As a grandparent your love can be big and overwhelming, so much so that you may not realize if you’re stepping out of bounds or causing pressure on family relationships. It’s not easy to scale back when you just want to get in as much quality time with your grandchildren as possible. However, being aware and considerate can go a long way to maintaining a healthy, positive relationship with everyone involved.
Pause before you speak
Parents need to be allowed to parent, even when they’re your children. Try to keep advice giving to a minimum unless you’re specifically asked.
Be open to change
Times have changed since you were a parent. Best practices on car seats, nutrition and sleep may be different now than when you were raising your kids. Be ready and open to learning and adapting to the changes.
Accept that it’s not a competition
There may be several family members wanting to spend time with your grandchildren — including other grandparents. Be prepared to step back and take your turn.
Don’t take it personally
Families are complex, and your adult child may be under lots of marital and outside pressures. If you offer help — financial assistance, babysitting, gifts or advice — and it’s refused, accept it with good grace. Similarly, ask if it’s okay if you want to give expensive gifts since the parents or your grandkids may have specific things that they need that would be more appreciated.
Take it in stride
Be aware of your own energy levels, and make sure that the time and activities you commit to with your grandkids don’t put you at risk of burnout. You want to enjoy your time together and do activities you all enjoy.
Hone your tech skills
To keep the lines of communication open with your grandkids – whether they’re out of town or down the street – it’s helpful to understand how they prefer to communicate with you, including the technology they may be using. Find out what their preferred method of communication is – be it texting, email or a phone call and negotiate so that you’re both comfortable with the method and frequency of that communication.
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