Common Grandparenting pitfalls to avoid
Being a Grandparent is a wonderful and fulfilling role later in life.
The joy of watching your family grow and being a part of the lives of your young grandchildren can be incredibly rewarding.
But that doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges, and can sometimes create new tensions within the family as you all navigate new ground.
Here’s a few of the most common don’ts when it comes to being a grandparent and how you can avoid them.
Avoid judging parenting style
Telling your children and their spouses how to raise theirs can cause huge tension and mean they keep you at arm’s length. Even when you disagree with their decisions, it’s best to keep quiet unless you’re explicitly asked for help or advice. Navigating parenthood is hard work, and if you want to provide support, a better strategy would be to compliment and encourage them.
Set boundaries and say no
This rule applies to both children and grandchildren. It’s great to be able to help out both financially or by helping with childcare, but you are within your rights to set boundaries and say no. The same goes for when looking after grandchildren; you may feel pressure to bend rules, dispense treats or give gifts, but ultimately boundaries benefit everyone.
Mind the rules
Whether you agree with the rules or not, the rules set by your grandchildren’s parents should be followed even when you’re in charge. Keep to their ideas about things like discipline, TV or computer time, snack foods and bedtime. Make sure the big rules stay in place, and any bending of the rules – like staying up past usual bedtime – are understood to be a one-off special treat.
Competing for the attention and affection of your grandchildren is a trap many grandparents fall into, but it rarely has positive consequences. Trying to be the favourite grandparent often results in you feeling miserable and grandchildren feeling pressured. Try to respect the unique role each member of the family plays in your grandchild’s life and ultimately the more loving influences a child has in their life the better.
Do you know any other common grandparenting pitfalls? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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