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The Grandmother Principles
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The Grandmother Principles


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ISBN: 0789204312
Release Date: September, 1998
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Description: In our mobile, youth-obsessed culture, we have developed a grandmother problem, says Suzette Haden Elgin. "Women who become grandmothers don't know whether to rejoice or run for cover and grandmotherly role models and skills are disappearing." In The Grandmother Principles, Elgin, the bestselling author of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense has created a commonsense guide for learning to "think like a grandmother." Elgin organizes the book around 21 "Grandmother Principles"--short aphorisms that are a designed to bring more joy and serenity to the adventure of being a grandparent. A sample: A grandmother is a safe haven; most arguments are about who is in charge; a grandmother is not a quarterback; there are secret stories that only a grandmother should know. Each principle is explored by addressing hot topics for grandparents and detailed in sidebars, comics, and sample dialogues. Elgin's buoyant, supportive personality guides grandparents through a hefty list of how-to's including how to avoid being a martyr, deal with memory loss, cope with family disgrace, tell a family story, or write a family newsletter. In each chapter, smart sidebars add levity for example, "seven ways to end up helpless." An appendix details "granny crafts" from crocheting to creating doll clothes and making homemade play dough. Elgin, a grandmother of 10, offers abundant and reliable advice--often convincing us that Grandma knows best. --Barbara Mackoff
Book Details
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0789204312
ISBN-13: 9780789204318
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Release Date:
Length: 224 Pages
Weight: 1.10 lbs.
Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.4 x 9.3 in.
Language: English
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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 starsPractical, Fun and Motivational
Posted by Susan W. Edwards on 11/22/2005
As a person who felt like they could have done a better job of intentional parenting, but for whom that time is past; the idea of being more conscious of how we relate toward grown children and grandchildren was very interesting. Ms. Elgin's ideas are always practical and realistic, and often very creative. I especially liked her suggested solution for a policy regarding loaning money to grown children and grandchildren.

She was clear and emphatic in expressing how a grandmother's contributions can create a core for a family that greatly aids stability and cohesiveness. She suggests things that can be very meaningful over an extended period, and then explains why those things are effective and meaningful. The why's of her book struck home for me, and the things I have shared with other people have been received with positive interest.

I highly recommend the book, and agree with her assertion that grandmothers can provide a badly needed haven for family members in a world that can be overwhelming, often confusing and sometimes actively cruel. I also appreciate that many of her ideas are about how to make life easier and more rewarding for yourself and those you spend time with. She even covers thoroughly how these things apply to long-distance grandmothers who have to do most of their grandmothering over the telephone or through the mail.
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 starsFilled with Many Useful Ideas
Posted by R. A. Higgins on 2/15/2001
For the grandmother who is new to the role or who has been at it for a long time, this book is sure to offer solutions to the "what to do" questions of effective grandmothering. Suggestions for what to do in assembling a family history, a family loan system and a family newsletter are practical and fresh. Also included are ideas for establishing and maintaining supportive, helpful relationships with your adult children and your grandchildren while honoring your own limits of time, energy, and financial resources.
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 starsAmazingly Helpful!
Posted by Susan Dunn on 6/7/2003
"In most traditional cultures," Elgin quotes Sheila Kitzinger as saying, "grandmothers are people of immense importance and authority." And she goes on to tell us how, and to tell us why it's worth being that, if you aren't already. I coach men and women in midlife transition, and it gave me many practical tips for passing on to clients. While Elgin had only one participating grandmother, I had two, but they could not have been more different. However, like the "survivors" she describes in her book, who thrived throughout chaos and hardship because they had "one adult they could count on," it is my grandmothers who made me who I am, and to whom I return, in my heart and in my mind, when things get tough, or when I need to know how to do something, or how to be. Elgin states eloquently what my grandmothers meant to me, and what I hope to be for my grandchildren, and what you can be for yours. You'll find her no-holds-barred approach to realitymost helpful, and her down-to-earth practical tips most welcome. She'll clarify a lot of things you're aware of in the back of your mind but may not be able to put your finger on. This book is almost a call to action -- in today's fast-paced and changing society, where family life can seem to a child like a rapid-fire slideshow of new houses, new neighborhoods, new towns, new jobs, a new mom, a new dad, new culture, new religion, new church, new siblings, new step-siblings, what remains the same? Perhaps you, the grandmother--in your heart, in your approach, in your ways, and in your steadfast love. read it. You'll be glad you did. P.S. She's especially good about the parts that are hard for use grandmothers, or me anyway. She calls it "the velvet glove". You'll know just what she means!
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 starsThis is a practical, useful book for grandmothers.
Posted by Anonymous on 8/30/1998
THE GRANDMOTHER PRINCIPLES not only explains the ancient art of grandmothering but also gives very detailed techniques that can be used by a grandmother to enhance her relationship with her grandchildren. It is full of very good, very useful ideas.
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 starsA most practical,endearing, & enduring book!
Posted by Sandra Gordon on 1/2/1999
"Grandmother Principles," presents practical, useful, and easy-to-apply suggestions for making the Grandmother experience a VERY good one. Without taking herself too seriously (cartoons run rampant through the book), Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D.(in Linguistics) tells in comforting detail how to be a Grandmother who is welcomed in any family. Grandmother as reliable (not overbearing) source, as clear communicator, as kinship connection - these ideas and more, author Elgin presents with warmth - and the understanding experience that having ten grandchildren herself has provided. MUST reading for Grandmothers & Grandmothers to be. A great gift idea also for parents of young children to give to their own parents. This book is a a what-to-do, what-not-to-do Godsend! -Sandy Gordon
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