Congrats! You’ve raised kids who have successfully entered adulthood and are becoming parents themselves. That means you’re going to be a grandparent!
But do you know what that doesn’t mean? It doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about being a grandparent. Your role as the grandparent is very different than when you were a mother or father yourself.
These seven tips will help you smoothly transition into the role of being a great grandparent:
Refresh your memory
Has it been awhile since you changed a diaper? Are you up on all the latest guidelines about what to feed and what not to feed babies of certain ages? Though the cores of parenting have not changed, research and technology has. Make sure to do a bit of your own research, so you can be the most competent and helpful grandparent you can be.
Understand that your opinion is just that – an opinion
As a parent, your opinion meant everything, because you were in charge of everything. It was your job to make choices for your family. But as a grandparent, your role is different. You can be a great help to your child who is a new parent if you reserve your opinion for when it is most needed and instead offer general support and love during this transitionary period.
Think back to when you were a new parent. If you were fortunate enough to have your parents around to help out, can you think of some tense situations? If so, they likely revolved around them criticizing some aspect of your parenting. When we’re judged, our immediate reaction is to put up our defenses and then we often stop listening and shut down. Avoid this altogether by focusing on the positive. Keep lines of communication open, and remember, you’re there because you love your child and your new grandchild.
Try to avoid jealousy
It’s likely that you’re not your grandchild’s only grandparent. You might not be the grandparent your grandchild sees the most often, either. You have to come to terms with these things and manage the situation like the adult you are. Jealousy is unbecoming, and holding a grudge against your grandchild’s other set of grandparents is only going to drive a wedge between you and your beloved grandchild and her parents.
Don’t break the rules too much
You might not fully agree with them, but your child has created rules for your grandchild that he or she believes in. Whether that means no screen time before bed or no added sugar, it’s important to respect these decisions and stick with them. You, of course, want your grandchild to enjoy being with you, but don’t force it at the expense of your relationship with your child.
Define your role
It never hurts to be upfront and honest. If you’re struggling with boundaries as a grandparent, have that hard conversation with your child and his/her spouse about your role. It’s important they understand where you’re coming from and you understand where they are coming from. Being on the same page is key.
Have a bit of trust
This final tip is really the crux of your entire job as a grandparent. Trust that you raised your child to be a good parent. Trust that your grandchild loves you. Trust your gut when it comes to boundaries. Love your grandchildren and your children unconditionally and have compassion. Everyone is adapting together.