Some of us have already been step-parents and we understand the ups and downs of that role. But now we’re about to receive step-grandchildren. How do we go about connecting with our ready-made grandkids?
First, take it slow. We can learn about our new grandchildren by asking questions of our son or daughter and their new spouse. Questions concerning the child’s likes and dislikes, any special needs, family background, and what type of relationship your child would like for you to have are a good start. Will they call you grandma, grandpa, or something else?
Be upfront with your wishes too. In our changing society, it seems our so-called, old-fashioned values are slipping away and we need to stand firmly for some of them.
If you do not want to be called by your first name– Grandma Susan or Grandpa Steve– make this known. A suggestion is to ease into the relationship and see what happens. You may become grammy and papa to them while your own grands call you something else.
Secondly, observe your new grands closely. Are they shy? Confident? Have they been through a lot with their own transitions? Are there behavioral problems? Find a point of interest and proceed with caution. You may be seen as an enemy for a while or the very opposite– the most stable relationship they develop.
Although many kids today do not respect their elders, as many of us were taught, they may discern your strength of faith, character, or wisdom and latch on.
When Your Step-Grandkids Are Too Much for You to Handle
At times, our step-grandchildren will deal with change by acting out or being too much– too fast. They may zoom into the room calling us gran and gramps and desiring undue attention. This is when we patiently receive them but also set healthy boundaries.
We cannot allow them liberties that none of our other grandchildren have and they cannot trump the others to usurp our time and energy.
There’s bound to be some offenses as everyone settles in. In addition, our natural grandkids may feel jealous or vulnerable.
What’s a step-grandparent to do? Live by the rule of love and receive our new grands with patience and acceptance. As we gather them up with the rest, chances are it will all work out in the end.