Here's a reality check for grandmothers everywhere.
You've successfully raised your children. Therefore, you (rightfully) feel you have some words of wisdom to pass on to your own kids now that they're raising kids of their own. However, your well-meaning advice can inadvertently cause backlash, insecurity and resentment on the part of the new mother and father, according to parenting expert Jill Spivack.So how do you help out without shutting them out?
Respecting your adult child's journey into and through parenthood is of utmost importance, says Spivack. "Just as grandparents had to navigate the rocky waters of parenting, their children need to be respected for navigating their own process, which can take some time, experience and minor mistakes made along the way," she explains.
If you have sons, be especially careful when it comes to your daughter-in-laws."There can be a subtle competitive spirit between older women and younger women when it comes to the best way to raise the children, but ultimately, it doesn't serve the new parents well when grandma tries to 'out-do' the new mother," Spivack warns. Creating too much stress between you and the new parents will ultimately not only push you apart, but will reduce access to your grandchildren, so tread lightly.
For example, some grandmothers have a major problem with their daughters or daughters-in-law going back to work after having a baby. But take a step back before you judge. "Some grandparents may disagree with the decisions their daughters make around working or staying home, but they need to realize that their daughter is coming from a very different place entering parenthood, with different experiences under her belt," Spivack explains. "This is different than past generations when roles in our society were much more clearly defined and most women expected their role to be one of nurturing the children, while many men were the breadwinners."
Today, that's just not the case. Most households have two working parents ... and households with stay-at-home dads are on the rise. As long as your child's family is happy and healthy, there is no reason to worry. Good families come in many different shapes and forms ... as long as their situation is working for them, there is no reason to put your two cents in.
With a little forethought and understanding, becoming a grandparent can actually bring you closer to your adult children rather than drive you farther apart. And, in the end, isn't that really the ultimate goal for all of us?