Whether you are a parent or the grandparent, it’s natural for you to love little children. The sad truth, however, is that parenting styles of parents and the grannies can differ in many ways.There are some over-controlling grandparents who do not notice that they are already stepping on the boundaries. From the point of view of a father, here are some gentle reminders to grandparents:
1. Give advice only when solicited.
Concern is not the issue here. This is about a new parent making independent decisions. Your adult child needs to discover everything on his or her own, except for the times when he or she solicits your advice. Maybe you do not want to just sit and watch your grandchild’s parents doing a trial-and-error in taking care of their child but that is the way for them to learn.
2. Your grandchild is yours to love, but not yours to own.
You cannot just do what you wish with your grandchild. Before you decide to do things that you believe is good for the child, you need to ask his or her parents’ permission. Some grandparents, for instance, are fond of giving gifts to their grandchildren but the parents of these kids might not agree with the habit. So, to avoid unnecessary conflicts, always consult the people who have the full right and responsibility to the children — the parents.
3. Remember that you are a grandparent, not the parent.
As much as you want to apply to your grandchildren the things that you have done to your own child, you must always remember that you are not the father or the mother. Yes, maybe you were an effective parent but that is no longer your role to this new child. It is not appropriate for you to insist your style instead of respecting that of the parents’. Disregarding them as parents would be taking away their child from them.
4. Grandparenting is a part of your life.
Time may be passing by without you noticing it because you enjoy your grandchildren very much, but you should not forget that grandparenting is just a part of your life; it is not, and must not be, your whole life. You have your own responsibilities as a person, as a partner, as a member of the community, etc. I see some grandparents who already fail to recognize their other responsibilities because they are preoccupied with pleasing their grandchildren.
5. Your adult children and their family have a life of their own.
Maybe this is one of the truth that a grandparent might a have hard time accepting. You might be separated from your grandchildren because their parents decided to migrate, and much as you want to protest, you can’t do anything about that. Grandparents must accept the fact that just as they lived with their children as a family with autonomy, the same is the case with their children and grandchildren.
As I have said, I am far from being a grandfather yet, but I can relate with the joys and the hurts of being a grandparent because some of us, and that includes me, are having difficulties coping with changes. But the keyword here is “acceptance”. The more we deny the reality, the more that we unnecessarily prolong the sufferings. So whether we are a parent or a grandparent, we should prepare ourselves to accept our children’s decisions and trust that they will make the right ones.