It is 16 years since my first grandchild was born and in the intervening years a further seven have come along, each a precious jewel in their own right. However, over the years I have learned several lessons about the grandma/grandchild relationship of which one can have no knowledge until it is personally experienced. (I must admit over the last 16 years to offering up a small prayer of apology to my own late parents whose behaviour I thought was quite mad when my children were young).
It seems to me that common sense flies out of the window where one’s grandchildren are concerned, you hear yourself saying things like, “Oh no that isn’t being naughty, she/he is far too gorgeous for that” or some such other drivel. Of course they are being naughty but thankfully you don’t have to be the one to either see it or say it, they have their own parents for what has become a dirty word in grandmotherhood, DISCIPLINE!! You can just be around for the adoration.
But, on a more serious note what I have learned over the years is that the best thing one can do as a grandmother is be supportive to the parents of your precious, perfect grandchildren. Don’t try to outparent them, that can only create an atmosphere between you and your child and your child and their children. It is important that the little one respect their parents at all times and so the last thing you need to do is to let them hear you criticising their mummy or their daddy. Whether your daughter and son-in-law or your son and daughter-in-law, as far as the children are concerned, mummy and daddy are always right.
It is to be hoped that the same applies in the case of step-parents (as in my case). I am very lucky that I have an exceptionally good relationship with my stepdaughter (at least I think so!) and that she is a very good mother to her three absolutely delightful children. As far as I am concerned they are completely my grandchildren as are those of my birth children and therefore totally without sin in my eyes.
Grandparenthood is wonderful not just because you can give the children back (which is certainly not an original thought) but because you can have the pleasure of watching new little people following in the footsteps of your own previously little people and I for one find that most gratifying. It is a lovely experience and I look forward to watching my own particular special little people grow and develop over the years with the guidance of their parents and the adoration of their grandparents.
In your opinion, how involved should a grandparent be in their grandchildren’s lives?
A special thank you to June for sharing both her thoughts on grandparenthood and the photo of her with some of her grandchildren