Two for the Price of One
One of the most important ways to support our grandchildren is to support their parents. But how? Some of our children and their spouses have abandoned their faith or seldom attend church services. Others are living their faith well but are struggling with other issues. What is a grandparent to do? The following suggestions will make a difference in our adult children’s lives no matter where they are regarding their faith.
First, it is essential that we understand and love the parents of our grandchildren. To love them better we need to know them better. My wife and I make it a point deepen our relationship with our sons- and daughters-in-law especially. We try to discover their likes and dislikes and aim to build trust. That’s just “relationship intelligence” — learning how each relationship is unique and how to work within that relationship.
Second, we want to do all we can to encourage our adult children and their spouses in their parenting. It’s no surprise that they do things differently than we would. Scolding and nagging are useless. Yes, from time to time we might have an improvement to suggest, but mostly we just try to encourage what they do well. In our experience, writing notes, letters, and texting is a great way to express our confidence in their skills and to cheer their successes! Additionally, we try encourage their own marriage. One way we do this is to specifically offer to babysit for their own weekly “date-night” or a periodic weekend away. They benefit, we benefit, and our relationship time with our grandchildren happens!
Third, we ask them directly, “How can we, as your parents, help you care for your children in supplemental ways?” Or, “What do you find most helpful for us to do to support you in your marriage and parenting responsibilities?” When they identify positive things we can do, we know the exact target. We aren’t just guessing. When we hit it, they cheer, we cheer and the grandchildren benefit.
We cannot and should not offer endless childcare! But when we offer the right help to mom and dad, our grandchildren benefit as well. That’s getting two for the price of one.
This article is a summary of one of the talks given at the first “Do it Grandly” Conference held in February in Lansing, Michigan.
Mike and Barbara Luea have 24 grandchildren and live in Lansing, Michigan.
Copyright © 2018 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.