Grandparents are a gift in the life of a child. But there are things that some grandparents tend to do that frequently drive the child’s parents…well… kinda crazy! Here are some really good examples of actions and behaviors that can ensure that you are stepping on toes:
Stop giving unsolicited advice
Grandparents that have raised children of their own, love to give advice. However, parents still raising their children receive advice – whether they want it or not – almost daily. It is not that the advice is crappy, or even wrong. Parents that want advice, will ask for it. Giving out unwanted advice can have a tendency to come off as offensive, especially to a stressed out parent. It may be hard to not say anything when a parent looks like they are struggling, but the best thing to do as an alternative to offering unsolicited advice, is just to offer to your help.
Do not undermine the parents
When Mom or Dad says “No”, that means NO! If a parent is trying to establish limits or reprimand their child, do not rob them of the lesson that they are trying to teach. It may be hard to see one’s grandchild emotionally distressed or upset. However, you have to remember, when you try to look like the hero to your grandchild, you are villainizing the parent(s) and making them look like the bad guy. I can assure you, that this will cause resentment from the parents, and could altogether jeopardize your relationship.
Do not overly-spoil grand-kids
As a grandparent, it is your right to spoil your grandchild. However, there are limits! Letting your grandchild have an extra cookie or treat after dinner, is not a crime. Letting your grandchild impulsively have whatever they want because they are at your house or in your care, is not okay. Let your grandchild know that the things that they get away with while spending time with you, is a privilege, not a right. As parents, we are trying to avoid raising an entitled generation. And those unfavorable attitudes allowed at grandma and grandpa’s house, will follow them home after the visit is over.
Stop making backhanded comments
This speaks for itself. If you are saying things like:
“I am surprised you haven’t asked me to watch [insert kid’s name(s) here]”
“I never did that to you as a child”
“I never would have let you get away with that as a kid!”
Knock that sh*t off! These are just some examples of backhanded comments you should bite your tongue and keep to yourself. No one likes to hear backhanded comments, ever – especially with parenting.
Forcing your parenting style on your grand-kids
It may have worked for you raising your kids- and some things still do. However, times have changed and your child is not you as a parent. There is more research and evidence to go off of nowadays that puts current parent knowledge at more of an advantage than ever. Just because your methods worked for your kids back in the day, does not mean that it is encouraged now.
Manipulating the kids to get to the parents
Using your grandchild to get to their parent, is never okay. Not only is it morally wrong, but the child is not a pawn in order to get what you want through manipulation. Telling your grandchild things like..
“I would but your mother/father says, no.”
“ I wish your mother/father would let me see you more…”
Is a good way to sever or inflict a lot of strain in the relationship you have with their parents. If you want something to change or to address an adult issue, leave the children out of it.
Posting photos of kids on social media
We all know most grandparents are extremely proud and want to show off their grand-kids to the whole world. But let’s be honest, the world is full of REAL creeps who know how to use social media as a tool. Parents have the right to want to keep their little ones off of social media and safe for as long as they are able to do so. If you are unsure of how the parent feels about your posting habits, there is only one way to find out… ASK!
Stop Playing Favorites
Some grandparents are blessed with having more than one grand-kid to love and spoil. But sometimes grandparents forget to be fair about sharing their affections to all of their children’s children. As a grandparent, it is your responsibility to make sure that -like when raising your own kids- you do NOT play favorites. It does not go unnoticed.
Trying to get a do-over
You had your chance to raise your child, do not see having a grandchild as an opportunity to do things a different way, just because you are more financially stable or have more time. It is your child’s turn to raise their own kids, let them.
Financially, you may be better off than when you had your own children. That does not give you the right to buy your grandchild big and over-the-top gifts (without discussing it with the parents). Parents do the best they can with their current finances to get their child the best gifts for birthdays, and other holidays. Showing up and surprising your grandchild with overly expensive gifts or trips that mom and dad could not afford may seem like a nice gesture, but it only makes you look like you are trying too hard to over-shadow the parents.
Ignoring to make the effort
Traveling with children is no picnic! If you are a grandparent and you are always making the parents commute to you for visits or special occasions, but never return the effort -especially if you live more than an hour away- you are driving us parents crazy! Unless you are physically limited due to health, trust me, you are causing tension. If you are a capable individual, it is so much less of a hassle for one or two individuals to visit their grand-kids, than it is to travel with young children long distance! It is not the parents job to ensure that you see your grand-kids if you are not willing to be reasonable.
Calling your grand-kids your “babies”
Your grandchildren are your children’s babies, not yours. Unless the child came from your hoo-ha directly, they are not your baby, they are your grand-baby.
If you are unsure about something or fear that this may be you as a grandparent, ask! Showing your consideration is very important and is deeply appreciated! You may realize that by asking rather than assuming, your relationship with the parents and your grandchild will flourish!
(Parent Tip): Grandparents can be such a gift and are a big part of a child’s life. But life is full of trial and errors, nobody is perfect! Grandparents are no exception to natural imperfection, and they cannot read your mind. There may be some cases where things listed above, happen. As much as it may grind your gears as a parent, remember, sometimes grandparents don’t realize what they are doing may be bothering you, grandparents may just need you to tell them!
Hopefully, this helps! May the force be with you!