GRANDPARENTS: A Special Kind of Love by Eda LeShan

GRANDPARENTS: A Special Kind of Love

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It would surely be a comfort to children to see their own problems with grandparents so clearly and sympathetically explained. But it would probably also interest them to know that there are explanations for the many intergenerational foul-ups that fill juvenile fiction and the nation's TV screens. And, as with LeShan's psychological primers generally, the insights she proffers can give added value to a relationship, not merely mend it. What makes grandparents special, she notes, is that they love you ""just because you were born."" But the relationship brings special difficulties too--difficulties aggravated by the drastic changes in grandparents' lifetimes. LeShan lays particular stress on changes in manners and mores that cause friction or misunderstanding: from matters of politeness to open expression of feelings. (An incidental pointer: before antibiotics, high fevers were dangerous--hence grandparents' seemingly big fuss.) Even more difficult for children to deal with is being in the middle, between antagonistic parents and grandparents. LeShan discusses why such situations arise (leftover problems, from years past), reassures children that they are not to blame (a recurrent emphasis), and suggests specific outs for typical quandaries (too many presents or sweets, bribes, bad-mouthing). Among the atypical situations considered are living with grandparents (the natural resentments, some possible relief) and being cut-off from grandparents altogether, by divorce or some other family rupture. Here, LeShan's explanations would help the hurt child understand that it probably wasn't the grandparents' doing. (Visitation-right laws are mentioned too.) Something is also said about degenerative aging and the onset of death; but this is secondary to bettering the relationship by facing its problems.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1984
Publisher: Macmillan