We love our grandkids to bits. And there’s no way we want them to be at odds with each other. But when they kick up a fuss, and maybe even a long-term feud, we need a strategy to get them back on track.
It was a hot summer’s day and a bunch of my grands were running around the backyard. I didn’t hear the telltale squeal that signaled trouble, yet as I served lunch, there were some sullen faces. When I inquired, I couldn’t get a straight answer and it was clear that some grudges were going to be held. And still are.
When our grandkids are toddlers or preschoolers, we can physically get between them to negotiate a settlement. Usually, after a cooling off period, everyone’s happy again. But as they get older, it’s not so easy. I found that some of my grandsons were envious of one another or downright disliked each other. They were exclusive, condescending and mean-spirited.
Here’s what I did:
- Continued to treat them all the same in all situations.
- Refused to let them break off into spiteful groups.
- Called them all to the table together– as usual.
- Explained my desires for love, care, and equality.
- Put them on the spot to air their grievances.
And what did they do? Most of them relented. And for those who didn’t, I see that they have problematic relationships in other areas as well. So I dismissed their behavior as something that would not change. However, I also would not change. At my house, it would go my way.
The Older the Grandkids, the Nastier the Conflicts
When my kids and grandkids get to a certain age and stage, I back off and do my own thing. As grandparents, we may wish the world for our families but we must consider our own health and wellbeing first.
Try this when your older grands refuse to love and respect other members of their family:
- Confront their attitudes and actions.
- Tell them you’re saddened by the situation but you’re not going to take sides.
- Affirm your love.
- Stop worrying about them.
- Involve yourself in wholesome activities for your own welfare.
Consequently, time will tell how things turn out. And it may take years. The best choice is not to allow their “angry energy” and constant conflicts to usurp the golden years of our lives.