5 Considerations To Keep In Mind When You Become a Grandparent 

You’re about to enter a whole new world. Your (not-so-little) baby has announced they are having a baby of their own.

You’re about to become a grandparent. Regardless of your emotions, it’s likely going to be a life-changing experience for you! Here’s how to support your child, embrace the change, and make the most of this new adventure.

Respect Your Child’s Parenting Choices

Respect starts from the moment you find out you are becoming a grandparent. Many times, the process of demonstrating respect for parenting begins during pregnancy before the sweet child has entered this world.

Respect means embracing that your child knows what’s best for their child. In other words, don’t assert your opinion unless someone specifically asks you for it. Don’t comment or judge or assume you know the correct answer.

Keep in mind that you won’t agree with everything your child does. Parenting, of course, evolves with every generation. Furthermore, all parents have their own sets of values and beliefs. Therefore, you consistently giving unwanted advice will likely cause tension within the relationship.

Set Reasonable Expectations to Help

Every grandparent dynamic looks different. Today, more than 10% of children live in the same home as their grandparents. Others see their grandparents once or twice a year. Remember that there are no right-or-wrong answers, but it’s helpful to collaborate to find reasonable solutions.

First, consider asking your child how you can most support them. For instance, they may want help preparing the nursery or assistance after delivery. They might need occasional date-night babysitting.

Keep in mind that needs will change over time. Try to stay flexible without pressuring your child to act in a certain way. When you do help, ask for feedback. Doing so conveys that you want to respect your child’s boundaries and honor their needs.

Avoid Guilting

Parenting is hard work- you know that! And, unfortunately, most parents feel burdened by guilt coming at them from numerous angles.

As much as possible, try to avoid falling into that toxic trap. For example, even if you want to see your grandchild more often, don’t make passive-aggressive comments. Instead, consider being assertive by letting your child know you’d love to come around more and ask if you can do anything to make that easier on them.

Remember that you still might not receive the answers you want. While that reality can be painful, it’s not your job to try to change your child’s boundaries or feelings. All you can do is remain supportive, consistent, and open.

Don’t Compete

It’s normal to feel somewhat jealous, angry, or worried about how other family members will connect with your grandchild. Similarly, you may feel the pressure to be the “best grandparent,” especially if other grandparents or relatives live close by.

However, perceptions of competition often breed resentment, and they can place your child (and grandchild) in the awkward position of picking sides. In addition, your competitiveness may result in you unhealthily spoiling young kids- which doesn’t benefit anyone.

Remember that nobody can take away the love or identity you have as a grandparent. Focus on cultivating your role rather than being “the favorite.”

Finally, avoid any badmouthing or undermining. These actions can be harmful, and they only make you look insecure.

It goes without saying that children cannot be loved enough. However, there is no need to hoard love- the more you embrace people who care deeply about your grandchild, the happier you will feel.

Make the Most of Your Time

There is no doubt that grandparents have extraordinary roles within the family dynamic. They provide infinite wisdom, joy, and nurturing for young children.

If you have fond nostalgia for your own grandparents, spend some time reflecting on what made your time together so special. Perhaps you can extract from those experiences to cultivate some of your own. Even if you can’t afford lavish vacations or gifts, you being engaged and attentive will create lifelong memories.

Get to know your grandchild’s preferences, and make sure that you take them seriously. For example, if they like art, devote the afternoon to doing a craft project together. Or, if they enjoy the outdoors, consider planning a family hike or beach day.

Special rituals can also be helpful. Young children often pair people to certain activities- the more you can maintain that level of consistency, the more they will look forward to spending time together!

How Therapy Can Help When You Become a Grandparent

Family dynamics are often challenging, and changes in relationships can create more problems. Your child is in a new role and in a relatively vulnerable place right now. If you feel resentful, underappreciated, or disrespected during this time, it’s important to avoid projecting those emotions onto the rest of your family.

Therapy offers a safe environment for exploring how you feel. You can learn healthier ways to communicate with your child and show support for their growing family. Contact me today to get started.

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Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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