You’ve been alone for quite a while and have decided to try again. You’re in love but your grandkids aren’t. Is it possible to win them over?
There are generally two reasons why our grandkids do not take to a new love in our lives.
1) They remember when we were with their previous grandfather or grandmother and are not coping well with our divorce or loss of their other grandparent.
2) They’re afraid to lose the extra time and attention we’ve been giving them while alone.
A distant third objection is that our grandkids just don’t like outsiders. They’re used to the family as is and a new face that shows up everywhere we are is threatening to their sense of normalcy.
Assuming that we’ve done our best to include our grandchildren in our new relationship, we may need to ignore their behavior. If they’re open with their feelings, listen with patience and do your best to assure them of your continuous love. If there’s a special activity you share with that particular grandchild, let them know that will not change. However, you would like to include your new love now and then, so everyone can get to know each other.
When your grandchild is rude and stubborn about the situation, you may need to get firm with their behavior. However, always embrace and reassure. Sometimes, your new partner can “sell themselves” to your grandchildren with a good sense of humor and a special point of connection. Sometimes that comes with gift giving.
If your grandson or daughter collects a certain item or is interested in a new toy, it’s sometimes appropriate to offer it as a sort of peace-offering. However, this is not a pretentious way to win favor– it must be accompanied by a genuine desire for a chance at acceptance.
Letting Kids be Kids
If you’ve got a “grandpa’s girl” or “grandma’s boy” on your hands, just let it be. The more they’re convinced that they still top your list, the better chances for them to share you in the future. Take it slowly. When visiting with family, sit with your grandchild and play as usual. Your new interest will be fine sitting across the room and watching the interaction. It may provide tips for an “in” with that particular grandchild.
And do show up alone, just as you use to, whenever possible. Mention the name and some interesting facts about your new partner to remind your grandchildren that he or she is still in your picture.
When you say “yes” and the grands say “no,” it’s usually temporary. Remember, they have their own lives, friends, and adventures. And yours will not always be at the forefront of their minds.