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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 10-Jul-14 12:04:22

Sandi Toksvig's alternative etiquette guide

Writer, comedian and presenter, Sandi Toksvig, gives us her guide to being a well-mannered grandparent, and tells us why, though it's often tempting to apply the 'older is wiser' adage, we could stand to learn something from the younger generations themselves.

Sandi Toksvig

The alternative etiquette guide

Posted on: Thu 10-Jul-14 12:04:22


Lead photo

Sandi Toksvig

Gore Vidal said, "Never have children, only grandchildren". In theory it should be less work and more fun. Being a grandmother ought to be like being a mother but with more fairy dust. It's not always easy though. There is no question that the world has changed. Take child birth. These days, the father is expected to stand and help deliver but that was not the case with my grandparents. My grandfather always associated the birth of his four children with going to buy loose tea. It was customary for babies to be born at home and when the moment for delivery was near, the midwife always sent my grandfather out to buy a packet of tea. She did not want him hanging around when the baby was born.

The fact, however, that there has been change does not mean that I think manners have gone to hell in a hand cart. I believe the wonderful chance for closeness between grandchildren and grandparents has only improved as our lives have lengthened. Indeed, grandparents are essential today in…

The young ought to listen to the elders but that doesn't mean the next generation have nothing to teach us themselves.

Acting as a buffer
These days, the economic situation means even grown up children can take years to leave home so the usual frustrations of young people with their parents play out for longer. The grandparent can be an essential buffer in these relationships - partly by teaching both the younger generations the importance of…

The ‘Do as you would be done by’ leitmotif of manners
You often hears parents moan about their children not having enough respect. The grandparent can stand back from this and remind everyone that respect is something everyone, whatever their age, has to earn. They say wisdom comes with age. In my case I’m not at all sure age has come on its own but there is no question that experience is worth something. The young ought to listen to the elders but that doesn’t mean the next generation have nothing to teach us themselves. Parents caught up in the maelstrom of young people growing up sometimes forget that the relationship needs to be a two way street of listening and talking and of…

Allowing the young to make mistakes
It is too tempting to be the constant voice of caution or even doom as the young progress forward in their lives. It is, however, useful to recall the lessons we learnt from our own mistakes. Biting one's tongue and occasionally allowing for the folly of youth can be a kindness as long as you (and they) know you are there to pick up the pieces when necessary. Grandparents only have one obligation in these instances - never run out of cuddles or biscuits.

Sandi's new book, Peas and Queues: The minefield of Modern Manners, is available now from Amazon.

By Sandi Toksvig

Twitter: @sanditoksvig

rubylady Tue 15-Jul-14 12:14:55

Is Sandi a grandmother? I know she has children but I don't know if she has grandchildren? I've always loved her, very funny and seems a very open lady. x

sparkygran Tue 15-Jul-14 12:23:15

Like you rubylady I love Sandi`s humour and wit but don`t think she is a grandmother

janeainsworth Tue 15-Jul-14 12:36:42

I haven't read the rest of Sandi's book, but this brief extract doesn't seem to tell us anything any normal grandparent doesn't know already!
What was that about sucking eggs? hmm

ninny Tue 15-Jul-14 19:46:26

I saw her yesterday she was in her car [a red sports car open top] outside canterbury cathedral. I thought she was gay but I might be mistaken.

AlieOxon Tue 15-Jul-14 20:46:18

She is, but that doesn't exclude her being a gran.....

Elegran Tue 15-Jul-14 21:47:05

She has children. I think they are too young to make her and her partner grandparents.

Ana Tue 15-Jul-14 21:55:09

Yes, so I suppose she's giving an objective view of grandparenting. Do we really need that, though...? confused We can all be wise before the event.

Elegran Tue 15-Jul-14 22:12:09

Correction, her daughters were born in 1988 and 1990, so they are old enough to have gven her granchildren. Perhaps the view is not so objective after all.

Ana Tue 15-Jul-14 22:16:44

Perhaps not. But we don't actually know.

Nelliemoser Tue 15-Jul-14 22:23:55

Ninny she is very openly gay and very very funny about it.

ninny Wed 16-Jul-14 11:28:17

I personally know 2 lesbian couples where one partner has had donor ivf I have no problems with this at all. I was just making a comment. She is not your average grandmother [if she is one at all] but it takes all sorts to make a world.

Lilygran Wed 16-Jul-14 11:49:53

What would we do without Wikipedia?

Ana Wed 16-Jul-14 11:57:46

Elegran has given that information already, but we still don't know whether Sandi is a grandmother!

Elegran Wed 16-Jul-14 13:41:16

I have tried searching for "Sandi Toksvig grandchild" with no luck, so either she has none or she has been very clever keeping them out of the public eye.

Nonu Wed 16-Jul-14 17:16:11

I have just got back to this, as been to movies this afternoon.

I also viewed site before we went and can find no mention of G/C, when she & partner renewed vows, not one child insight.

Which if she has G/C I find rather strange, as you would think she would want them to be there to share the happy occasion .

So perhaps she hasn"t , which makes her blog a bit rich IMO

Silverfish Wed 16-Jul-14 22:07:23

I love Sandi she's witty and funny and just not boring like other celebs of a similar age. I don't care if shes gay, I like her as a person. If she's not a grandma then she will be a good one someday

Ana Wed 16-Jul-14 22:15:10

No one cares whether she's gay or not, silverfish, we were just questioning whether she's actually qualified to pontificate about grandparenthood if she isn't a gran herself!

rosequartz Wed 16-Jul-14 22:40:16

Her present partner is not the co-parent of her three children.
Not sure if she is a grandparent, but, even if she is, it always amuses me somewhat when excited new 'sleb' parents write books telling other parents how it should be done and now a presumably 'new' or 'not yet' grandparent is telling some very experienced grandparents how it all works and how to do it!

I think she is very clever and very funny but not sure that makes her an expert on grandparenting hmm

Nelliemoser Wed 16-Jul-14 23:50:08

I do not see that anywhere in that article she claims to be a grandparent.
She could be a step grand parent! She has been a grandchild and has had grandparents. (As we all have.)

If she has known her grandparents, whether her experiences were good or not, IMO that probably qualifies her to state her views on how grand parents relate to their grand children.

AlieOxon Thu 17-Jul-14 08:28:17

.....anyway not everyone here is a GP, and that's been ok?

Ana Thu 17-Jul-14 10:01:55

Yes, but I doubt whether any of those members who aren't grandparents have written books advising others on how to do it!

rosequartz Thu 17-Jul-14 10:08:05

Alie, I haven't seen any posters on here without GC telling me what I should or should not be doing with my GC!

It is often great to know the theory but the practice may be very different!

rosequartz Thu 17-Jul-14 10:13:01

A new book? hmm
Watch out for her on The One Show, BBc Breakfast, Graham Norton, ITV morning show, Lorraine, all those shows which offer free publicity in the way of entertainment.

At least she will be funny which is more than you can say for some advertising their wares.

Nonu Thu 17-Jul-14 10:15:18

To me it is a bit like when I had my babies and read all the childcare books.
However, babies hadn"t read the books so they had their own agenda.

Suppose what I am saying it is alright to spout theories but actually there is nothing like Hands On!!

Anyway off now as a friend has just phoned and invited me to lunch !

Have a fun day , see you later maybe