How to facilitate grandparent realtionship?

magdelenaJanuary 18, 2002

I am the parent of a 10 month old son. He has two grandmas in town who just adore him. Both grandfathers have passed on. What I am hoping for from this forum is any suggestions you might have for facilitating and maintaining a good grandparent/grandchild relationship.

One grandma drives and is retired but likes to travel and stays busy with many social commitments; the other grandma does not drive and works 3 days a week (she also has 3 adult children at home). I try to visit with each grandma every week and almost always call ahead before we stop by. If we are going to do something we think they might enjoy, we invite them along (a drive to the mountains, band concert, etc.) So far, I think it's all going pretty well (and I have not heard otherwise from either grandma). Is there more we could/should be doing? Is there anything you might suggest we do now to avert problems later that might arise over discipline/lifestyle issues? (both DH and I are fairly old-fashioned about what constitutes acceptable behavior and we agree that everybody in the family has the right/responsibility to correct our child). I am not foreseeing any problems with MIL -- probably more concerned with my mom. I know she is trying hard to step back and not be too controlling (I think I've seen a little blood seeping out the corner of her lips from biting her tongue so hard!). Her style would be to make little sideways comments or throw guilt-trips. We have a fairly good relationship (as do she and dh) I just want to keep it that way. Any suggestions?



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Sounds like you are doing a great job of developing a grandparent relationship. Do the grandmas ever babysit for you? My mom and dad were very close to our girls growing up. They loved taking care of them. It was so wonderful having someone we trusted to watch them, and so it was easy to plan an evening out or an overnight even, without feeling any anxiety or guilt. If the grandmas are willing, that would be a good way to deepen the relationship with the child. You are so lucky to live near the grandmas so they can really get to know your child. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 10:53AM
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I was very touched by what you are expressing, especially about your Mom "biting her lip" to keep from offering unwanted advice. I have 3 grandchildren of my own, and my husband has 3-nearly-4. So I can empathize, believe me. My little granddaughter is nearly 5, and an absolute scamp. I saw her today, and played Barbies-Having-a-Feast with her (we drag out dozens of Barbies, set play food on little tables, the Prince comes to host the banquet, you get the picture). She has two younger brothers, and tends to be quite bossy. Of course I love the dickens out of them all, but I said to her, "Alyssa, you are really going to have to not be so bossy." Playing with the grandkids is when you really get to know them, as a grandparent. And also a means to offer them a little "life advice."

I think Debbeeanne's suggestion of encouraging Grandmas to babysit is an excellent one. This tells both grandparents that you and your husband trust them completely, with the safety of your child. Also, call once a week on the phone and ask the Grandmas to talk to your son. Even if he just goos into the receiver, they will enjoy it. It's good, too, to telephone with "the latest accomplishment." They can't see him growing every day, like you do. Feel free to share -- it will make them feel closer to him, and to you.

You sound like a wonderful Mom, daughter, and daughter-in-law. How nice it would be, if more young mothers realized how important it is to include the Grandmoms. As a grandparent, the fact that God has blessed us with a grandbaby is the icing on Life's cake. One day you will know this feeling -- but for now, just love your little boy, and continue to be a terrific Mom!

Here is a link that might be useful: Welcome to Gram's Pantry

    Bookmark   January 20, 2002 at 4:19PM
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The best advice I can give is enjoy your child's grandparents relationship for all it's worth. It is one of the most valuable relationships a child can have.

Don't worry if the grandparents spoil your children or bend the rules a bit. That's what grandparents are for, and grandchildren soon learn the difference between the spoiling at Grandma's and life in the real world. There's nothing like one place where a child can be totally and unreservedly the best, most important thing in the room.

If your mom's biting her lip about advice, ask her for her opinion. It can't hurt (since you can ignore it if it goes against your judgement) and it just may help. After all, she raised you! = ) Include grandparents as much as you can.

It's a sad fact that grandparents will not be there forever, or as active as they are now. Now, while they can,do all you can to encourage and nurture that relationship (assuming of course that they are sound and caring people). Your children will never regret it. Good luck! You're a great mom.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2002 at 8:32PM
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Thank you all for the great advice!! And you are right about asking them for advice-- everybody likes to be consulted, right? We haven't left kiddo for more than 15 minutes yet-- but that was with the Grandmoms (a couple times for each). I agree that a day of spoiling here and there with grandma shouldn't be a problem-- and we are looking forward to that a few months down the road. :)

Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2002 at 5:33PM
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I just want to say how impressed I am that you take so much responsibility for these relationships. You respect the busy lives of the grandmas and you take it upon yourself to go visit them, rather than wait for them to come to you and then resent them because they can't as often as you'd like. I think your whole attitude is wonderful and can't help but lead to healthy relationships for all of you.

I had the mistaken impression that new parents are too busy to visit their own parents (which seems to be the case in our situation); you have shown that isn't true.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2002 at 10:14AM
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Well-- thanks for the kind words!! But-- in your kids' defense-- I am a SAHM (so I might have a little more time) and I know how hurt my mom was by not seeing my brother's kids very much as they were growing up. My mom was working out of town with an hour commute each way; brother had irregular shifts and SIL worked full-time, too. Add to this that you can see my brother's in-laws' house from their back window-- my mom was sure that the other GPs saw the kids all the time-- so I might have a different perspective than your kids because I saw the other end of it a little more. As for my own GPs-- dad was 50 when I was born (no family at all there) and my maternal GM lived 2 states away-- so maybe I want to give my kid what I didn't have (although GM did come to visit 2 times for a few months each visit when I was a teen-- so I was blessed to really get to know her).
Anyway-- both of these ladies are great! And I know that there are a lot of benefits for everybody if DS and they are able to have a good relationship-- I think it's important for kids to have a good idea of where they come from and to be able to get along (and show respect for) people of all ages-- and who couldn't benefit from having more people around to love and guide them? As for the GMs-- their eyes just light up when they see kiddo-- and I know that he brings back a lot of memories from when they were raising their own kids. I know that he is one of their "highlights" (lets just hope we all still feel this way about him when he's 15! LOL).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2002 at 11:13PM
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