Everyone who is a parent can benefit from family support. Grandparents can be a wonderful source of strength and knowledge, especially to a mum or dad parenting on their own. It’s not always possible for a parent and their child to have a Grandparent in their lives for a variety of reasons, but when it is, this is a relationship to be nurtured as it can be of great influence on a child. As part of our weekly series of parenting tips, here are our suggestions on how to support Grandparents to have the best relationship they can with their grandchildren.
- Invite Grandparents into your child’s life. They have a lot to offer, things you may not be able to imagine. Children like to know who they are and where they come from. Grandparents can offer a lot of history to children and support them to understand their identity.
- Be open to exploring how the Grandparents of your child’s other parent can be part of your child’s life. Many Grandparents seek court ordered contact now around this. Others don’t know what to do when couples separate. Explore this with them. Children have a right to contact with family unless it presents any danger to them.
- Support Grandparents to be just that – Grandparents! Don’t expect them to take on too much. They have been parents in the past and now they have other challenges and avenues to explore.
- Allow Grandparents some freedom with treats; this is what Grandparents do!
- Acknowledge what Grandparents do for you and your child. Don’t take it for granted. They are not duty bound to support you to parent. Appreciate whatever they do.
- Do not talk badly about Grandparents in front of children, even if you’ve had or have your own relationship difficulties. They are doing their best. Children will respect others in the way you model for them.
- Talk with grandparents about issues you may have with them. Agree how they can support you to manage your child’s behaviour in a that way everyone is happy, especially the child.
- Encourage a good relationship with Grandparents. Support them to enjoy being with the children, maybe one at a time to build up relationships.
- Try to acknowledge that just because you ask for support you may not get it, or perhaps not in the form you had hoped. Have other support systems in place and don’t expect too much from one source.
- Be confident in your own parenting so you can hear the many words of wisdom Grandparents may wish to offer you. Remember that although you are the authority on your own parenting, to thank Grandparents for their thoughts, to consider their suggestions, and to make your own choices as a parent.
This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming soon: 10 Ways to Encourage Toddlers to Eat; 10 Ways to Answer the ‘Where do I come from’ Question; and 10 Ways to Make the Most of Halloween.
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