Q: We sent our daughter a recent article of yours hoping it might cause her to rethink her approach to raising our grandson. It was not well-received and she is no longer speaking to us. The child, age 4, is quite ill-behaved. Our daughter makes one excuse after another for him: He was premature, he was hospitalized as a toddler and now has PTSD, he might have a biochemical imbalance, and so on. We feel that his real and only problem is lack of discipline. For example, when he's with us, he's perfectly well-behaved. We love our grandson, but don't like being around him when his parents are running the show. What should we do now?
A: I hear this same tale of woe from lots of grandparents these days. Unfortunately, I don't have a fail-safe formula for healing these generational divides. It grieves me to know that my advice is often the catalyst for such rifts. On the other hand, on a scale of divisiveness, parenting now ranks with religion and politics. Thus, as you have inadvertently discovered, nearly everything I say stirs up controversy.