Do you think of the other significant adults in your grandchild’s life as teammates? I hope your neighborhood was like mine when I was growing up. It seemed like all the adults had an unspoken code where they informally teamed up to pass along information to my parents about whatever I was doing—whether it was good or bad.
You may or may not have the same informal network these days, but chances are that you do have other adults who are involved in our grandchild’s life. I am talking about your grandchild’s teachers, day care workers, scout leaders, school counselor, Sunday school teachers, and even parents and grandparents of your grandchild’s friends.
In grandparenting, we have opportunities to speak one-on-one with each of these other significant adults to ask for their input and support as we help to encourage and invest in our grandchildren. Although their experience may be different, they always have something to offer when we take the time to really listen.
The benefits are threefold:
First, they can provide you with information about your grandchild you won’t get any other way. They are with them in situations you’re not. While your grandchild may present one personality to you, she may have other sides that come out in other times and places, depending on who she is around.
Second, your teammates are going to give you a different perspective. In a sense, you see only one portion of your grandchild’s life—your perspective. Each of your teammates has a completely different perspective, and it can be quite illuminating when you compare notes.
Third, your teammates are probably pretty good models! Although you may be ultimately responsible for how your grandchild is raised, it’s likely that each of your teammates brings strengths and successes that can add to what you are providing to your grandchild. If you see them as what they are—valuable team members—they can help you expand the support that your grandchild receives while they are under your roof.
As wise grandparents, we won’t hand over total responsibility to raise our grandchild to others, no matter what their skills and qualifications. But we can take advantage of the benefits of inviting input from other team members.