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Mar 14

Taking the “Parent” out of Grandparents

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…

Learning to become a parent in the shadow of your own parents can be tough! Especially if you are as close knit and opinionated as my family (meaning we havepushy parents”).

On the lighter side, Papa was too smothering. And Nana was always scheming to take my sister’s “organic only” kids pushy grandparentsto 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 understand each other’s point of view, 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 set boundaries. Grandparents are not the parents so it should be clear what lines are not to be crossed.

Do you need a babysitter so you and your parents can go out to dinner to discuss boundaries? If so you have come to the right place! is a Canadian portal designed to help you find local caregivers in your area, easily and quickly. The caregiver who is right for your family is only a click away.