Google+ Authentic Parenting: Top 10 Tips on Authentic Grandparenting (rerun)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Top 10 Tips on Authentic Grandparenting (rerun)

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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The Shattuck Family, Aaron Draper Shattuck
Where parenting isn't easy, in these days of information overload, grandparenting isn't either. Your children seem to do things so very differently from what you did when you were a parent and you don't know where you stand. You're probably just trying to be helpful, but it seems as if your child isn't happy with the advice you are giving. Here is a list of tips on how to be an Authentic Grandparent and how to keep the family relationships healthy and harmonious now that a new generation has been added to the genealogical tree.
  1. Respect your child's parenting decisions. Your child may not have chosen the same path you did for parenting your grandchild. this may be difficult, maybe even hurtful. It might make you doubt about their feelings of how they were parented. However, it is important to respect their parenting choices. Times have changed, opportunities are different now. If you ignore their choices or keep going against them, you might be creating a breach that isn't going to fix itself. A result may be that you get to see your grandchild less frequently. You are not the parent of your grandchild.
  2. Trust your child. Your child is now an adult and a parent, treat him or her as such. Even if you don't agree with the choices they have made, trust in them. They are acting in the interest of your grandchild and are doing the best they can. They have learned from the way you parented them and are now making their choices based on that experience. Give them the freedom to do so.
  3. Support. Even if you don't understand or agree with the way your child parents your grandchild, your support is needed and valuable. Chances are you are the closest and most trusted individual to your daughter or son. Their parenting can be stressful and insecure, there is more information out there then there ever was. Many things are very contradictory, so choices are ever so hard. Be there for them and follow their lead.
  4. Read. Take the time to find some information about parenting or grandparenting (such as this article). If you don't know where to look, ask your child to point you in the right direction. Many things have changed since you were a parent, a lot of the directions that were given in your day are now found to be obsolete and have been replaced with other directives. Inform yourself about these topics instead of readily rehashing what you have been told when you were a parent. 
  5. Show you're interested.  Don't let your fascination with the little creature overrate your interest in your child. Show an interest in the way your son or daughter parents, ask them about it without judging. Be interactive and present.
  6. Ask before you buy. The first thing you want to do when your child is expecting is run out and buy something, and when the kid is there, you probably want to get some presents and spoil the kid a little. Before you do, ask the parents if they have any specific wishes. If there is anything they really want, respect these wishes. There is nothing more embarrassing then to get stuck with gifts nobody wants, that wind up in a dark closet never to be used. 
  7. Only give advice when asked. Even if you are dying to share all the little things you think you know better, don't! You will only get your child worked up and this might put a strain on your relationship. If your child comes to you for advice, good, now's your chance. But only give advice respectfully and without judgement. Give advice that is founded. Don't pretend that you're the oracle of parenting.
  8. Respect the child's natural rhythm. You don't get to see your grandchild all the time and you may be really excited when you do. However, take the time to listen to your grandchild. Follow their lead. Don't engage them in the activities YOU want to do.
  9. Help out where needed. Your primary interest probably goes out to your grandchild, but make sure that you aren't losing sight of your child. Maybe you can be more helpful doing other things than holding the baby. Cleaning up a little or having a good conversation with your child may be much more needed and valuable. Make sure your child knows you are there for him/her.
  10. Be open to dialogue. Don't think you know everything about parenting because you have raised a child. Be open to talk about parenting. Offer an ear when needed and never judge. 




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31 comments:

  1. fabulous advice,i totally agree with everything you said!

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  2. Great points! I think the most valuable is to update yourself when you are a grandparent on the literature!

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  3. Fab. Wish this existed in German so I could uhm..share it on Facebook for my mum.. ;)

    Nev

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  4. @Nev: I could try but I m not sure my knowledge of German reaches that far

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  5. Wonderful! I guess grandparent issues are pretty common amongst the natural parenting community! I have a pretty good relationship with my mom, but sometimes I just have to say, "No, I'm the mom." In-laws are another story... :-)

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  6. Excellent advice! The internet has given us access to more information than our parents had, so there are more choices and more support for us out there... but it really is nice when Gramma and Grampa get on board with your choices as the parents :-)

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  7. I love love love this list!! And would love to forward this to my mom and in-laws!! Though they do respect our choices much better than they use to :).

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  8. Awesome list. I may have to send to my mother-in-law. If she would only follow #1 I would be very pleased for starters.

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  9. I’ve been reading to my grandkids over the Internet. It’s great to be able to share story time even when we’re not together. It has enhanced my relationship with my grandkids. I went to www.readeo.com and used the code readtome92 and got a 1-month free trial!

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  10. What a great list! This applies to great-grandparents, if your child has them around, too. Thankfully, the grandparents in our life are pretty good about these things.

