The relationship between children and their grandparents can be a very special one; grandparents have matured into wise, older adults who can be a very stabilizing factor in the lives of their grandchildren. Grandparents are fresh, cheerful, and simply want to have fun with the grandchildren. Grandparents and grandchildren can have a wonderful relationship that will last into the child`s grown up years.
When children are born, grandparents can often be a source of great support, advice and practical help. However, in some cases grandparents may also be a cause of tension, as there is a fine line between helpfulness and interference. A good relationship between a child and a grandparent can have all sorts of benefits. Grandparents are likely to have a more relaxed attitude and fewer competing pressures on their time than you do.
As children grow older, grandparents can offer a valuable alternative source of advice, a sympathetic ear or even act as unbiased mediators between children and parents. Grandparents also offer children a link between the past and the present. Grandparents can make caring and loving babysitters and give you a well-earned break. Their experience in raising children can also make them a valuable source of advice, ideas and support. Encourage grandparents to tell stories about their lives when they were young and what it was like when they were growing up.
Sometimes grandparents do seem unwilling to build a relationship with their step-grandchildren and favour natural grandchildren and this can create great tension in a family. Here are some tips that may help:
Talk to grandparents about all the children in the family and regularly give news about everyone, not just their natural grandchildren.
Encourage grandparents to be fair by explaining how children feel left out and unhappy if they are treated differently or unfairly.
Set aside some time when grandparents can be alone with their natural grandchildren. Knowing they have this regular contact may help them feel more benevolent towards their step-grandchildren.
Many older people feel a little intimidated by teenagers, as this is where the `generation gap` can appear to be at its widest. Look for ways to show your grandchildren that you are an individual and not the stereotyped narrow-minded grandparent often portrayed in the media. With some give and take from you and your teenage grandchild you will probably find you have more in common than you both realized. There are so many ways to show your love. Whatever method you choose matters not, as long as you make an effort, they will know that you care, and they will care in return. What better lesson does a grandparent teach?