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Your life: Grandparents can be a vital part of a grandchild's life

Reading good, instructive books and listening to how others manage their grandchildren can help a grandparent be a positive, stable and loving influence in a child's life.
By CHARLOTTE LANKARD Modified: July 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm •  Published: July 23, 2012

Last week at the Science Museum, I saw a grandparent who resembled a drill sergeant, barking orders at full volume.

The ones I most want to emulate, however, are those who are good listeners and provide choices, like my friend Jan Greene, better known as GranJan.

Last week she was privy to a conversation between two of her grandchildren.

“Emmy, GranJan always brags about the good things we do,” said Ben to his younger sister Emily.

Emily replied, “I know, but I wonder what she says about the bad things.”

To which Ben responded, “I don't think GranJan thinks we do anything bad. And even if she did, I don't think her friends would put them in the paper.”

Emily and Ben then proceeded to try to remember all of the things GranJan had ever pointed out to them that could stand improvement, a conversation their grandmother said turned out to be fruitful.

Knowing GranJan as I do, I suspect she did nothing but listen and with a smile on her face say, “Hmmm.”

Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at