What Does the Mother of Your Grandkids Want You to Know?
BY JENNIFER MCLEAN
A common issue that arises between grandparents and parents is a sense that grandparents are overstepping the mark. Often there is a real feeling that the grandparents are domineering certain scenarios which can leave the parents feeling like they are losing control over their role as parent. Sometimes this occurs when grandparents take over the arrangement of an engagement and feel entitled to special thanks, which justly belong to the parents.
Many grandparents have little say in raising their grandchildren and many have to find balance between being both grandparent and parent. This article is not written with these circumstances in mind and it goes without saying that they are worthy of admiration, not condemnation.
A common scenario where friction can occur is situations where grandparents become a main caregiver, or where they live in the family home. This can lead to a lack awareness of certain boundaries, which is often the case when no discussions regarding roles, responsibilities and discipline have taken place. Often, these frictions can reach boiling point and can lead to family fall outs and in some cases complete isolation.
What do Grandparents need to know?
The role of a grandparent is an important one, as family elders your experience and wisdom is golden. Equally, grandparents have a lot of love to give, but that does not mean the role between parent and grandparent should be blurred as it can lead to tension, resentment and become fundamentally damaging to you and your family. With that said, here are some important things all parents of your grandchildren want you to know:
1. Be Aware of Your Role
As a grandparent, it’s important to be aware of your role. On the arrival of your grandchild, it’s perfectly normal for the maternal grandmother to have more access at the start. In the majority of cultures the mothers are the main caregivers and as a result new mothers usually turn to their own for guidance. Try not to be offended by this and remember that your grandkids will love you equally.
2. Generational Changes Matter
Social norms and standards have changed over the last few decades, which has always been the case and as it will probably continue to be. Raising kids is no different, so try to be aware that your point of view might not always be appreciated. For instance, you might have fed your baby every hour without question, but today’s parents are often up to date with the latest advice from online outlets. Besides, baby wearing? These new trends take some getting used to.
3. Old Trauma May Get Uncovered
The arrival of a new family member can often arouse a whole host of emotions and unfortunately, not just the positive ones. Often, grandparents can feel pushed out and isolated, especially if they don’t live as close by as the other grandparents and therefore can’t visit as often. Not only that but surprisingly, traumatic memories regarding a family divorce or separation can also be unearthed. It’s important to be mindful of your own perceptions and remember that people are capable of loving more than one person and grandkids won’t love you any less.
4. You Have Your Own Life to Lead
As a grandparent, it’s far too easy to get absorbed by the dramas and goings on of your family and often this is unavoidable. However, it’s also important to remember that you have your own life to lead as well. Over involving yourself in your children’s life can potentially impact your own self-preservation and well-being. Remember that boundaries are there for the benefit of everyone.
5. Give up all Expectations
Many grandparents have the expectation that their own children and therefore grandchildren will always live close by, yet this isn’t always the case. In fact, today jobs and career progression often make relocation the only option, which often means leaving your hometown and family.
Unfortunately, many have a hard time dealing with this reality, but the bottom line is that your children are making their own life and choosing their path. The thing to remember is that it’s still possible to maintain a good relationship with your grandkids and it also makes special occasions and meetups all the more memorable.
About the Author
Jennifer Mclean is a mother of three, housewife and full time blogger whose ramblings and research can be read on her blog and passion project MomBible. Jennifer writes about a wide range of parenting topics including health, education, behavior, spirituality and even product reviews.