Stop, Look, and Listen Helps Grandmas Practice Empathy

Stop, look, listen

When I was doing the research for my book, When Being a Grandma Isn’t So Grand: 4 Keys to L.O.V.E. Your Grandchild’s Parents, the most common challenge grandmas talked about was learning to get along with their grandchild’s parents (their children!)

On the other hand, the moms I interviewed said they wanted their mothers and mothers-in-law to show more empathy for them.

I’m always thinking of tips to help us grandmas be our best selves in the grandparent relationship. I’ve come up with three simple words to help us practice empathy with our adult children.

Remember when you were first learning to cross the street and your mom told you to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN at every street corner?

If we keep those three words in mind when we’re with our grandchildren and their parents, we’ll get into the right mindset for showing empathy.

STOP giving advice. Your adult children don’t appreciate it. Even if they ask, it’s better to say: what do you think? Believe in them.

LOOK for ways to get to know and appreciate each other. Be genuinely curious and complimentary when you’re facing new parenting methods.

LISTEN to their concerns and issues. Be empathic. It’s a much tougher world for our children and grandchildren than when we were parents. They need all the love and support we can give them.

It may sound simple, but it’s really all about remembering to be respectful and mindful of our words and even our non-verbal actions. So the next time you’re with your family, imagine the crosswalk: STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN, and you’ll cross safely into the “grandparent zone.”


  1. says

    Great advice, Donne, in a memorable formula. At this time of year I’m always saddened by the huge numbers of grandparents who don’t get to be with their grandchildren.Some (not all) of these wouldn’t be in this predicament if they had followed your sage advice.