7 Things Parents Want to Say to Grandparents

Calm senior woman and teenage girl in casual clothes looking at each other and talking while eating cookies and cooking pastry in contemporary kitchen at home

Grandparents can play a crucial role in the lives of their grandchildren, providing love, support, and wisdom that can last a lifetime. However, sometimes there can be misunderstandings between parents and grandparents that can cause tension and conflict. Here are seven things that parents wish grandparents knew in order to help build stronger relationships and create positive experiences for everyone involved.

Respect Boundaries

One of the most important things that parents wish grandparents knew is the importance of respecting boundaries. While grandparents may have raised their own children, they need to understand that parenting styles and preferences can differ between generations. It’s essential for grandparents to listen to the wishes of the parents and respect their decisions, whether it’s about discipline, feeding, or other parenting matters.

Don’t Undermine Parental Authority

Even if they disagree with how the children are being raised, grandparents shouldn’t be working against the parents. Criticizing or questioning the decisions of the parents in front of the children can be hurtful and can damage the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. Instead, it’s better to offer support and encouragement and to politely ask questions out of curiosity rather than criticism.

Be Mindful of Technology Use

Technology is a part of our daily lives, but parents often have specific rules about the use of screens and devices for their children. Grandparents should respect these rules and not allow their grandchildren to spend excessive amounts of time on screens or use devices that their parents have not approved. Additionally, grandparents shouldn’t rely on technology to pacify or solely entertain the grandkids. This can help to create consistency and avoid conflict between the generations.

Respect the Parenting Style

Every parent has their own style of parenting, and it’s important for grandparents to respect these differences. Whether it’s about discipline, education, or other aspects of parenting, grandparents should avoid criticizing or imposing their own views on their children or grandchildren. Instead, they can offer support and guidance when asked, and be a positive role model for their grandchildren.

Be Present and Create Positive Memories

Grandparents have the opportunity to create positive memories that can last a lifetime – they participate. Whether it’s by spending quality time with their grandchildren, sharing stories and traditions, or simply showing affection and support, grandparents can play a significant role in their grandchildren’s lives but only if they’re making an effort. Parents will take note and appreciate that effort.

Communicate Effectively

Effective communication is key to building strong relationships between grandparents and their children and grandchildren. It’s important for grandparents to listen to the wishes of the parents, ask questions, and express their own feelings in a respectful and considerate manner. By communicating effectively, grandparents can avoid misunderstandings and conflicts, and create a positive and harmonious environment for their family.

It can be difficult for grandparents to find where the right balance of concern, assistance, advice, and presence when grandkids enter the parents, but being respectful, communicative, and aware of common pitfalls (no, don’t show the baby your iPad) can smooth out the dynamics in a growing family, keeping parents, grandparents, and grandchildren all content and appreciative of each other.

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