Grandparents- their role
The role of grandparents is a very special one to both them and the grandchild. Grandparents are usually calm loving souls that seem to fill a void that parents can’t fill especially in this modern world of two income families.
While they are important. Their role is often fragile in that, for any number of reasons, they could lose their role altogether- cut out of their grandchildren’s lives. This leads to tremendous levels of grief.
The role of being a grandparent doesn’t come with a “user manual”. As new parents we mums and dads get visiting nurses, read books, Dr google and GP care, a grandparent won’t find a short course on grand parenting so it is accepted being one doesn’t need education. I believe this is an error in society because grandparents can easily fall into being out of favour and losing their role regardless of the high level of love they give.
Lets be bold and discuss some of the basic errors a grandparent can make-
- Interfering with how the parent raises their child - for the parents this can be demeaning. They often are critical of how they were raised so they won’t allow history to repeat. Subtle suggestions done with love and support is good, anything beyond that builds resentment
- commenting on the lifestyle choices the parent makes- a grandparent can voice expectations and worse- insist on them. Again, they should try to steer the ship steady not take over the captains wheel
- entering the role of parenting- remember, you are not the parent. Caring for your grandchild is an honour not a right, Discipline and educating the child should be along the lines of the parents techniques and wishes or conflict is likely
- Not feeling significant- try not to feel this way. Nanas and Pops are really important for a child. Even spoiling a grandchild is ok. Remember, your love and care will be a lifetime of memories for that child.
- making their role as grandparent their life- this is a common trap. For some they cannot keep a buffer zone from the grandchildren, they reduce their friendships, sports and hobbies. All eggs in one basket is not such a good idea
However there is s flip side and that is the attitudes of the parents . Sometimes outside influences like drugs, in laws, resentment from historic conflict or other underlying issues can suddenly result in a severing of ties.
A common occurrence is divorce of the parents. All the more reason to be in the background without controversy giving you better chances of continual contact.
Hi Tony and All,
I'd like to add to this from a different angle. Due to not having children I will never be a grand parent. I have had the most blessed opportunity to be an Auntie though and that is a role in life I cherish.
I have spent a lot of time with my nieces especially, having them in our home for weekends and full days during the week.
Not having ever been a parent, I learnt from my siblings. I respected their choices and ways of parenting. On occasion I asked if we could do things a little differently in our own home. Compromises and discussions were had.
The changes of expectations were explained to the children and we all adapted. Love and care flourished. Having open discussions helped.
I did ask my sister if it might be possible for me to buy some disposable nappies for the baby to use at our place instead of cloth nappies. I understood her desire to save the planet and she understood my need for a little convenience and less mess!
To me, all members of a family are important and can be such a blessing in a child's life.
I may be off topic here Tony, just sharing a little from my view of the world!
Cheers all from Dools