This is a premature post. My boys will probably balk at it, but I’ll be honest. I’m a people watcher. That’s especially true when I’m out of town where I don’t know anyone.
This is written while in Florida to perform my oldest son’s wedding. He and his soon-to-be wife have been together for many years, so we feel she’s already part of the family. They say they want to enjoy life together a few years, but we know they both love children, so, even though we would encourage them to take their time, we suspect they’ll have children within the first few years of marriage.
That means most likely we’ll someday be grandparents and it has made me more conscious of what it will be like at that stage of life. Cheryl and I talk about it often.
Today I saw a family out with a grandmother. It was a beautiful family. The kids seemed well-behaved. The parents seemed attentive. The only problem, in my opinion, was an over-bearing, controlling grandmother. Every time the children did anything she corrected them. She consistently over-ruled the parents with the children. She didn’t appear as a loving grandmother, but rather as a family friend who grew impatient with the couple’s children.
I’ve already told my boys, but I feel I need to tell you for accountability purposes. Here are 4 commitments Cheryl and I hope to make as grandparents:
When parents are near, we’ll be silent – In the ideal setting, grandparents should have raised their children to be adults. Their daily parenting task is done and they shouldn’t try to take that role from their children who are now parents.
We’ll be there for the parents – Parenting is hard work. A parent needs all the support he or she can receive. We’ll be in the parent’s corner as grandparents.
We’ll support the parents – Not only will we support the parents, when we’re grandparents, we’ll step away and let the parent’s model for parenting prevail. Hopefully the mark we hoped to make on our children will carry forward, but it will be their job, not ours, to be the parents. (Granted, if there was a severe problem, we’d step in, but if it’s a matter of preference in parenting, we’ll be silent.)
We’ll compete for grandparents of the year – Let’s face it. I’m competitive. This will be one more place I hope to succeed. Hey, it worked for parenting…at least I think it did…why not for grandparenting?
It’s going to be fun being a grandparent.
Are you a grandparent? What would you add to my list?
Are you a parent dealing with grandparents? What would you add?
Have you witnessed, or experienced, over-bearing grandparenting? What would you add?