As grandparents, you want your grandchildren to grow up in the most loving, healthy environment possible. You can play a significant role creating that environment by how you interact with your children who are now parents.
A few tips on making the best choices for the best environment:
Don’t tell your “kids” how to raise their children. Avoid judging their parenting style. If you disagree with their decisions (and there will be times you will), bite your tongue unless you are asked for advice. Your job is to be the grandparent, not the parent.
Respect their parenting efforts and look for reasons to complement them. Validating them builds not only their confidence but builds their relationship with you as well.
It’s important to realize that methods on raising children vary from one generation to the next. For example, discipline styles and methods (or lack thereof) often become a source of tension. Using a gentle approach in offering your input on this topic can avoid a defensive attitude and power struggle for “who knows best”.
Being a parent is hard work and most parents are a bit unsure of their parenting skills. (Remember?) What they need is encouragement. By being less critical, they become less defensive. By being more supportive, you create a strong, healthy relationship with your “kids” and a loving, healthy environment for your grandchildren.
Written by Lois Trost, M.S.W.