The do’s and don’ts for new grandparents 32



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Few things in this world are as wonderful as becoming a grandparent. However, it can be very difficult to know exactly where the boundaries lie, and what you should and shouldn’t offer.

Here are some helpful tips on how to adjust to this exciting new role. Are you a new grandparent? Stop by our comments section below, and tell us: what advice has helped you the most?

Hold off on life-altering lifestyle changes
Many soon-to-be grandparents will want to move closer to family; some will even quit their jobs to become more available. However, until the child is born, the parents might not have a clear idea of what help they need or want. Hold back until you have a clearer picture. 

Resolve any tensions you can
While this is the most complicated and difficult step for a new grandparent, it can also be the most important. If there are any family politics, conflicts or even simple misgivings within the family, now is the time – if at all possible – to resolve them.

A child will make current family arrangements decidedly more permanent. If you have reservations about your child’s partner, now is the time to set them aside. If you are separated from your child’s parent, do what you can to make communication easier. Like it or not, you will be seeing a lot of these people; make it as easy as you can.

Accept that you might hate the name
Naming standards aren’t going downhill; they simply change and cycle over time – always have, always will. The Baby Name Wizard gives a solid reason for this:

“The names of your own generation sound too ordinary, your parents’ to boring, your grandparents’ too old. But by the time you make it back to your great-grandparents’ names, things start to perk up. (Your child has) never known a young Vivian or Julius, so those names sound fresh”.

You and your child are simply on different points in this cycle. But if it’s any consolation, they probably won’t be keen on your great-grandchildren’s names either.

Support the parents’ decisions
No decision to a new parent is going to come lightly. They may be subtly different to what you would have chosen. They may be – just between us – absolutely atrocious. But it’s vital to take a supportive role, helping them make the most of their decisions.

Like every parent, they’ll need to learn for themselves and make their own mistakes. To be told point-blank that they’re wrong is a tension they simply won’t have any room accept or process.

Remember that you’ll have plenty of chances to build up a meaningful relationship with your grandchild. The better you can support the parents today, the your position to be a part of their lives tomorrow.

Be prepared to share
One of the strangest ideas to adjust to is the idea that you’re “sharing” a grandchild; that there may be other grandparents equally keen – and equally titled – to see this new generation grow up and carry on their legacy.

This is a great opportunity to connect with the other grandparents, coordinating visits, gifts and support to ensure the parents aren’t overwhelmed.

Balance support against trust
Sometimes visiting too often can send the wrong message –even subconsciously – that they can’t raise a child for themselves. Communicate openly with your child to ensure you aren’t overstepping your bounds.

Be a safety net for the parents; those who can step in to help when they aren’t feeling in control.

Keep a close eye on the mother’s health
As a grandparent, you could be in an ideal position to spot what those in the thick of it might not identify. Learn the signs of post-natal depression and keep a close eye on both parents, should anything go beyond the standard “baby blues”.

Are you new grandparent (or expecting to become one)? What advice would you offer?

Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. Never question or critise the parents. It their kid and they will have their own ideas how they want it brought up. Keep you big mouth shut and just smile. Let them work it for themselves, even tho you have the answers been there and done that expertise. Being a nanna is not easy good luck

  2. Remember you are the Grandparents now!! Your son or daughter are the parents of the new baby! The baby is the baby now! not your child.

  3. Love ’em, cuddle “em, feed ’em good stuff and let the parents sort it out. If you are asked directly for advice, always preface it with “This worked for me …….”

  4. Too much pressure on grandparents these days and keeping it even.just be natural and be yourself they will love u for who you are.

  5. What you can say to your daughter you can’t automatically say the same thing to your daughter in law. It’s interpreted differently

    1 REPLY
    • Same Jan. I took my daughter in law in when she and my son were both 16 and pregnant. I let them live with me rent free for 5 yrs and tried very hard never to interfere. But nothing I ever did was OK so now they have their own home and their children have grown and my son hasn’t spoken to me for 5 yrs I think he got the ultimatum her or his Mum. Well I just want them to have a happy Marraige and if she thinks that involves me not being in their lives then that’s how it has to be. I’m very close to my 2 daughters though and have to be content with that I see my 8 grandchildren a lot and I love that. I was at every birth except my sons last child who is 16 now. And the littlest one from my daughter is only 3 months old. So they range from 21 to 3 months. I can disagree with things my daughters do in child rearing and can voice my opinion( nicely) and they will at least listen and then do what they feel is right and its totally up to them I’ve had my shot. But I have to say 99% of the time they see my point. I think the old saying in my case is true. A daughter is your daughter all of her life. A son is your son until he takes a wife .

  6. I wish I could agree about ‘sharing with other grandparents’ I have three boys two married with children, I’ve had very little to do with their children, the boys work long hours frequently at the weekends,daughter-in-laws take the children to their mothers. After the last baby was born with both these women I knew the only reason I’d get to see them was for presents on birthdays and Christmas, and of course for a lend of money often when they were young, not now. My own daughter has always kept me close and her children. All is not lost those grandchildren do,keep in touch we me, and imam a great grandma.

    5 REPLY
    • Thanks Maureen Ovington-Hackett, I’m satisfied with life completely. What I missed out on once I’m now getting with great grandies. I’ve also got a niece-in-law and nephew with five children and another little one on the way who are very dear to me and I’m showered with love from them. I must congratulate you and your wonderful family, it’s so nice to hear a really loving story, live a long and healthy happy life for many years to come.

    • Thanks Rach Clair Morrison, the grand children are back now as adults and with their children. I’m respectful to their mothers, but that’s as far as I’m comfortable with.

    • As the saying goes your daughter is your daughter all of your life your sons only yours till he takes a wife

  7. Respect the parents and their choices, after all the baby is theirs. Then enjoy whatever time you have with the child/ren and for sure they’ll be clamouring to come back for another visit. Grandparenting should be fun and a nice break for the parents rather than have them worry their wishes aren’t being respected. Of course, there can be unrealistic expectations on both sides but if you try and work together, then hopefully it will work out well for all of you.

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