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Editorial: Mistakes Grandparents Make

  • No one is perfect, so  grandparents will always make mistakes in dealing with grandchildren and their parents.   Such errors  offer an opportunity for growth and learning. They must be acknowledged, discussed, and learned from. So doing  sets a great example for all family members.
  • Becoming a grandparent involves a great deal of personal growth.
  • Grandparenting involves a direct relationship with a grandchild and a supportive role with parents.
  • Grandchildren are a gift from parent to grandparent

 Mistakes Grandparents Make Within Themselves:

  • A common mistake is not  understanding; that becoming a grandparent makes one a new person; that having a grandchild transforms a new grandparent in terms of identity, roles and relationships.
  • Another is not recognizing that changes take place within the grandparent’s psyche and with their relationship to the new parent, especially their own child. Remedy; prepare for grandparenthood by self-examination and family discussion. Discuss the new, three-generational family with new parents.what being a grandparent is all about; what parents and grandchildren need. Remedy; review one’s experience as a grandchild, experiencing one’s own parents as grandparents, assess social attitudes toward grandparenting.that grandparenting requires growth and learning.
  • Not understanding that changes in personality and attitude are necessary to be an effective grandparent. Remedy; humility and self-examination, asking family members to comment on behaviors, identify what attitudes and traits need to be worked on.

Mistakes Grandparents Make With A Grandchild’s Parents

  • Not realizing that parents are the linchpins of grandparent’s relationship with grandchildren: Remedy; keep on good terms with children and especially in-laws.
  • Not listening to parents and respecting their right to make their own mistakes and learn from them.
  • Not understanding the insecurities of new parents and being controlling, bossy, critical, judgmental, non-supportive: Remedy; work on being kind, understanding, compassionate, non-judgmental, supportive, loving and caring.
  • Not communicating openly with new parents. Not offering leadership concerning the family as a “team,” and setting a positive example. Remedy; be the communication center of your family. Hold regular family meetings to assess family members’ needs and develop coping strategies. Show children and grandchildren how to be excellent grandparents.
  • Not being personally in balance as far as priorities are concerned, thus not being available when needed: Remedy; realign personal priorities– roles as individual, worker, parent, grandparent, child, spouse etc. — to include time for grandparenting.
  • Not putting oneself in parents’ shoes to understand their experience. Remedy; spend time alone with all family members and share their world; visit their worksite, organizations and activities that interest them, know their friends, etc.

 Mistakes Grandparents Make With Grandchildren

  • Staying a parent and not becoming a grandparent; Remedy; understand the difference between what parents and grandparent do.
  • Not understanding their importance to their grandchildren; Remedy; respecting and understanding the importance of how grandchildren view their grandparents.
  • Not spending one-to-one time alone with grandchildren; not giving a grandchild personal attention, especially when parents or others are around. Remedy; understanding the strong need grandchildren have to absorb their grandparent’s essence and legacy, and planning time to allow this to happen.
  • Worrying about entertaining their grandchildren. Remedy: understanding the concept of “unconditional love.” Learning to be relaxed with grandchildren and understanding that this is a spontaneous, relaxed, “being” relationship.
  • Not sharing the grandchild’s world; Remedy; attend the grandchild’s school, visit the doctor, take the child to events and places, know his/her friends, learn new technology.
  • Not keeping in constant contact with grandchildren, not understanding that children live in the now and that they grow and change every day. Remedy; keep up-to-date. Use whatever is available to keep in constant touch with the grandchild, phone, fax, E-Mail. Send pictures, videos, and voice tapes. Schedule one-to-one get-togethers as much as possible.

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  1. Cheryl Forbes November 30th, 2013

    How supportive can you be when a newly pregnant daughter in law wants her privacy and does not want to be asked questions. This gal suffers from a mother who abandoned her.

    Reply
    • FGP December 1st, 2013

      If her mother abandoned her, does that give you a chance to step in make a place in her heart for you?

