Do you ever feel like you’re in a competition with other people for your grandchildren’s affections?
Even if it feels that way sometimes, you’re probably very aware that you aren’t the main influence or the main role model in their lives. And there are benefits to that. (Of course, grandparents who are raising their grandkids have some different challenges and benefits.)
If it does feel like a competition sometimes, maybe it’s time for an attitude adjustment. After all, the more adults your grandkids have who are loving and investing in them, the better that is for them. And don’t we want them to get all the love and support that they possibly can? So maybe a great goal to aspire to is to view your grandkids’ parents, the other grandparents, as well as teachers, coaches, youth sponsors and others as assets or teammates, all working for your grandkids’ benefit.
Are you working with them toward a common goal, or struggling against them and spinning in circles?
It isn’t an easy thing to fix, because you might have very good reasons for seeing things differently from some of those other people. Maybe you see that something they’re doing isn’t the best for your grandkids, or at least it isn’t encouraging and helping their growth and maturity. And maybe that will lead you to have a hard conversation or two, where you provide your input (while remembering that most of these decisions really aren’t up to you).
Even if you are completely on a different page with these other adults in their lives, it’s hard to justify any reason to dwell on the differences between your perspective and theirs. Unless they are bent on destruction, its likely your goals for the grandchildren stem from the same love and concern. Uniformity in approach may reduce conflict, but it won’t necessarily result in stronger results.
For example, maybe your grandkids attend a church that’s very different from what you would choose. And maybe that limits the ways you can be involved in their lives or the things you can talk about with them. But rather than dwelling on the differences, you can find positives and things that you still have in common. Sure, the differences are there, but show everyone that you can still be respectful and supportive.
It really is worth it, especially when you think about the benefits that come with having many people involved in your grandkids’ lives. Such as:
Multiple Indispensable Perspectives
Some would say that it takes a village to raise a child. That may not be the most important component, it can be a tremendous asset. More caring adults on the team means more people to carry part of the load through challenging times. Also, we all have different experiences, approaches to life, and nuggets of wisdom to share. We all have different strengths that can help to shape our grandchildren and their character. That variety is a good thing!
A Model for Maturity
One sign of maturity is respecting other points of view, whether the different perspectives relate to things that are highly important to you, or they simply aren’t consistent with what you prefer or what makes you comfortable. When you show honest respect or even sacrifice in some areas for someone else, you set a powerful example of character for your grandkids.
A Sense of Security
What would happen in a business if for some reason the key leaders started feuding? What if those influential individuals had conflicting visions for the company or developed intense personality conflicts? Regardless of how earnestly each partner communicated his or her commitment to the employees, the company would still suffer. Morale would drop. People would begin to worry about job security. Mid-level executives might bail out. The emotional atmosphere of the entire organization would reflect the quality of the most important relationship. Of course, the same is true in families.
Children gain great confidence and security when their parents are in harmony, first of all, and that can be challenging or even impossible in some situations. But the principle also extends to grandparents and others who interact with the family. Through your consistent presence, affirmation, comfort, and even lighthearted interactions, you can convey that you’re there for your grandkids whenever you’re needed, and that, even in challenging situations, they will be OK.
Words and deeds that demonstrate your commitment to respect other adults in your grandchildren’s lives provide them with convincing proof that their identity is solid—they come from great roots.
What do you do to demonstrate a sense of teamwork with other people in your grandkids’ lives? Please share a tip or two and connect with other grandparents on our Facebook page here.