Last week, I read the “Ask the Doctor” column in the Lincoln Journal Star. I’m not a frequent reader of the column, but I do look at the headlines, and I will read the article if I think it’s a topic that could affect me. The title of this “Ask the Doctor” column was “Can Grandparents Be a Bad Influence?”.

Wait, Am I a Bad Influence?

I’d never thought about it. I just assumed my connection with my grandkids was always a wonderful experience, and the grandkids and I connected in a positive way every time we saw each other.

I assumed I was the best grandma in the world! I had the best art supplies for their crafts, a highlight always being the criss-cross cut scissors. When we watched movies together, they were always the most diverse and fun movies available. At least I thought they were the best movies. The cooking sessions were the best. I wanted to challenge their tastebuds, and they were never ready for it.

How could any grandma be a bad influence on their grandkids? The thought was beyond my comprehension. How could I ever be a bad influence on our grandkids? I stewed for a minute, then I read the article, which is always a great thing to do before making judgments.

The article focused on having healthy diets, getting regular exercise, not using tobacco products, not abusing alcohol, limiting or mitigating sun exposure, and avoiding excess weight gain. I still wondered how I could be a bad influence when I love my grandkids so much and will do anything and everything for them.

Let’s Ask the Grandkids What They Think

I decided to take the bull by the horns and actually ask my grandkids if I’d ever been a bad influence. I wondered what they would say and what events they would recall. I even hesitated sending the text. I worried they would only remember throwing dried cow pies in the pasture, driving the four-wheeler in the rain, or throwing rocks at frogs by the pond. The message was sent. I did get three out of four responses.

Here are the bad influences I’ve created as a grandma, according to my grandkids…

  • You always had us over to frost Halloween, Christmas, Valentine and Easter cookies. The best thing was you said it was okay for us to load every sugar cookie with a pound of frosting.

What I found was the grandkids loved the excess of frosting, but they never ate those cookies. No one did. The cookies weighing a pound found their way to the compost. They actually had more fun grossing each other out.

  • You didn’t bring a good barf bag for the grandkids road trips. The ones you brought had holes in them.

I think the barfing incident only occurred twice, but it was a hilarious incident. Our poor grandson couldn’t handle the winding roads going up to Mount Rushmore. The only bags we had were grocery bags, which evidently weren’t sealed. The content of the bags dripped on the floor of the car…and John’s back.

  • You always corrected our grammar.

I’m not sure how correcting someone’s grammar was a bad influence, but so it is/was. I really try not to do it anymore. What I’ve found is in today’s world, grammar is not as important as it was when I was growing up. I know I make grammatical errors in writing (probably even in this blog) and in speaking. What I have a hard time hearing is the errors I think everyone should know—i.e., me and my friends are coming over, me and my friends went hiking. What the heck?

My grandson didn’t provide me with a bad influence topic. When I asked him why, he said he couldn’t think of any. He’s probably worried any idea he’d give me might jeopardize his birthday gifts.

I’m thinking I’ve given my grandkids many more bad habits/influences they don’t even recall. I’m looking forward to the future when they tell me/remind me of all those bad habits and responses I gave them, which in turn have become a part of their lives and folklore. Perhaps I’ll need to wait years before I’ll hear all about the stories our grandkids have repressed…just because.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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