Blog 8–WC Reflections & Resources

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During the past few weeks I have been hearing both positive and concerning stories about grandparent’s actions in and out of the home.  This caused me to question “What is a healthier role for a grandparent?”  I have often heard grandparents say, “It is my job to spoil my grandkids.”  Yes, it can be helpful to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren; however, in order to be supportive, grandparents benefit from respecting their adult children’s role as the primary caregiver unless this parent has given up that right.  Helpful grandparenting requires thoughtful communication, respectful interaction and acceptance of family hierarchy and healthy boundaries.

It is harmful when grandparents come in and take over for a parent and/or undermine what a parent has told his/her children what they can or can’t do.  This role and hierarchy confusion may continue if grandparents spend money or involve their grandchildren in things that they did not get permission to do.  These become mixed messages for the children and a method of splitting the adults against each other.   The parent may feel confused, angry and/or hurt by their parent’s actions due to his/her authority being discounted and due to reminders of unresolved wounds from childhood.  The grandchildren may take advantage of this tension to get what they want whether it is in their best interest or not. Parents also need to be clearer about what they want or need from the grandparents.

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As a grandparent, you might not like what your adult child is doing or not doing to raise your grandchildren.  If this is the case, it would be beneficial for you to reflect on how you raised your own child and what kind of relationship you currently have as adults.  If you want to continue to have a relationship with your adult child and your grandchildren, you may need to consider how you are treating them.   Have you been able to own where you may have fallen short in your parenting and made amends with your adult child?  Consider if your actions or comments are building connections with your family or tearing them down.

Children are dependent on the adults in their lives to meet their basic needs and to teach them how to get along with others and to live in the world.  If you don’t agree with something your adult child is doing, consider if it is really your place to say something and if you do, address it away from the grandchildren.  There are multiple ways grandparents can support their extended family such as passing on family traditions, sharing stories from childhood or about their parent as a child, teaching values especially related to how to treat others, creating memories related to work and play and loving each other throughout the ups and downs of life.

Grandparents may have the best of intentions to love their grandchildren and to be a part of their lives.   I challenged you as grandparents to do this in a manner that builds and maintains healthier family connections.  That is a legacy to be proud of!

During the past few weeks I have been hearing both positive and concerning stories about grandparent’s actions in and out of the home.  This caused me to question “What is a healthier role for a grandparent?”  I have often heard grandparents say, “It is my job to spoil my grandkids.”  Yes, it can be helpful to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren; however, in order to be supportive, grandparents benefit from respecting their adult children’s role as the primary caregiver unless this parent has given up that right.  Helpful grandparenting requires thoughtful communication, respectful interaction and acceptance of family hierarchy and healthy boundaries.

It is harmful when grandparents come in and take over for a parent and/or undermine what a parent has told his/her children what they can or can’t do.  This role and hierarchy confusion may continue if grandparents spend money or involve their grandchildren in things that they did not get permission to do.  These become mixed messages for the children and a method of splitting the adults against each other.   The parent may feel confused, angry and/or hurt by their parent’s actions due to his/her authority being discounted and due to reminders of unresolved wounds from childhood.  The grandchildren may take advantage of this tension to get what they want whether it is in their best interest or not.   Parents also need to be clearer about what they want or need from the grandparents.

As a grandparent, you might not like what your adult child is doing or not doing to raise your grandchildren.  If this is the case, it would be beneficial for you to reflect on how you raised your own child and what kind of relationship you currently have as adults.  If you want to continue to have a relationship with your adult child and your grandchildren, you may need to consider how you are treating them.   Have you been able to own where you may have fallen short in your parenting and made amends with your adult child?  Consider if your actions or comments are building connections with your family or tearing them down.

Children are dependent on the adults in their lives to meet their basic needs and to teach them how to get along with others and to live in the world.  If you don’t agree with something your adult child is doing, consider if it is really your place to say something and if you do, address it away from the grandchildren.  There are multiple ways grandparents can support their extended family such as passing on family traditions, sharing stories from childhood or about their parent as a child, teaching values especially related to how to treat others, creating memories related to work and play and loving each other throughout the ups and downs of life.

Grandparents may have the best of intentions to love their grandchildren and to be a part of their lives.   I challenged you as grandparents to do this in a manner that builds and maintains healthier family connections.  That is a legacy to be proud of!

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