Becoming a grandparent is a time of great joy, but for some, it can also be slightly terrifying. When you first get told to expect the pitter patter of tiny feet, some scary thoughts may go through your head like, will the baby and the new parents be ok? What if I have forgotten how to change a nappy? How will I react if the baby is given an outrageous name?
These are all concerning thoughts, but once have allowed the news to sink in, you’ll most probably become incredibly excited about becoming a grandparent. It’s a new phase of your life and building loving relationships with these new little people brings everyone a lot of joy!
Shouldn’t Becoming a Grandparent Be Exciting, Not Terrifying?
After a lifetime of raising children and being in charge, having no control over your children’s parenting choices can be quite terrifying. Becoming a grandparent may also be worrying for you if you had a bad experience with birth or an unsettled or sick baby. You worry about the new parents about how they will cope with new stresses. The best way to cope with this worry is to just let the new parents get on with it and find their own feet, but be there for support when you can.
This includes being positive, open minded, supportive, accepting and showing unconditional love. Communicate openly with the new parents, but don’t impose your own needs on them as they have a lot on their plate. Make yourself available to help by offering to cook meals, mow the lawns and following the new parents lead in what they want help with.
Times Have Changed from When We Had Kids
Be prepared to recognise that there are new parenting styles. Being a new grandparent makes you realise how quickly time flies and how big the generation gap really is. Plenty of things have changed since you parented such as what babies can eat, where they sleep, how they are fed and settled. The new parents might be throwing around phrases like baby-led weaning and co-sleeping. This may be overwhelming at times, but it’s important to only offer advice when asked and accept that you are not responsible for everything.
You may totally hate the fact your newborn grandson is called Fonzy Brown or that your two-year-old granddaughter is addicted to her iPad, but saying so will not pave the way to happy relationships. Base your new role on respect and everything will follow. Soon you will realise that becoming a grandparent gives you the chance to relive the best parts of parenting: getting ice-cream, painting, baking and enjoying all those kisses and cuddles!