change. Times change. Ideas change. -- Grandmother

Dear Grandmother: Thank you for the sound advice. I think you offer many really good suggestions.

Dear Annie: I realize how lucky I was growing up. I had a wonderful grandmother (and great grandfather) with a ton of fun and interesting stories. I grew up around a lot of old people, all of whom treated me like an equal and gave me personal history stories. Now, I am the only one in the family who knows the stories, and thus, the history of the family.

I ended up as the family repository for old pictures, letters (from WWI and WWII). And, though I wasn't blessed with children of my own, I have children of cousins who want to know these stories. Now, I am blessed to have the memories from "the old folks." -- Family Historian

Dear Family Historian: I love your letter because it highlights the importance of grandparents in children's lives. Most have had life experiences that others can grow and learn from. Storytelling and passing along wisdom are some of the most important gifts we can give to our youth. Keep passing it along.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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