While SheSaidSheSaid often addresses parenting challenges between the generations, in honor of National Grandparents Month we’d rather focus on the many gifts that come from having more than one perspective on parenting. So here are 5 “Moments of Wisdom” from watching the other generation.
We’ll start with MOM:
1. It’s okay to be flexible…a.k.a. a few broken rules will not lead to a downward spiral!
As long as the major rules are followed, the occasional soda, late bedtime or ‘spoiling’ will not cause health or character damage. Admittedly, it’s harder to learn this when you have a lot of different rules than the grandparents would – and therein is the lesson in ‘flexibility’.
2. Aha moments.
I’ve learned many things about my own child from his visits with his grandparents, including that he: no longer needs the bedrail; likes meatloaf; really can wipe by himself; and numerous other pleasant surprises! Sometimes you just miss changes, when you’re with your child on a daily basis or just don’t think to try something different.
3. Each grandparent has a special and unique talent to share with your child that is different from yours.
Treasure the skill that each grandparent shares that can expand your child’s horizons.
4. The love and interest that grandparents show your child outweigh the little things that may drive you crazy.
Whatever your adult relationships may or may not be, every child deserves the opportunity to build his/her own healthy relationship with their grandparents. Focus on being grateful that the grandparent wants to be in your child’s life.
5. Make time to play.
One thing that most kids love about their grandparents is the attention. As a parent, I have taken a cue from grandparents and now special time with my child – putting aside work; to do lists; errands; and electronic gadgets just to have fun and create memories.
Whether through osmosis or gentle nudging – maybe not quite so gentle at times – I have picked up a few things from my grown children who are heads of their own families now.
1. Be careful, when you speak.
Words can help. Words can hurt. Choose your words carefully. Even when speaking to young children. Once the words are out of your mouth, there’s no getting them back.
2. Be in the moment.
Stop thinking about the errands you have to run on the way home. Or that bill you forgot to pay. Just enjoy the moment, wherever you are – right there, right then.
3. There is no one right way to parent.
Despite being raised in the same household, my son and daughter (and their spouses) have different views about raising their kids. Let the parents be your guide. They’ve been reading all the latest news and research about raising healthy, happy kids…and they are focused on the individual needs of your grandchildren.
4. I may want to spend a whole lot of time with my grandchildren, yet we do have separate lives.
It’s so hard, at times, to remember that their family needs time together, just them. No grandparents. And as a grandmother, I need to have my own interests, not relying on them to fill my days or give my life meaning.
5. There are many ways to stay connected with your grandchildren whether just an ‘every day’ you want to share or a holiday or special event.
Be willing to explore what works for each family; be open to all ideas; and be flexible. As long as the parents are willing to work with you, things will be ok. Maybe not exactly how you wish things to be, but you will be part of your grands’ lives. With today’s tech options, you can Skype, call, email and even use Facetime on iPhones.