From the desk of Doc Smo: Grandparents at the pediatrician (Article)

I love it when grandparents accompany their grandchildren to pediatric visits.  Often I meet them during those first visits just after a new baby arrives.  Over the years, I have made it a point to ask grandparents where they are from and what kind of careers they have had.  Had I not asked, I would have been unaware that I was meeting a Nobel winning biochemist, retired ICU nurses, missionaries who lived and worked in places I had never heard of, fighter pilots, retired state governors, retired allergists and surgeons, as well as famous academic pediatricians.  Had I not asked, I would have learned none of this fascinating information.

As I say, the level of achievement that grandparents have attained in their lives often awes me.  I can feel the wisdom and experience when talking to these seasoned parenting pros.  They seem more relaxed and confident than many of the new parents I help.  They should because they have probably experienced almost every situation one can encounter in life.   These grandparents convey a steadiness and wisdom that I admire and enjoy.  I am disappointed when a patient’s grandparents stop coming to my office or move away.

The interesting results my queries have produced encourage me to try to ask open-ended questions whenever I can.  I recommend that the next time the grandparents in your life offer some advice or wisdom, listen and evaluate critically what they are saying.  We are all molded by our experiences, and no two people have the same set of experiences.  A grandparent’s parenting experiences are certainly somewhat different than young parents encounter today, but their wisdom and insights have value, often a lot of value.  Listen carefully and learn.  It’s what I try to do, and I think you should as well.


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