I enjoy writing. After more than 3 decades writing the results of my medical and scientific research, with more than 200 publications in those fields, I made the transition to writing for a general readership.  For you. And I’m proud of the books, blogs, magazine and newspaper columns I’ve written over the past 15 years, especially those works on parenting. My most recent book was an updated and expanded edition of “No Regrets Parenting,” a book which in its day (2012) became a bestseller. The new edition, published in 2021, includes a brand new section on “no regrets grandparenting,” reflecting the new status of many of the readers of the original edition of the book, including me.

Now, enter ChatGPT. Everyone is talking about this new open artificial intelligence technology which can generate publish-ready pieces at the stroke of the “enter” key after posing a prompt. I had to try it to see if  AI is going to put me and millions of other writers and authors out of business – or perhaps be embraced by writers and authors as a new way of doing business. So, here’s what happened…

I entered this prompt based on some of the content of my No Regrets Parenting section on grandparenting:

“Discuss the boundaries grandparents must respect with their grandkids. For example, what kinds of advice should grandparents give their adult children regarding childrearing? Is it okay to criticize the amount of screen time a grandchild gets at home? Or what kind of food they’re eating? Or when it’s time to get a haircut? When should a grandparent back off and realize they’ve had their turn, now it’s their adult kids’ turns to parent?”

And here’s the ChatGPT response, word-for-word, generated within seconds of submitting my prompt: 

The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is a special one, filled with love, guidance, and support. However, it’s important to recognize that there are boundaries that grandparents should respect when it comes to parenting and childrearing. Here are some considerations regarding the advice grandparents can give and where they should draw the line:

  1. Respect the parents’ authority: Grandparents should acknowledge that the primary responsibility for raising and making decisions about the children lies with the parents. While offering advice and sharing experiences can be valuable, it’s crucial to respect the final decisions made by the parents.
  2. Offer advice when asked: It’s acceptable for grandparents to provide advice on childrearing matters when their adult children explicitly seek their guidance. If the parents are open to suggestions or want to learn from their parents’ experiences, it can be helpful for grandparents to share their knowledge.
  3. Focus on support and encouragement: Instead of criticizing or finding fault, grandparents should aim to be a source of support and encouragement for their adult children in their parenting journey. Providing emotional support, lending a helping hand, and being a reliable presence can make a significant difference.
  4. Be mindful of cultural and generational differences: Times change, and parenting practices evolve. Grandparents should be mindful of the fact that what worked for them may not be suitable or applicable in the current context. Respect for the parents’ choices, even if they differ from the grandparents’ approach, is essential.
  5. Avoid unsolicited criticism: Grandparents should be cautious about offering unsolicited criticism regarding specific aspects of child-rearing, such as screen time, food choices, or appearance-related matters. Unless there are serious concerns for the child’s well-being, it is generally best to defer to the parents’ judgment.
  6. Communicate openly and respectfully: If a grandparent has genuine concerns about a child’s well-being, it’s important to approach the parents in a respectful and non-confrontational manner. Open communication can help foster understanding and find common ground.
  7. Know when to step back: Grandparents should recognize that they had their turn at parenting and now it’s their adult children’s opportunity to make decisions for their own children. It’s crucial to respect the parents’ boundaries and not overstep by imposing their own ideas or decisions.

Ultimately, the key to a harmonious relationship between grandparents and their adult children lies in open communication, respect for boundaries, and a shared understanding that the parents have the final say in raising their own children. By providing support, love, and guidance when welcomed, grandparents can play a positive role in their grandchildren’s lives while honoring the parents’ authority

Sheesh. The ChatGPT response is so close to the general concepts of my book’s section on grandparenting boundaries that I’ve flattered myself to think it may have been derived, at least in part, from my book! Scary. How will you ever know if what I post on this blog, or write in my next book, is mine or AI’s? Well, here’s my promise…if I ever use ChatGPT or other AI to create a blog or book, I’ll declare it at the outset. But I doubt that will ever happen – I enjoy writing too much to let my computer do it for me.

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