      Reply
  2. Christine Denisco April 15th, 2016

    I personally don’t like anyone so involved in my child’s life or my life for that matter. I’m struggling to understand why grandparents can’t just be satisfied with whatever is most comfortable to the parents? Why be so pushy to have the level of contact YOU want? Why not ask the parents how much involvement they are wanting from the grandparents? My daughter is 6 months old and my MIL (first time grandma by blood) is INCESSANT about spending time and money on my daughter. I love her very much, but it is strange to me that she is borderline obsessed with my baby. Her Facebook is filled with pictures of my daughter and in all the comments she call her “My baby”. Ummm that’s weird. She makes me take pictures of my daughter wearing the clothes she bought her, which I tell her we really don’t need (I literally have huge massive piles of clothes in every size until my girl is two years old!) Every time we travel to see her we barely get out of the CAR and she is already literally grabbing my baby from my arms without asking, without saying hello to me, and then recently she started running (literally) inside and bringing my baby into a back room and shutting the door. What??! I asked her why she was doing that and she just brushed it off saying she had to get something in the room. I’m exclusively breastfeeding and every time my daughter would get hungry like start getting fussy and rooting and giving early cues I would say, okay she is hungry now, and my mother in law would literally ignore me like I hadn’t even spoken and start playing with her exaggeratedly and do everything to distract her. This results in a baby who goes from fussy to screaming in hunger because she is putting her needs to play with the child over the child’s need to eat. To make matters worse, even after my baby start crying hysterically, my MIL thinks she can pick her up and sing a song and she will stop crying. I gently remind her that she is hungry now and I need to feed her and she won’t hand over my baby. I literally have to say over and over again “She’s hungry! She’s hungry!” It’s ridiculous. We usually stay a couple nights ( they are a twelve hr drive) and every night she insists on keeping my baby up past bedtime and planting her in front of the TV. She is aware of the bedtime and also aware that we are a no TV family and baby is not to watch. We do not own one and believe it is a waste of time and precious moments for connecting and learning. It also has been proven to lead to behavior disorders, not to mention the insane amount of targeted advertising I’m very uncomfortable with. The AAP recommends ZERO TV for a child under 2 yrs and then very limited if any. My daughter is 6 months old!! And propped up on my MIL’s knee right in front of the TV. Seriously?! Then, every morning she comes into the guest room while we are still sleeping, turns on the lights and starts calling my daughters name. She wakes up obviously and normally her routine is to nurse herself awake, which means she eats right before waking up. This meal is important as it sets up if we’re going to have a good day or a fussy day. My MIL disregards when I say I need to feed her and tells my I need to stay in bed with my husband and she can watch her in the living room for a while. The first couple times I agreed to this but I won’t again. The first time she took her out and gave her powder formula (which was from when her dogs had puppies recently and she was feeding the runt). She didn’t tell me she did it, and after a while I was wondering why she wasn’t crying to be nursed since she missed her morning meal. I went out into the living room and asked for my baby saying she was surely getting hungry as it had been a few hours. As soon as I picked her up, she threw up a ton of yellowish liquid. She had NEVER thrown up before, and since it had been hours since she last ate, I was almost certain she had given her formula. I said, OmG I’ve never seen her throw up like that EVER?! I wonder if she’s okay? And my mother in law was very dismissive and said, oh she’s fine I’ll just clean it up. She later went to run errands and I looked around and found the formula all the way in the very back of a top cabinet that had nothing else in it and was obviously trying to be hidden away. She knows I would never ever give my baby formula unless it was a life or death situation, but still she chose to do it because she wanted to spend more alone time with my baby before she started to cry for nursing. Again putting her needs above the child’s. She doesnt ever ask me if anything is okay with me before she does it. Why is that so hard? One time she put a raspberry yogurt covered pretzel in her mouth when she was only 4 1/2 months old, right in front of me! I politely said, we are just breastfeeding for at least the first six months and then only whole, simple veggies to start. She said oh it’s just a little yogurt but okay okay. I told her to read the ingredients and that it was not just yogurt but a host of processed and refined sugars, chemicals, and preservatives. My MIL wolfs down her meal and grabs the baby from me during ever meal, even when my daughter is perfectly happy to sit on my lap while I eat, which I love. She just acts like I’m just the milk machine and every other waking second she is taking her from me. Can someone please tell me why she is doing these things? I want them to have a relationship, but I need to be respected as my child’s mother. I don’t need my husbands mom living out her fantasy of having a daughter of her own by playing mommy to my little baby!

    Reply
  3. Kathy talcott October 10th, 2016

    I’m a grandma. I used to keep my prescriptions in kitchen cupboard. I dropped a pill and because my daughter was coming in and other guests, I was unable to find that pill that seemed to just disappear. I was going to sweep but never got the time. My other daughter found the pill and told her sister ( who has kids) that she found pill on floor. I have since then placed all pills in bedroom armoire,quite high up. A couple years later my grandkids were visiting unexpectedly. My routine when babysitting was to search the house for anything harmful,childproof the cabinents and close all doors. I wasn’t able to do this that day because of the unexpectedness of visit. I can’t remember why or when I left a bottle of homeopathic pills out. My daughter was sitting nearest to the bottle along with her two older chilren(about 6 and4) I was in kitchen making us all lunch. When I got the chance to sit down I noticed the kids were under a fort blanket and the pills spilt out on the floor. Mom rushed youngest to ER. Was told by Dr. that she couldn’t have been harmed by pills because they were homeopathic and nothing was needed to bee done . Then awhile later(either that year or later) her son went into bedroom and in my nightstand were 3 of the same homeopathic pills that I had dropped some time ago. Again my routine to safeguard was interrupted by Lacey dropping in and I was making lunch for 5) and I had not closed the bedroom door. Realized my mistake,ran to close door – we all got thre at same time. I was sick at heart and felt miserable. The next day daughter took grandson to Dr. Because he wasn’t feeling well- turns out he had a ear infection. Unbeknownst to my daughter, I showed up at Dr, with pills from home(3) in case she needed to show the Dr. I was crying the whole time in Dr. Office. My daughter said that Grady wasn’t sick due to ingestion but ear ache and told me she just couldn’t handle another pill problem I agreed and went home to seek out any other place pills could be. Nothing more was said and I still babysat ,while hyper aware of safety. Nothing happened again. But many months down the road my daughter told me she was too worried and the two youngest (whom I had been babysitting since) I was no longer allowed to babysit and could only be at my house with her there. Needless to say, my heart broke – my DAUGHTER NO LONGER TRUSTED ME. She went back to that Dr. Who had told her NOT to let me babysit the two youngest. So now a Dr,. Thinks I’m a negligent caregiver,my daughter distrust s me and I can’t seem to stop crying . My daughter doesn’t understand me being upset because,after all, the safety of her kids was the most important thing. And that I was selfish to be upset. I really wanted to talk to her about more safety measures like childproof all doors and sweep before she left,but refused to consider. What can i do . I can’t win back her trust- she won’t talk about it. I am willing to try anything,even going to a therapist.HELP

    Reply

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