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Book Cover for: Grandmothering: Building Strong Ties with Every Generation, Kathleen Stassen Berger

Grandmothering: Building Strong Ties with Every Generation

Kathleen Stassen Berger

Grandmothers have always been crucial family members, but they are often pushed aside or held at arm's length, harming children, parents, and grandmothers themselves. This book guides grandmothers to respond to the needs of today's families, integrate themselves into family life, and form warm, lasting bonds with their grandchildren.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Publish Date: Jun 20th, 2023
  • Pages: 320
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.20in - 5.70in - 1.00in - 0.85lb
  • EAN: 9781538185407
  • Categories: Parenting - GrandparentingParenting - MotherhoodExtended Family

About the Author

Kathleen Stassen Berger is a professor at Bronx Community College, City University of New York, where she has taught psychology for forty years. She is the author of the leading textbooks in human development, used by college students in all 50 states, 12 nations, in five languages. She is also the mother of four and the grandmother of three.

Praise for this book

A wide-ranging look at the world of grandmothers and grandmothering. Berger's book is a personal, in-depth examination of the many roles that female grandparents can fulfill in a world of overmanaged children with so-called helicopter parents. . . . In order to help these grandmothers smoothly acclimate to modern family dynamics, Berger offers them humorous, insightful, and often richly autobiographical advice. However, anybody who has living grandparents will find the book compelling as well. She offers useful tips on being a supportive aide to a pregnant granddaughter (or granddaughter-in-law) and on being a reliable source of infant-rearing help. Berger also addresses urgent situations in which a grandparent's intervention may become necessary. In general, though, she advocates being a 'steady anchor' for parents and grandchildren--both intimately connected and "above the fray" while offering invaluable support. Any reader who's been blessed with a wonderful grandmother may find such notions to be self-evident, but Berger shores up her observations with anecdotes and a great deal of engaging research. . . . A valuable, compassionate consideration of female elders' work and worth.
. . .a helpful guide to being a grandparent that is jam-packed with useful ideas. . . Berger does not avoid tough topics, touching on divorce, suicide, drugs, sex, and plenty of situations that produce conflict. A myriad of quotes from grandmothers help bring the book's lessons to life, while cartoons and charts also convey Berger's messages. This is an exceedingly well-researched book--the length of the notes and bibliography sections reflects that--and a useful guide to grandmothers (and those soon to be) looking for a way to navigate unfamiliar waters.
Grandmother does not always know best. She can and should offer help and support, but she shouldn't overstep. As a developmental psychologist, teacher, and, yes, a grandma, Berger encourages older women with beloved little ones in their lives to get involved but to follow the parents' lead and to keep quiet. . . . This is an up-to-date, common-sense guide to being a good grandmother.
This book not only offers helpful advice for the Grandmothering journey but shares research and insight into the reasons and science behind the nature of Grandmothers and their importance. Personal stories keep the reader engaged and advice is backed up with facts, studies, and documentation.
Dr. Berger writes for women who, like herself, are drawn to their grandchildren not only with heart and soul, but also with brains, a political conscience, a scientist's curiosity and precision, and a determination to be the grandmothers their children need.
Grandmothers, rejoice! Grandmothering is a roadmap for "rules" of the road for grandmothers of every ilk. It's packed with solutions to strengthen your bonds and astute advice to help you through the inevitable pitfalls as your family grows and changes. The bonus: An understanding of your "cell-deep" connections to your children and grandchildren, be they infants, teens or adults.
Grandmothering is a must-readbook for grandmothers and prospective grandmothers alike! Grandfathers will find it useful as well. Girded by a background in development psychology, Dr. Berger has combined in-depth research with down-to-earth examples of the challenges and joys of grandmothering from her own life as well as the lives of other grandmothers.

For example, when none of her four daughters appeared to have pregnancy plans as they passed the age when she had her first child, she blamed herself. What had she done wrong? Had she failed to project an image of joyous motherhood? Delving into the data, she realized that her situation was typical of the times. Fewer marriages, fewer babies being born, equals later grandmotherhood, if at all. Sobering data, but reassuring to all who despair of experiencing grandmotherhood.


Dr. Berger does an excellent job of defining the sensitive role of grandmother-she's not the mother, but not simply a friend either. She points out ways to navigate between the extremes of being too involved and too far removed from the grandchildren and of respecting the dominant role of the parents. I loved the humorous example she gave of mistakenly packing dog treats wrapped in colorful paper in a grandson's lunch and deciding as a result to "back off" and respect her daughter's wish to control the food given to her son.

Dr. Berger does a thorough job of explaining how grandmothers can bolster the lives of their children and grandchildren in times of trial and stress, such as divorce, the addition of a new child, or the death or illness of a parent. But she also points out how she can enrich the lives of her grandchildren on an ongoing basis through her resources of time, money, and lifetime experience. In sum, what I wouldn't give to have had access to this wise and informative book 22 years ago as I began my grandmother experience!

With great warmth and wisdom, Dr. Berger challenges stereotypes and offers guidelines and strategies for addressing common dilemmas. She synthesizes a wide range of research and blends key findings with personal stories to make a compelling book.
After practicing geriatric medicine for 30 years, I thought I knew almost everything about the grandmothers I treated. But, I was wrong. Professor Berger has written a book unlike any I have read in the field of geriatric health care issues. She has taken her own heartfelt experience as a grandmother and strengthened her observations with an extensive knowledge of the medical, psychological, and social science literature. I never knew so much material existed specifically looking at the role of grandmothers in our society. After reading this, nobody can ever take grandmothers for granted again.