a special feature from Kay & Leslie, founders
Got your attention huh? You see the legs, a pick-up truck, some jeweled stilettos (with some tell-tale dirt on the heels) and what do you think? What races through your mind? Ah, come-on, grab a smile, chuckle for a second, and join us. We want you to enjoy every moment of this grandparent journey, this part of your life that is richer, fuller, and more exhausting than ever.
Don’t fret, just because they call you a ‘grandparent’ doesn’t mean you can’t kick it up a notch and enjoy all the fruits that life has to offer. Think entitlement. And don’t turn white with fear. Being a ‘grandparent’ doesn’t age you — embrace it. Just don’t wear those stilettos when you are watching the grandchildren!
1. Share your wisdom. Congratulations! You have achieved “grandparenthood” and you get to share it with millions of others! Kind of cool huh, to think there’s a lot of members of this special ‘tribe’ who cherish the idea that a new generation is upon us, one that we can witness and hopefully share for many years to come. Share your experiences and avoid starting a sentence in the presence of your grandchildren that begins with a pointed finger. Make a concise effort to communicate, to talk, to engage, no matter what age the kids are. Yes, you have much to add, and so do they. Children teach and inspire you!
2. Don’t put yourself and your needs to the side. What we mean here is that you should still find self-fulfillment and experience your life your way. Make it known that grandparenting doesn’t mean you are on call 24/7. You must be sure to create boundaries. Listen, who doesn’t want to be with their grandchildren as much as possible? We don’t know anyone who would negate this. But what we do know is that it is NOT healthy to be the ‘constant’. You are the grandparent, not the parent. Get yourself in shape and take care of your health because grandparenting is physically and emotionally exhausting.
3. Sit back and take deep breaths, and zip it when you must. Okay, so here’s the skinny: YOU DID NOT give birth to this precious grandchild! Allow the real parents the consideration, leeway, and comfort to find their way with their child(ren). Give them the respect they deserve to make decisions without your immediate input — unless you are asked. Valuing how they parent is an outright display of wonderful grandparenting, one that says, “I believe in you, I respect you, and I acknowledge that you are the parents making the decisions.” There now… is that so bad to repeat to yourself over and over? Otherwise, get some duct tape because it’s really beneficial to the relationship to not say too much.
4. Make sure you don’t forget about your friends, your thoughts, your interests; and most of all, don’t talk about grandparenting all the time. Whoa, sound harsh? We don’t think so – after all, we know you must have had a life known to others prior to the birth of a grandchild, right? No doubt your friends still want to be with you, even if you find yourself only being able to speak about the children. Take a moment and think, “Did I show the girls these pictures last week?” Give it a break sometimes. Maybe it would be healthy to discuss something other than kids. Maybe there’s a great new cure for the common wart that’s more interesting for the 100th
5. Finally, let the grandchildren find out who you are, what makes you tick, and what interests you. Just because you diapered them when they were just wee ones doesn’t mean you need to squeeze the cheeks of the 12-year-old and tell him what you found in his diaper when he was six months old. Yuck! Instead, find grandparenting as a positive way to create a special bond that isn’t humiliating, as your grandchild gets older. He doesn’t want you checking out his Facebook page, but you can be sure he loves some of those wonderful cookies that you make. He’ll cherish laughing with you, exchanging stories, or even asking for advice. Be authentic, be yourself, and share it.
Want to hear more of our advice? http://www.grandparentslink.com/successful-grandparenting-101/