Grandparenting is very much like parenting but it is in a new world of advanced mothering/baby technology and grandparents must accept this change. The child is not the grandparent’s responsibility and does not belong to them and they need to let the parents rear the child as they see fit. Parents are delighted to have grandparents to turn to but only when needed and asked but they totally resent any suggestions however well meant as it will be old fashioned and not what the baby clinics teach. It is not that the grandparents are wrong but just taught in a modern way.
The majority of grandparents we have met just love to see their grandchildren come to visit but are just as happy to see them go home again as long as all is well. The responsibility for bringing the children up rests with the parents and their word must be accepted for it is they that have to deal with them if the children are spoilt etc and if this is causing problems then parents may limit the visits or stop altogether.Get the parents permission before you do anything.
Why do we need Family Education?
The mainstream of grandparents that lose contact are very loving and caring and have reared a family of their own, been there before got the T-shirt etc. and are very much concerned that the new mum and baby should have the best for the new arrival.
Having done it all before grandparents are full of confidence and pride that they have brought up their family well, and quite rightly so!. The problem arises when this obvious concern overflows onto the new parents and it can appear to them as patronising and controlling.
The parents don’t want to cause any problems by speaking up about it so they begin turning away from the grandparents rather than fall out. This is noticed by the grandparents and they wonder why they are being shut out and ask their son/daughter why.. The father becomes the one in the middle and he gets it from both sides. I must say in our experience this happens mostly with the paternal grandparents as a mother usually can tell the maternal granny to stop. The parents find it very uncomfortable to be in the grandparents company and visit less and less. It is felt the mother is being controlling and due to the uncomfortable situation the son eventually ends up staying away as well. This is when the grandparents start looking for grandparental rights.
When a new male partner comes into a mother’s life he is met with coolness from grandparents of both sides. If they do not accept the new man the mother becomes resentful and again avoids the grandparents and it is deemed the new man is controlling her to stay away. It is essential that the mother knows her judgement can be trusted in picking new partners. Accept them all as a family or lose them.
Mediation at this point could work wonders.
Remember the effect family conflict can have on your children. You may be too wrapped up in your own problems to notice the effect on them.
Children cannot understand why they have been suddenly cut of from people they know and love and they often think they are to blame.
Everyone involved should put the children first and try to keep things as normal as possible for them.
If there is enough thought for the welfare of the children mediation can work? You should be totally open and say what you want but be prepared to compromise for the sake of the children. When boundaries and plans are set they should be in writing to remind you and you must stick to the agreement.
Issued by: Grandparents Apart UK, 22 Alness Crescent Glasgow G52 1PJ, 0141 882 5658. http://www.grandparentsapart.co.uk