Introducing Ask Dr. Gramma Karen: An Advice Column for Parents and Grandparents


By Dr. Gramma Karen, wife, mother, grandmother, businesswoman, author, corporate consultant, and career and parenting coach

I remember the exact moment I became interested in the relationships between a mom and her mother and her mother-in-law. I was sitting poolside keeping an eye on my then-three-year-old grandson while chatting with another grandmother who was watching her grandchild. She asked me if I had a place at the beach community on the Jersey Shore where this conversation was taking place.

I explained that my husband and I were living with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons in their vacation home for the summer. As the other grandmother was saying how nice that must be for us, she was cut off mid-sentence by a young woman seated two lounge chairs away, who yelled over to us with undisguised hostility, “You couldn’t build a house big enough for me to live with my parents or in-laws!” Whoa! Where did that come from?

As a result of this young mom’s negative comment about her relationships with her parents and/or in-laws, I began researching these parent-grandparent relationships to understand better why some are solid and others are not. I used this research to make presentations and facilitate workshops. “Oh ______! My Mother/Mother-in-Law is Coming,” presented at the 2010 Mommybites Summit, sponsored by babybites, turned out to be a standing-room-only gauge of interest in gaining advice from a grandmother vintage columnist (presentation handout).

So, when babybites announced its intention to include a new offering focused on family, I took advantage of the opportunity and approached them with a proposal to do an advice column for parents and grandparents. Considering that my daughter Heather is a babybites co-owner, I thought my idea might be seriously considered…! Happily for me, and I trust for you, the reader, they agreed to my writing a column.

I won’t bore you with the details of my background and experience except to say I am a wife, mother, grandmother, businesswoman, author, corporate consultant, and career and parenting coach. (For details of my background and experience and to see firsthand the wonders of a professionally air-brushed headshot, you can visit

On a personal level I am excited about writing this column for several reasons. At my post-60 age (okay, pre-70 age), I am less focused on my career and more interested in spending time with family and friends; running, biking, kayaking with my husband; and wave running with my grandsons. Writing this column will allow me to be professionally engaged by drawing on my skills and talents in a fun way, but most important, it lets me help parents and grandparents build and sustain the family relationships they’d like to have in what I hope will be an enjoyable and non-threatening way.

So here’s how “Ask Dr. Gramma Karen” is going to work. As a member of the babybites community, you are invited to e-mail me a few sentences describing some situation involving parents and grandparents for which you would like my advice. I will select situations that I think will have broad appeal to parents and grandparents.

I hope you will enjoy reading “Ask Dr. Gramma Karen” every Wednesday, starting September 14. I know I will enjoy writing it for you! Looking forward to hearing from you.

E-mail queries to [email protected].


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