September 11th is National Grandparent’s Day, so in honor of all the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in our families, here are a few ways we can bring out the best in the relationship they form with our kids.
1.) A clean slate
One of the blessings of grandparenthood is that it’s a clean slate to write a new, and possibly very different legacy with their grandkids then they might have with their own children. Even in the healthiest of parent/child relationships, there are going to be some past hurts and frustrations. It’s important that we don’t taint the relationship between our parents and our kids by speaking ill of our parents or our spouse’s parents in front of them. We must see their relationship with their grandparents as being new and separate.
2.) Encourage quality and quantity time
If you are fortunate enough to live near your, or your spouse’s parents, encourage them to be a part of the events of your family…big and small! Obviously, holidays and birthdays are a given, but also invite them to your daughter’s soccer game, or out to ice cream with you when you celebrate your son’s successful spelling test. Sometimes it’s those small celebrations that create the most lasting memories. If, like so many, you don’t live in close proximity to your kids grandparents, be creative to foster that time as well. Set up webcams at your, and your parents house and teach everyone to use video conferencing services like Skype or Google Plus. Even technologically reluctant grandma’s and grandpa’s seem to be highly motivated to learn new things when it involves getting face time with their grandkids! Also, teach your kids the nearly-lost art of letter writing, and even have a phone appointment on the calendar for them to spend time with their grandparents. If at all possible, send your kids over the summer to spend time with their grandparents.
3.) Ask your parents for advice.
Once you have your own kids, you may suddenly realize that your parents had more wisdom then you may have previously thought. Ask for their advice…they will be shocked that you want it, and you might be surprised by the nuggets of truth that they are able to give you. Age, time and experience offer a perspective that we simply can’t get when we are in the midst of parenting, and for all the mistakes your parents may have made raising you, they will have that much more trial and error in which to discern what you might be going through now. Of course it’s up to you whether you follow their advice, but simply asking will help them feel more involved in yours and your kids lives.
These are just a few ways to foster a healthy relationship with your kids and their grandparents. Please tell us what you have done. What are some ways you have done this in your own family? What has worked, and what hasn’t worked?
As a gift for all they have meant to you, consider purchasing a copy of Extreme Grandparenthood by Dr. Tim and Darcy Kimmel for you or your spouse’s parents. It is chock full of great wisdom and will encourage them to be active and valuable assets to their grand kids! Here is a coupon code to help you get a great deal, exclusively through the Family Matters Blog! Recieve an additional 20% off Extreme Grandparenthood by copy and pasting this coupon code at checkout: GRANDBLOG11. Expires 9/14/2011