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  11. Good stuff! I've been thinking about this, lately, from the other side of the relationship. I think it's important to realize as children that parenting in a way that's radically different from the way we were raised could be taken as an indictment of our parents methods or abilities, and to be more understanding when the grandparent does something we don't necessarily agree with.

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  12. That's completely true, Liam, there should be a mutual understanding. Sadly, most parents of people who are parents right now come from a rather selfish, unconscious style of parenting and it is hard to be authentic around them and in those relationships

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  13. Fantastic post! I'm very blessed with my in-laws, and my parents have been remarkably accepting of our ways, despite the odd comment (of concern) here and there. I think this is a great post though!

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  14. I love these tips, especially the ones about asking before you buy and respecting the child's rhythm. What a great way to show respect to both your child and your grandchild!

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  15. @mamapoekie I agree with your "it was the style at the time" sentiments, and I agree that it's uncomfortable to lay out the differences between the parent you want to be and the parent that they are When that conversation takes place, however, it should be done with care, and corrections to the things that they say to your kids, or whatever, should be conscientious. My wife is really good at those kinds of communication, even when she's uncomfortable or outraged at something that has happened.

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  16. I completely agree with you; Liam... Sadly, sometimes the rift is so large, no matter the diplomacy, there's nothing to be done. I'm a little sensitive myself on the topic, because we've been trying to be very forthcoming and relax with our parents, but it still has come to a breaking point with mine.
    But that said, yes, if the conversation comes to why the style of parenting is so different, then indeed, I think one should be gentle and maybe mention research and current situation instead of how one was raised, even though that might be a big impact
    Thanks for the conversation, just letting you know I really appreciate it

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  17. My son is lucky to have two incredibly supportive, attachment-parenting grandmas! My mom is still breastfeeding my younger brother (at two years old) and I derived most of my parenting wisdom from her. And my mother-in-law has nothing but praise for the way I parent -- though she's a mom of ten, she thinks I'm way savvier than she ever was, haha.

    Now my own grandmother is another question entirely. She's been undermining my mom since her first child was born, and has already sent me a few articles on vaccination and such. But that's just the way she is and I don't really let it get to me. My own mom knows I know what I'm doing!

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  18. The funny thing is, with our grandparents, we have quite some differences on the topic too, but we let that slide, because they are so very old and you know they're not changing, and they're not really expected to be informed, whereas when it's our parents, the link is so much closer, and they're still active people, they are capable of becoming conscious about these things, so it's much more difficult when it doesn't go across like that

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  19. What a marvelously respectful list. I can think of no way to subtly hand this over to my parents and in-laws, but I'd love to!

    There are things I could complain about with Mikko's grands, but for the most part I've appreciated that they've stayed out of our decisions — whether they talk about us behind our backs or not, at least they're not usually outwardly criticizing us! Good enough for me. :)

    The "ask before you buy" — so important, especially in a small home. We've had to train them on that one!

    And "respect the child's natural rhythm." I wish they took this more seriously, as Mikko gets exhausted when they visit or we visit them. But, still, it's good they're in our lives & in his life!

    Thanks for this.

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  20. on 6: I have the same conversation at my house. I keep feeling like I should apologize for suggesting things that the kids will actually play with, but there doesn't seem to be much point in the grandparents spending money on things that will wind up in the back of the closet.

    and 9: You're right. Sometimes I want my mommy to myself for a conversation and dinner, and don't want to share her with my kids. :)

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  21. Great post! My husaband and I were lucky that our parents all gave support and acceptance of our parenting style. Now that I have married adult children, it'll be my turn before too long to hopefully pass on that same support and acceptance. What a fun challenge! Deb @ Living Montessori Now

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  22. Great advice! I try to remind myself that my parents did the best they could, just as I am doing the best I can. I'm sure my kids will do the best they can, and they will probably find ways that fit their families that are different than the way we do things now. That's ok with me, as long as children are being raised with love, respect and healthy boundaries.

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  23. This is great perspective. I'm going to etch this is my memory, so it's common sense when I became a grandparent. Who knows what the world will even be like in, like, 25 years from now?

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  24. What wonderful ideas! My mom has been very respectful about our parenting style, but my in-laws are another story. Sigh.

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  25. Great post. I wish every grand parent was as wise as you :)

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  26. Thank you, Isil, that's very kind of you. Are you Turkish?

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  27. What a GREAT post! Thank You!!! I am lucky my mom and dad follow the same outlook on being grandparents, but my inlaws not so much. Maybe I'll send them this link ;-)

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  28. Wonderful post! I may print this out and send it to my in-laws.

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  29. I'm honored, this means a lot coming from you

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  30. my mother in law could have written this! she's fabulous!

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