Do you remember when the first of your siblings had a baby? My older sister was the first in my family and her pregnancy was a wonderful time. We rallied around her as a family as she prepared for her new arrival and my parents excitedly settled on their new names: Nana and Papa.
What I did not know was that we should have been preparing ourselves emotionally for a whole new set of dynamics within our little group that had existed with no “new blood” for the past 28 years or so. Wow! Things were about to change.
First things first.
Having family, especially grandparents, involved in the lives of your children is wonderful. For kids it is not only an additional source of love and fun but is also another wise guiding hand during their development. For parents, grandparents can offer help and advice, financial support and the opportunity to get a break. And for grandparents, spending time with their grandchildren is a great source of joy and can provide a sense of purpose.
Win, Win, Win. And something not to be taken for granted as many do not have the gift of grandparents either nearby or interested in getting involved.
Having said that…
On the lighter side, Papa was too smothering. And Nana was always scheming to take my sister’s “organic only” kids to what she called “Hal’s Health Food” but was really a donut shop. On the more serious side there were (and still are!) very different views on topics such as the power of love versus the importance of discipline. And I often found myself in the middle.
The most important thing I learned through these experiences was that everyone needed to chill out! Take it down a notch. When you do this you can actually start to , realise you all want the best for the kids and come up with compromises. Having said that the second most important thing I learned was that it is important to . Grandparents are not the parents so it should be clear what lines are not to be crossed.
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