When our adult children start families of their own we want to be the best grandparent we can. However, what we consider helpful, or good, isn’t always what our adult child need or want.
Brock Griffin gives this great advice
“Never, never, never dishonor or degrade your adult children in front of your grandchildren.”
“If you don’t like their parenting style, zip it until you can find an appropriate way to discuss when the grandchildren are not present. When your grandchildren are with you, never talk about their parents in a demeaning way. Lift them and their spouses up with great respect and honor in front of your grandchildren.”
That is especially true if they are having a hard time and they are calling you for advice. The best role you can play is peacemaker. Express understanding, and empathy but ultimately send them back to their parents.
“Support the rules laid down by your grown children when you are around the grandchildren.”
“If there are things your grown children don’t allow, don’t make exceptions in your own home without permission. Ask them how they would like you to handle things like video games, TV, food, etc. Let them know you want to help them succeed as parents, not try to make them accommodate your agenda.”
When it comes down to it, which is more important? To attempt to win points with the grandchildren or support their family unit in every way possible?
“Make your time with your grandkids something they will look forward to doing again.”
“Intentional grandparenting seeks to build a legacy of faith, but it does not do so at the expense of a good time together. Help them feel that when they are with you it is a safe, welcoming and fun place to be. Make sure there is laughter in your walls.”
One way is breathe new life into old favorites. Bring out the games you loved as a child. Teach them to play Dominos, Marbles or Jacks.
“Guard against favoritism.”
“When there are multiple grandchildren, it is not unusual to gravitate to a favorite child. However, work hard to never show favoritism. Ask God to give you a tender and compassionate heart even for the more difficult child. That child could one day become your favorite. Make sure each child feels equally valued and loved by you because of who they are—created in God’s image.”
Just recently, I had a daughter call in tears. She cried for over an hour, expressing her long frustrations with her in-laws favoritism and competion. It broke her heart to watch it in the face of her children. It was a family trait that her husband experienced as a child as well.
When we can do these things, as Griffin suggests, we can take the heart of our adult children. They know, without a doubt, that we are here to help them create and maintain the family they dreamed of having. In return, we get the best of both–our grandchildren and our adult children.