From time to time it is important that we look into ourselves … to examine our roles … our relationships. This is especially important for grandparents in these fast-changing times. Here are questions for you to ask yourself that will help you to assess how you are doing in your grandparenting role.
- Your experience as a grandchild, and a parent, can affect your grandparenting. Were you close to a grandparent when you grew up?
- Were your own parents close to your children?
- When you were younger, did you look forward to becoming a grandparent?
Being a grandparent means having a direct relationship with your grandchild. The ingredients of a close grandparent-grandchild bond are one-to-one time together with undivided attention.
- How did you feel when your first grandchild was born?
- Do you spend time alone with your grandchild?
- Do you know what your grandchild expects, and needs, from you?
- What are the things you can uniquely teach your grandchild?
- Are you part of your grandchild’s daily life?
- If you do not live close by do you keep in close touch with your grandchild?
Being a grandparent also means having an indirect relationship to your grandchild by supporting the child’s parents.
- Have you talked with parents about what kind of grandparent they would like you to be for their child?
- How you can be supportive to them?
- Have you told them what kind of grandparent YOU would like to be?
- Can you communicate openly and freely with them?
- Can you listen to what they say with an open mind?
- Are you making an effort to be up to date with parents and grandchildren, being familiar with the world they live in?
- Is your advice well received?
There are lots of obstacles that get in the way of being the best grandparent possible; distance, not enough time, being of different generations, different family forms, personality problems, divorce etc.
- Can you see yourself as the emotional leader of your family, connecting past and future?
- What obstacles are in the way of being the kind of grandparent you want to be?
- Can you discuss these issues with the family?
- Are you making a personal effort to remedy things that get in the way of you being the best grandparent possible?
- Do you ask your loved ones for feedback on how you are doing?
Answering these questions will help you to assess your grandparent role. If changes are necessary, take direct action to remedy the situation. Like every other stage of life, Grandparenthood is about growing, changing, and learning. You can set a wonderful example for your children and grandchildren by doing all three.
Reference: “Grandparent Power.” By Arthur Kornhaber M.D. and Sondra Forsythe. (Crown)