Friday, July 20, 2007

Grandparenting: Starting Out on the Right Foot

Grandparents are one of the booming demographics of the 21st century. Even with the average couple waiting to start a family today, the sheer number of individuals and couples with children moving into adulthood guarantees there will continue to be a boom of new grandparents in the making for some time to come. So if you are facing the possibility of grandparenthood or know someone who is I have compiled a short list of tips I have picked up over the past two years. These items have to do with how you think about your role and how you show support for the parents of your grandchild. They are sorted into 6 “dos” and 4 “don’ts” for clarity.

Do:

1. Keep your roles straight (you parented the parent but are not the parent of the grandchild).

2. Respect the parents’ autonomy (their child is their responsibility, they have the last word).

3. Have faith in the new parents as capable and able to ask for help when they need it.

4. Do be available as a resource (but resist constantly giving unasked-for advice).

5. Do be available for occasional parent-relief (it’s not babysitting, it’s grandparenting).

6. Back-up the parents’ decisions when the grandchild starts trolling for second opinions.


Don’t:

1. When the parents ask you not to do something, don’t take it personally and don’t pout (you already suspected they wouldn’t like it).

2. Don’t be a source of constant criticism about childrearing (there are many correct styles).

3. Don’t contradict the parents’ requests or rules (family popularity contests spoil everything).

4. Never be the source of gossip or unsupportive talk to outsiders about the new family unit.


These are not exhaustive lists. The bookstores and online forums are great resources for ideas on how to handle the innumerable issues that face new grandparents. Below are two sites to start off your search. Transitioning into the role of a grandparent may seem like a minefield at first. Try to remember that with thought and preparation and respect that being a grandparent can be the best years, yet.


Links:

HelpGuide.org on Grandparenting

AARP on Grandparenting

This was written as part of Problogger's "Summer Blog Tune-Up."

3 comments:

Christi said...

Such a wonderful post, my mother was recently visiting my family. I really enjoyed reading your post about grandparenting, even though I am not the grandparent, my parents are. I came to your blog through a recent comment you left on my blog, thank you. And thanks to Darren at ProBlogger for writing the post that connected us! I will revisit your site again, I enjoy your posts!

Daisy said...

It amazes me when I realize that I am the age that my mother was when she became a grandma. I don't feel old enough for that, but I suppose she didn't either!

G's Cottage said...

I hadn't even thought about how old the previous generations of women in the family were when they became grandmothers. Doing some quick checking though, my mom's mother was 43, my mom was 46, and I was 52. It's funny that I feel more able to enjoy and be a part of my granddaughter's life than they were even though they were younger.

Thanks for dropping by ladies. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts.