Every family has its own challenges — and sometimes, the difficulty comes when a grandchild does not have a perfect relationship with his/her grandparents. As a parent, it’s normal to want your children to have a good relationship with your own father and mother.
But being a grandparent is not everyone’s dream come true. On the other hand, kids sometimes have their own personal reasons for not being a fan of their grandparents. So what are the common reasons for these family conflicts?
Time issues can create frustration between grandparents and grandkids. Work schedules, or living their retirement dream, might dampen the enthusiasm for visits. Kids have busy calendars of their own, with extra-curricular activities and social expectations. Any of these issues can hinder a bonding relationship.
Online technologies like Skype help, but they can’t replace face-to-face bonding. The longer the gap between the visits, the harder it is to foster appreciation between generations. The best prevention is to visit your parents regularly and make them feel welcomed in your home as well — for your children’s sake.
Not Ready for the Title
Not everyone jumps with joy when it comes to grandparenting. Some are not ready yet to be called “Grandma” or “Grandpa.” Your kids may respond in kind to the emotional distance coming from their grandparents.
The best way to resolve this is to talk to your parents and gently confront them, if you feel they are disinterested in a relationship with your children. Ask questions, versus making accusations, in case you are off-base in your assumptions.
If your parents truly are struggling with this stage in their lives, listen to them with open ears, imagining how you might feel if the roles were reversed. In a compassionate tone, ask if there is any way you can help them accept the situation — out of love for your children. Understanding is often a great launch into a renewed relationship.
One reason your child may not be a fan of their grandparents, could result from your parents’ disciplinary beliefs, if they differ from your own. Your parents may not be happy with the way you discipline your kids — though they may or may not be very vocal about it.
Children often feel intimidated when grandparents reprimand them about how they act or how they carry themselves in front of other people. If this has happened in your family, you may need to have a frank conversation with your parents.
Talk to them respectfully yet firmly, reminding them that not all parenting methods are the same. Help them understand that you are the parent now, and though you appreciate their intentions, you need them to support you, not take over. If they are not happy with your children’s actions, tell them to inform you, so you can correct, or discuss the best way for them to approach their grandchildren.
Repairing a challenged relationship between your kids and your parents is important, but won’t happen magically. Guide everyone to approach the situation with love and compassion, seeking to understand as well as to be understood, then give both parties time to create a lasting bond.