Four Things I Learned When I Became a Grandparent

grandfather and grandson with cloudAre you a grandparent?  Chances are, if you have kids, you will become one some day.  That first grandchild is so exciting.  Your kid is having a kid!  It connects you to the future.  Here are four things I learned after having grandchildren.

They aren’t my children!

My Aunt and Uncle used to take each of their grandchildren on a trip when they reached the ripe old age of 8. They love talking about those adventures with me and freely admit that sometimes it is easier to get the kids to behave the way they want if the parents aren’t around. While true, that may not be the best course of action.

Parents had the right and the responsibility to raise their own children. It isn’t (usually) the grandparent’s role to set the rules. Rather, we need to understand the rules our children have set for their children and respect them!

Perhaps the parent’s allow the kids to use the couch as a trampoline and you heartily disapprove. If you are at their house, tough for you. Discipline is up to the parents, not the grandparents (unless of course the child is in danger).

Maybe the parent’s don’t believe in granting monetary allowances and you firmly believe a child needs consistent money sources to learn how to manage it. Too bad, parents rule.

Respect your adult child’s ability to raise their own children. After all, who taught your child? YOU.

But, it is my house.

When the grandchildren are at your house, it can get a bit trickier. You obviously have the right and responsibility to keep your grandchildren safe and must set up the house rules to do so. Other areas can be a bit murky though. Should you cater to a child’s picky eating habits, because the parent’s do at home? Should you respect bedtimes and meal types (I say yes to both) even though they conflict with your usual routine?

You don’t, however, have to let your grandchildren have free reign to destroy your house or things. You can ask them to not sit on the table, not jump on the couch or to turn off the lights when they leave a room…. your house… different rules.

I can’t keep up, and that’s ok.

I don’t know the latest games, the way math is taught now or the Hummingbird way to learn music, but its ok. I can still amaze a 7 and 10 year old with some of the things I know or can do (catch me in 4 years and we’ll see if it is still true at 14!).

I no longer seek out physical adventure, like skiing or running but I can teach the grand-kids croquet and crochet, or buy them ski lessons and cheer them on while they run!

My grand-kids can teach me things, which is important to their development and helps me out as well. Getting used to role reversal takes time and maybe it comes a bit easier with your grandchildren than with your own children.

Grand-kids are more fun than puppies OR kittens.

Everyone says it, and it really is true. Maybe it is time of life for us grandparents, but knowing that there is another generation to carry on the family genes and culture; being able to have a close relationship with a child, yet not be entirely responsible for their well being; having more financial backing than you did when your kids were young so you can do those extras; and understanding how fleeting childhood really is make those special hours with a grandchild indescribably wonderful.

When my own children were young, it seemed as if their childhood would last forever. When would this kid ever learn to feed himself, use the potty, walk, talk, read, write, do arithmetic and get a job! Now I look back at the birth of my first grandchild 10 years ago and think, wow, he is 10 already? Then I look forward at the next 10 years and am amazed that he’ll be almost grown and out of college by then. Time speeds up when you reach 60.

What are some of the things you learned (or wish your parents would learn) about grand-parenthood?


Four Things I Learned When I Became a Grandparent — 7 Comments

  1. Awesome post! I look so forward to when my son has children. For all the reasons you stated. It’s weird to think at 20-something how you’ll probably feel when you hit your 40’s and 50’s. It ends up being nothing like you imagined. Just to let all of you 20-somethings know, it’s WAY better, for all of the reasons (and more!) stated in this post. Have a wonderful time, Marie! You sound like a VERY cool grandmother! 😀

  2. All I know is that my mom loves being a grandparent. Talking about her grandkids and spending time with them is her favorite thing to do.

  3. You are fortunate. I do not have a relationship with my GC’s as my daughter basically forbids it. The fella she married ….well…is special…and the relationship has gone from bad to non-existent. I have not had communication with my daughter in over 2.5 years and could not pick the youngest GC out of a police line up. DW visits about once a month and is allowed to visit with oldest GC at their home but has not allowed contact with the other despite being in the same house….we live within 2 miles of each other…The wife is willing to “play the daughter’s game”…I am not…Enjoy your G-kids…not everyone gets to….

      • Hmmmm….I have spoke with folks that are in similiar situations and have done what you describe to get their “grandchildren fix”…but I don’t think this is for me. The positve out of this is my wife has become involved in her Church and is one stellar Sunday school teacher and has made a difference in kids’ lives. To be honest I don’t “like” the person my child has become. And the crazy thing is, children are attracted to me for what ever reason, especially toddlers. But IMHO life is short…and don’t plan on spending a lot of time with folks I don’t care for…Grandkids or not…Believe it or not…this is more widespread than one would think. There are blogs and support groups dedicated to this dilemma….

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