Sleep is another big point of contention. For many grandmothers, the practice of putting babies on their back to sleep is a tough sell. Suzanne Waters Kim, of Venice Beach, California, says her mother, who raised four children beginning in the 1960s, thought it was dangerous to put babies to sleep on their back because they might choke on their saliva. "At first, she'd put my kids on their stomach to sleep," says Kim, "and I'd say, 'Mom, this isn't just my preference. This is what doctors say is safer.'"
Still other grandmothers are troubled by the practice of co-sleeping. "I don't think anyone did the family bed back then," says Ann F. Caron, PhD, author of Mothers to Daughters: Searching for New Connections (Owl Publishing, 1999). "Many grandmothers think it's dangerous, they're afraid kids won't learn how to sleep by themselves, and they think it interferes with private time with the husband," she says.
Communicating Your Point of View
Teamwork Tip: If you can't adequately explain why you feel strongly about a certain practice, hand Grandma a book or article that influenced you. "It's important for them to see your perspective and not just hear, 'This is how it is,'" says Caron. "There are different viewpoints for each generation, and grandparents have to be educated."
Psychiatrist Arthur Kornhaber, MD, president of the Foundation for Grandparenting, advises that you bring the grandparents into the child's world to see these new viewpoints in action. "Invite them to the doctor and the child's school," he says. "When they're immersed in the child's life, they're more likely to 'get it.'"