To Expectant Grandparents: Take a Step Back
What an exciting time to be you! Not only did you manage to survive the pitfalls of parenthood yourself, you did such a great job that your children are about to have children of their own! Congratulations to you and your family during this exciting time.
Here at Healthversed, we value honesty. As such, with this particular article in mind, we value honesty over, well … your feelings. It’s great that you’re a grandparent, and we’re genuinely excited to help you along your new journey, but when it comes to making the ground rules, we aren’t about to hold back.
Today on Healthversed, we take aim at the incredibly common “overbearing grandma” archetype in an attempt to steer you clear of a similar fate. We’ll take a look at a few family faux-pas and teach you how to navigate this strange new world.
Do: Know your boundaries
The role of a grandparent is much different than the role of a parent or guardian. Fight your urge to take control and learn to enjoy life on the sidelines. It’s just as fun and much, much cleaner. It may be a difficult adjustment, but you owe it to your kid to respect their wishes, decisions, and role in the family.
Don’t: Offer unsolicited advice
You’ve already been through the parenting life-cycle. You’ve changed the diapers, you’ve kissed the boo-boos, you’ve done it all, and we’re proud of you. And no, we’re not here to question your intentions either. But there is a fine line that separates “motherly advice” and “obnoxious nitpicking.” Around these parts, we like to refer to that fine line as unsolicited advice.
If they didn’t ask for help, don’t offer it. If they didn’t ask for advice, don’t offer it. If they didn’t ask for your “better way,” don’t offer it. This basic rule of thumb often separates a supportive grandma from an overbearing one. Your tongue may get sore from all of the biting, but repairing a tongue is much easier than repairing a relationship.
Do: Give unconditional support
Unconditional support can mean a lot to a lot of people. In this particular case, unconditional support means casting your ego aside and supporting your children unconditionally. If they make a “wrong” decision, support them. And most importantly, if their idea of great parenting clashes with your idea of great parenting, support them!
Remember, it’s their turn to change diapers, sleep less, and drive to hockey practice. You’ve already done all of that. Your job is to contribute, when asked, to the growth of your family’s next generation. Be unwavering in your support and generous with your time. It’ll go a long way.