Here are some ways to make the transition from mother to grandmother an easier one.
Jill Spivack: Transitioning to grandparenthood can be a huge change for the grandparent. Here are four tips to make the transition an easier one.
Remember: Being a grandmother doesn't mean you're old.
Becoming a grandmother is a huge milestone ... but it's not an easy one for everyone to adjust to. In this youth-laden culture, suddenly being a granny can make you feel one step closer to the grave. If you are having a tough time dealing with these feelings, talk to friends or a therapist about what you're going through. After some time, you'll likely see that being a grandparent can actually make you feel young again.
Don't wallow in regret.
Becoming a grandparent can often stir up old regrets. Some may long for their youth again, when they were just starting down the path of parenting young children. If they live far from their new grandchild, they may long to be closer physically, or may feel resentment toward grandparents that live nearby their own grandkids. Remember: These feelings are all perfectly normal. Try to embrace the joys of grandparenthood, of which there are many.
Remind yourself that times have changed.
Grandparents need to understand that if they were parenting in the '60s and '70s, life was very different back then. The Internet alone has changed things so dramatically for today's parents. There are many more issues concerning safety in today's world, which causes today's parents not to have the same freedoms that you had with your kids (such as allowing kids to ride their bikes to a friend's house).
This doesn't mean your kids (and grandkids) can't learn from your experiences ... but try to avoid an "I know all" mentality. Just because you've "been there, done that" doesn't mean you have all the answers, because today's world is so different from the one in which you raised your children.
Respect your kids' parental decisions.
Be respectful of whatever journey your adult children are on, as long as it's not abusive to your grandchildren. Everyone learns and grows as parents over time, and young children are resilient as long as they are loved. If you are asked for advice directly, go for it ... but avoid offering tons of unsolicited advice. Treat your adult children respectfully, because they are the ultimate decision-makers, and ultimately they need to make their own parenting decisions.
Finally, a good grandmother is someone who is helpful, but NOT intrusive; older and wiser, but not opinionated or needy; someone who dotes on the grandkids but is respectful of mom and dad's primary role. It's really impossible to be perfect, but these tips can help.
What's your secret to being a good grandma?
|Jill Spivack, MSW, author of "The Sleepeasy Solution" and co-founder of Sleepy Planet Inc., is a psychotherapist and mother of two.|