There is no doubt that there are as many grandparent personalities as there are personalities in general. Most of them bring something to the table of value. Some are caregivers, when their children have to work. Some grandparent mostly by the example of their lives.
My grandchildren, whom I call the 'Grands,' live across America. I can't smother them with kisses. I can't wipe away a tear. I can't solve an immediate problem. I cannot share their immediate joys because I cannot be involved in their everyday lives. I am truly sad about my set of circumstances.
Don't fret, just because they call you a 'grandparent' doesn't mean you can't kick it up a notch and enjoy all that life as to offer. Think entitlement. And don't turn white with fear. Being a 'grandparent' doesn't age you -- embrace it.
We learn to be grandparents while we are still only parents. Even as our children are tiny, long before we can imagine their offspring, we are watching and learning from those who have parented for far longer than we have.
I was recently contacted to potentially mediate a litigated divorce matter prior to trial, which is rapidly approaching. My name had been included on a list from the attorneys, along with two other mediators.
Over the past three generations, theories about self-esteem have dramatically changed. Now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and it turns out my grandparents may have been on to something. There is mounting evidence that constant praise may be damaging our grandchildren.
Two weeks with a two-year-old and I've learned lessons that I never learned in school or from the 20 years I've spent working with families. It's easy to give advice until you find yourself in the trenches with a determined, impulsive two-year-old.
I'm always struck at the number of grandparents who turn up at my readings. During the discussion afterwards, they usually ask similar questions; 'I have a granddaughter with autism. What should I do when she flaps her hands?' or, 'Why do the tags on his sweater bother him so much?'
Grandparents far too often fret and fear that they're somehow not the grandparent they should be. For all you worry-wart grandparents, I suggest you stop fretting about the following when it comes to your grandchildren:
As I become aware of how much more I'm being called upon to be, I also see there is much more available to me than I ever knew was possible. I know this is true for me, but I believe it's true for all of us.