Grandparenting today is very different from what it was back in… our parents’ days!
Nowadays Grandparents are often more physically fit due to better health. They are often still working and have a different outlook on relating to children.
Gone are the days of children being “seen but not heard”.
Today’s Grandfathers are often able to spend more time with their Grandchildren than they were able to spend with their own children.
Grandparenting is a new chapter of life for Grandparents and should be filled with joy and love and loads of fun.
What Grandparents offer children:
- Fun and an opportunity to communicate with a caring adult who isn’t a parent.
- Family history. Children gain a sense of belonging when they hear stories about the past and where they came from. Such stories keep family history alive for generations to come.
- Actively participating Grandparents enhance family network working. This means children’s families keep in contact with each other.
- Old family traditions can be passed down (Christmas celebrations, birthdays, holidays).
- Grandparents can offer children security and protection during hard times.
- A child’s self-esteem can be enhanced by Grandparents who show a special interest in the child’s life.
Expectations of Grandparents:
Discuss what you would like to do as Grandparents and talk about it with your children. Honest and open discussions keep lines of communication open between parents and Grandparents and help ensure everyone’s concerns and needs are met.
Things to discuss:
- How often will you visit?
- When is the best time to ring and which times should be avoided (eg. Child’s dinner time)
- Babysitting? (Say “No” if it is too much for you, or you need time to yourself.)
Listen very carefully to your children’s views on child rearing and follow their lead even though they may not do things the way you would. We live in a different society now and child rearing methods have changed… Each generation learns from each other.
Advice for new Grandparents:
As you know, the birth of your Grandchild marks a very important time in the lives of everyone concerned, particularly your children.
- Tune in and take the cues!Remember that your children need space to get to know your Grandchild and to make the mental transition to parenthood.Avoid just arriving on the doorstep! (Each family is different, however, and what one family considers ‘overstepping the mark’, another may consider normal.)
- One of the most useful things you can do is to free the way for the new parents to get to know their baby. Do the dishes, cook a meal, or just ask what practical chore needs doing.
- Encourage and support them. Let them know how proud you are of them. Praise them when you see them doing thing well.
- When the baby is unsettled, ask if you can mind her while they have a break together.
- Remember how you felt at this time in your life.
- Supporting your children to breastfeed is vital to their success. Bring yourself up-to-date with modern breastfeeding practices. Ring the Australian Breastfeeding Association 93401200 and order a copy of “Especially for Grandparents” cost $4.00
- Remember everyone is different and each family is different. Ask their advice, offer yours when it is asked for but don’t expect them to necessarily take it.
Some Practical Ideas:
- Childproof your house… move poisons, china, and precious treasure.
- Put together a toy box and change the toys from time to time.
- Visit your local library, stock up with books and read your Grandchildren lots of stories.
- Read a few modern books on child rearing so you’re up to date.
- Be a good listener. Talk to your Grandchildren about their feelings and interests.
- Show you are interested to go to their sports events, concerts and other activities.
- Adolescents often benefit from input from Grandparents. Hairstyles, musical
taste and language are not barriers they are expressions of individuality.