If You Want To Be Close To Your Grandchildren, Do This

May 20th, 2024

If you want to be close to your grandchild, prioritize the relationship with your adult child and their partner or co-parent.

If you want to be close to your grandchildren

Here are some ways to prioritize and protect that relationship:

Listen To Them

Listening to your adult child and their partner or co-parent goes a long way. When you listen and seek understanding, you show them that you care about them and want to be a valuable member of their village. Listening includes asking questions to fully understand, repeating what was said to ensure you understand, and listening more than speaking. When your grandchild’s parents feel that you care about what they have to say and that you fully understand, they are more likely to trust you with their children.

Take Accountability For Past Hurts

If you have harmed (intentionally or unintentionally) your child in the past, they will want to know that you understand that pain and have changed your behavior. Without that acknowledgment, they may be fearful that you will continue the harmful behavior with their child. This may, understandably, make your child hesitant to allow their child to spend time with you. An apology goes a long way with your adult child and will demonstrate that you are trying to create new patterns with your grandchild.

Try To Get To Know Them As People, Not Just Parents Of Your Grandchildren

Your child does not stop being your child when they give you a grandchild. It’s important to still show interest in their lives and to attempt to get to know them as they grow and change. Try to maintain a relationship with the other parts of your child, not just the part that has made you a grandparent.

Greet Them And Treat Them Like A Person (Not An Incubator)

Grandchildren are cute and exciting. It’s easy to forget to greet your adult child and rush in to hug the young children. Many adult children feel that their parents see them as vessels sent to give them grandchildren. This doesn’t feel good and can make the adult child feel like they are no longer important in your life. Their only role is to provide you with a grandchild and to get out of the way. Remember, your adult child is always your child, and they are the reason you have this new grandchild in your life. Showing them love will always help you build a stronger relationship with their child.

Respect Their Choices And Boundaries

Parenting practices change, and your adult child’s boundaries may seem outrageous, but chances are they are there for a reason. Try to understand their rules about safe sleep and feeding their child, even if they differ from what you did with your child.

Celebrate Your Role As Grandparent (You’re No Longer The Parent)

You are the grandparent now, not the parent. This means that your role is completely different. You are not the main authority over the child and do not get to make all the decisions. Try to transition into the role of trusted advisor instead of undisputed authority.

Admit When You’ve Messed Up

You will mess up in your role as a grandparent; everyone does. You may overstep a boundary or violate a rule, which is okay. What matters is how you repair that mistake and what you do next. Practice admitting when you’ve messed up, taking accountability, and changing your behavior.

Offer Advice Only When Necessary Or Asked For

If your grandchild is in emotional or physical danger and you believe they are being abused or neglected, by all means, speak up. But if you have a different opinion or want them to wear different clothing, for example, learn to bite your tongue. Your adult child and their parent will come to you when they need you, and offering unsolicited advice tends to push them away.