Becoming a grandparent can be a source of great joy, but it can also be challenging. It's not always easy to get used to this role. Familiprix, in collaboration with Vie de Grands-Parents, gives you tips on making the most of your new status!
The place of grandparents in the family
There is a world of difference between having children and having grandchildren. Grandparents have more time on their hands because they are often retired and have fewer responsibilities than before. Therefore, they can spend time with their grandchildren and establish a relationship full of attention, love and comfort!
Discovering the role of grandma and grandpa
Through the newness, there is always a phase of adaptation. It's hard to know what kind of grandparent you are until you actually experience it. Maybe you were looking forward to becoming a grandparent, or perhaps you were apprehensive? Whatever the case, it's important to learn about this role gently!
The appropriate name for grandparents
It may be a good idea to consider what name you would like to adopt as grandparents before the child is born or when the child is still young. Sometimes the words grandpa and grandma don't work for everyone, either because they're too common or because they sound like they're getting old too fast! Find a sweet word that you're comfortable with that doesn't sound too hard to say and discuss it with the parents involved.
The different roles assumed by grandparents
Grandparents can be invaluable on many levels when given the space they need.
Family history and values
Children are often curious about their parents' childhood. Grandparents, however, like to talk about the memories they have with their children. This gives the grandchildren a chance to recognize themselves or to learn more about their parents. Through these life stories, family values are passed on.
Grandparents' little pleasures
The atmosphere at the grandparents' home is often calm, and the pace of life is a little slower, which encourages relaxation and sometimes leads to children confiding in them. Vacations are also a good time to do activities with your grandchildren, whether camping, swimming or enjoying ice cream!
Differences of opinion between generations
Being a grandparent means that several generations overlap. There may be times when you don't agree with certain behaviours or lifestyle habits of your children, for example:
- The importance of environmentally responsible purchasing;
- Social responsibility;
- Sexual orientation and gender identity;
- DME (child-led dietary diversification);
The ways of doing things are changing rapidly and are not necessarily the same as when raising your children. It is important to respect as much as possible the parents' choice (French only) and their point of view regarding their children's education. It is not forbidden to express your opinion, but do so calmly and composedly, ideally in a neutral place without children, and try to be open.
Parents who can count on grandparents to be present can count themselves lucky. Grandparents are often called upon to pick up children from daycare, take care of a sick grandchild, or babysit during an outing or a respite, significantly reducing the stress and pressure on parents' shoulders
It is sometimes tempting to interfere with your grandchildren's education, but this role is really for the parents. This is not a reason not to intervene with your grandchildren when a situation calls for it, but when parents are present, it is best to let them handle the situation. Take the opportunity to open up the discussion when the time comes to become aware of the rules and beliefs that are important to them.
Understanding your child
If anyone can understand what your child is going through as a parent, it's you! Be kind to them!
In this whole process, you must trust the parents, who are also in a learning process. They have values that are important to them. They will get there—just as you did!
It's best to offer help rather than impose it, i.e., ask rather than take the initiative that may not be appropriate, call before you show up, or be aware of your children's limits.
Involvement and balance
It is also important to respect your limits in this new adventure and to consider your physical limitations, such as your health, energy, abilities, etc., as much as your mental limits, such as your fears, discomforts, or interest in being involved. It's about finding the place that works for you, discussing it with your children, and then finding common ground and finding the balance that best meets the needs of both parties.
We hope you enjoy sweet and unforgettable moments with your grandchildren!