Top 7 tips for new and expecting grandparents

Top 7 tips for new and expecting grandparents

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Congratulations, you're a grandparent! It's a big deal – and an event you may have been anticipating for a long time.

But this transition brings challenges as well as joy. Here are seven tips to help you avoid common new-grandparent pitfalls and handle your role with flair and grace.

Set the stage for smooth relationships

Right from the get-go, many expecting parents experience tension or a feeling of being torn between two – or even three or four – sets of grandparents forcefully asserting their wishes. It's a recipe for stress that soon-to-be parents definitely don't need.

As much as you can, stay positive, be flexible, and go with the flow. Focus on supporting the expecting parents rather than telling them what you want – they'll appreciate it.

When it comes to visits, especially the all-important first visit to see the baby, be sensitive. You may not be invited to attend the birth or come to the hospital or birth center right afterward. Don't be offended – it's the new parents' decision to make. Same goes if they don't jump on your baby-name suggestions.

It may make life easier for everyone if you communicate directly with the other grandparents – about events like a baby shower, for example – rather than going through the parents-to-be. If you haven't met the other grandparents, ask for an introduction.

Finally, if you're divorced from your adult child's other parent, it's a good time to fix any unmended fences. Like it or not, you're going to be sharing grandparenting duties with your ex, as well as with your in-laws and your ex's new partner if there is one. Don't make an already sticky situation any more difficult.

Listen and defer

No matter how many kids you raised or how they turned out, your adult child and his or her partner are now in charge of the childrearing. Be cautious about offering opinions or advice unless asked directly. And even then, tread lightly and express yourself gently.

"It's all about respecting boundaries," says family therapist Christine Lawlor, who's helped many families work on grandparent-related issues. "Everyone parents differently, and it's your child's turn to learn what works for them."

It's hard to keep your lips zipped when you hear things you disagree with, from what kind of birth the parents are planning to what kind of childcare they're considering. But you need to.

If you try to intervene with a contrary opinion, you're setting yourself up as an adversary, says New York family therapist Sharon O'Neill, author of A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage. Over time, you'll strain your relationship with the new parents and your grandchildren.

Let the parents-to-be experiment – not every decision they make will stick. And not everything they put out there needs to provoke a reaction. Sometimes they're just thinking aloud. "Allow them to grow in their roles as parents," Lawlor says.

Lastly, no gloating or "I told you so" when something you disagreed with doesn't work. Everyone has to learn things for themselves.

Go easy on the shopping

With a new grandchild on the way, it's tempting to go on a shopping spree. But before you do, ask the parents-to-be what they need, what they don't want, and whether there's a baby registry or wish list you can consult before you buy anything.

Some expectant parents welcome all gifts, but others would prefer to make most of the choices about clothing, toys, and gear themselves. And there may be other factors they're weighing, like an impending move or limited space.

Some parents-to-be take the "less is more" philosophy and don't want to fill their homes with bulky baby gear, at least not right away. Others would much rather have financial help or contributions to a savings account.

Don't take their choices personally

They're advocates of co-sleeping? Don't want to circumcise? Want to name their baby boy Peach? Honestly, it's not your problem. Yes, you may feel a tad embarrassed sharing your grandson's new moniker with your friends, but you didn't name him, right? Just raise your eyebrows and report it with a smile.

Let bonding happen naturally

You've been so excited to meet the new baby – and then she wails nonstop whenever she's in your arms and ignores your coos and funny faces. It's disappointing, sure, but don't fret that your relationship will always be so rocky.

"Of course you can anticipate having a wonderful relationship with your grandchild, but that doesn't automatically happen," says Amy Goyer, multigenerational family expert for the AARP and author of Things to Do Now That You're a Grandparent. "It takes time and work and may not always resemble the picture you have in your mind."

Try to avoid specific expectations – they can be a recipe for disappointment. Instead, focus on getting to know your grandchild slowly and naturally and look for as many ways as possible to be involved in his or her life. If she screams when passed to you, keep trying. She may just need time to get comfortable with someone other than her parents.

Follow their rules

You're used to being the one in charge, but this time it's your child's turn. That can be disconcerting, but you may find this role reversal refreshing as well. After all, with authority comes responsibility. Now it's your turn to do what you're told – and not worry about whether it's the best way or not.

If your grandchild has a routine for naps and meals, make sure you maintain it, even if it means cutting an outing short. "If every time Sammy goes out with Grandma he comes home exhausted and cranky, those outings are not going to happen as often," says O'Neill, the family therapist.

If the parents say no solid food yet and to keep the TV and phones off when the baby's awake, respect their wishes. The same goes for their house rules: If they're strict about recycling, don't throw your water bottles in the trash.

And if the new parents aren't always gracious when explaining their do's and don'ts or get snippy with you over something minor, try to keep your cool. Sleep deprivation – and the stresses of new parenthood – are probably to blame.

Give new parents a break

It's easy to forget how overwhelming it is to be a new parent and how hard it can be to accomplish the basics. This is where you can step in to save the day.

During visits, offer to take care of your grandbaby while the parents nap or get other things done. Ask if you can help by running errands, making meals, or cleaning up. If other family members are dropping by, offer to help field phone calls or emails to schedule visits.

Some new parents are reluctant to ask grandparents to help, so you may get better results if you just jump in and do what's needed, like filling the dishwasher or making sandwiches. But if you detect resentment afterward, don't do it again – not everyone appreciates unsolicited help.

It may be easier for the new parents if you stay in a hotel nearby rather than in their home. This way they won't try to take on hosting duties on top of their parenting responsibilities.

It's worth asking ahead of time, says Goyer of the AARP. "Your suggestion may be met with relief, or they may say it's not necessary, but you've put the option out there," she says.

Forgive the new parents for being overwhelmed and self-absorbed – it's natural. Your child probably won't have time for the things you used to do together, and your conversations will likely be all about the baby, at least for a while.

If you expect this and practice patience, you're less likely to become hurt or resentful. And you can be pleasantly surprised when the new parents emerge from the fog of sleep deprivation and become your thoughtful loved ones again.

Watch the video: The Story Of Grimes PART 1: A Childhood DOCUMENTARY (February 2023).

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos