Grandparenting: How to manage conflicting opinions
Now that you’re a grandparent, you might be eager to pass on to all of the tips and tricks you learned when raising your own children. But your hard-earned advice might not always be welcomed with open arms. Things do change after all, including parenting tactics.
For example, while you might have fed your baby formula, your daughter-in-law might plan to breast-feed. Or perhaps you stayed home to take care of your children, while your child and his or her partner both plan to continue working. As your grandchild gets older, you and your grandchild’s parents may also have different opinions about the toys your grandchild should play with — wood or plastic? — or the amount of television he or she should be allowed to watch. This can be tricky territory.
If your parenting styles differ, it might not always be easy to keep your opinions to yourself. But keep in mind that what every new parent can really use is support or help around the house, not unsolicited advice. Try to remember what it was like making the transition to being a parent. Help your adult child grow in confidence and praise his or her initiatives. Let the new family know that they have your love and support.
Your grandchild’s parents will ultimately have the final say over how their child is raised and the rules in their house. But if you baby-sit your grandchild, gently let the parents know that the rules might be a little different at your house. These small differences may even help your grandchild learn to be more flexible.
To avoid unnecessary misunderstandings or resentment, be clear about what kind of a grandparent you want to be. Some grandparents are playful and enjoy engaging their grandchildren in activities. Others have busy schedules or are limited in terms of their abilities or how often they can get together. And still others want to be a part of their grandchildren’s daily lives, helping with childcare. Having a grandchild is truly exciting but be sure to keep in mind your own preferences, needs and limitations.