I have different relationships with different grandkids… Do you? 61



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I’m a grandmother to 9 kids. They are all beautiful, happy souls but they are all so different. Naturally, my relationship has differed with each one, but after an incident last week I’ve realised that it isn’t necessarily a good thing.

I have four granddaughters. The first granddaughter has always been cheeky but she’s always put a smile on my face. She has grown up just two suburbs over from where we lived and while we babysat her and have been very present throughout her life, we’ve never lived in each others pockets. We catch up sometimes more than once a week and sometimes it will only be once a month depending on how our lives are travelling but when we do catch up it is full of love and happiness.

Her mother, my daughter, never depended on my for babysitting. I freely gave many hours to her and I did babysit, but it was never a permanent fixture or arrangement that became embedded in my diary except for the rare occasion when her mother was working in intensive two week blocks just a couple of times a year. It’s been a lovely relationship that I treasure – everything I imagined grandparenting would be!

But last week, the second youngest and I got into an argument. It was a serious argument about a serious thing – her schoolwork. Her marks had fallen drastically in the last year, she had given up violin, she self-proclaimed that she “doesn’t care” about school but she couldn’t give us any reason or any alternative. It was a relatively new thing, this attitude shift and it was worrying me sick that she was going to throw away her private education. She had been arguing increasingly with her mother doing things like leaving the house late and night, getting into cars with “friends” her parents had never met and going about things on her own agenda. All of this while she was just 16.

Now while I was trying to talk to her – at her mother’s request, I realised something. Because I was her after school pick up, extra curricular activity driver and dinner maker at least twice a week every week, my relationship with her had transformed. I was no longer the “grandma” who you went to for advice, to escape the parents, for cuddles and happy times. I had become an authoritative figure in her life because of this involvement and she was rebelling.

While working is important, my daughter has not had a serious “need” to work, financially, as her husband has been extremely hard working and has got the family to a more than comfortable position. It is out of her own choice to work that she has, and I’ve been assumed as the natural option when it comes to help.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy to help out. I love having involvement in the lives of my grandkids but most importantly, I’ve loved being a confidante to them all. I’ve loved knowing that they trust and respect me enough to come to me with any problem. But I’ve lost the opportunity to build that kind of relationship with my second eldest granddaughter because of this.

Being “there” for my grandkids has been a blessing and now I realise, somewhat of a curse. I’ve always known and understood that I needed to have different relationships with each of my grandkids but I never expected the difference to be quite like this.

I want to know, have your circumstances and relationships changed with each grandchild from each different family? Share your stories about grandparenting with us today… 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I don’t think it’s the sort of relationship you have had with your granddaughter, or the fact that she works. I think it is what it is. This happens in today’s society with many many children, regardless. You just have to keep doing what you’ve been doing, be there for them and pray that it all works out. Don’t beat yourself up over it. She knows what she is doing is causing distress. Good luck.

  2. I’ve been very conscious of this very thing. I have a lot of babysitting and involvement with my grandkids, and while they are still very young that makes me the authority figure at times. I have always hoped as they got older that I would be aware enough to stop “mothering” them and be a grandmother to them. Your story will make me even more mindful of that. They have mothers, they don’t need another one and I don’t want to mother them anyway. I love being nana.

  3. I live on the same property of two of mine so I see them 24/7. The relationship is always changing as they mature. I learnt very early not to be the mother but stand well clear when all is turning to custard. Works out far better than becoming a grumpy gran. No kid needs two mums.

    5 REPLY
    • Can totally agree. We have the eldest daughter and the eldest grandson on our property. We can only guide. Not NAG.

    • I have also found that their other grandmother who lives elsewhere can demand of them and they will reluctantly cooperate but with me in full time residence it is a totally different story.
      I also don’t want them to live with the memory of … our Grammy lived with us and boy she was annoying….
      Slowly slowly catchee monkey.

  4. I never had grandparents I knew so the role of Nanni is a cherished and unmapped one for me. I have 12 grandkids aged 12 and under, from 3 families. I have 3 sons and they and their families and they all live close by. My biggest suprise in all this is that every relationship with every grandie is different and always evolving. I am closer to some more than others, bonding and time spent makes a huge difference. But I let their parents be the parents and the grandies just know I am always there if needed. It astounds me how much love I have for these kids. I’m just Nanni, always there in the background. A security blanket of sorts. What a privilege. We have a long way to go I know but being Nanni is my best role yet (after being a mum). I don’t know the rules really but so far so good. :-))

    2 REPLY
    • From where I sit watching your doing one hell of a job Those grandies of yours a pretty luck and they Love you so ❤️

  5. Just like life , relationships with your children and grandchildren constantly changes. We are constantly changing.

  6. This granddaughter is the second child in this household. Studies have shown that second born children are rebellious in most families. It probably hasn’t anything to do with you being the authority figure. She will sort herself out in the long run. Just be there if she needs you.

    1 REPLY
    • I made this same mistake……. My thoughts are leave them alone wait for them to contact you… They either don’t and move onto someone else or they come back to take again…. Hard either way. But no more offering…

  7. Life is always like this . It has it’s highs and has it’s lows. As a grandparent, as it was and still is as a parent , you have a relationship that on a day to day basis changes . Each human being goes through life riding a roller coaster !!! As a grandparent you ride it with them . You just have to be there for them. Love them so that they know you love them even though perhaps they feel that they are unlovable at a specific time . I am grateful to have. 3 completely different characters that are my grandchildren . We have ups and downs but I just say that’s life !!!! Good luck and lots of love .

  8. I’m waiting to see how things pan out as my little grandbabies grow. They are 18mths, 6mths & 3mths. It’s been a very busy & exciting 18mths!

    1 REPLY
    • You’ll find that for the first seven years they’ll be happy to do everything you ask Karen and quickly. After that they start reasoning .. Can we do it after lunch? Maybe I could do it tomorrow. .. Or as my nearly 12 year old grandson often asks .. Now what’s the point of that?
      Makes for interesting conversations at times. But I have found that if left alone to think about it cooperation happens … Eventually …

  9. I am grandma to 5 beautiful grandkids. I lived close to number 1 and 2, my daughters children, and have a great relationship with them both. I have now moved 2 hours away and see less of them but the relationship remains good as they visit and stay a couple of times a year. The 3 younger grandies have not stayed without their parents and as they are my sons children their wives turn to their own mum when a grandma is needed.
    My 3 children are all different and so is the relationship between each of them and me so it is understandable that grandchildren are also all different and your the relationship with each of them will also be different. Love them all equally but are closer to some more then others.

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