“I used to think I was too old to fall in love again. Then I became a grandma.”
After the birth of my first grandchild, my world changed. I volunteered to assist my son and daughter-in-law during the afternoons, so I could see my grandson every week day. I started reading to him at six weeks. I was excited, and I convinced myself that my grandson was happy to see me. As he grew older, I looked forward to spending more time with him especially on those occasions when his parents wanted to spend evenings together. After his sister was born, we spent even more time setting up camps in the living room and reading in the Reading Corner.
Grandparents want to be supportive, but sometimes they misunderstand their roles. In this post, I will share some suggestions for supporting children and grandchildren without being overbearing.
There are many courses on parenting. Has anyone thought about writing a training course on grand parenting? Do you think that grandparents should have any problem in getting this grand parenting thing right? Perhaps! But, what if grandparents got parenting wrong? Then perhaps they may mess up grand parenting as well.
Some of my friends are baby boomers and are presently experiencing the joys of grand parenting. In fact, some of us wished we could have had the grandchildren first. You see, we can give grandchildren love, pamper them, spoil them ‘a little’ and then return home with a good conscience.
I believe that:
- grandparents do mean well;
- grandparents have some material and financial resources that they want to share with their loved ones; and
- grandparents need to understand and to be understood;
I also believe that:
- grandparents need to admit that sometimes they get the grandparent’s role very wrong;
- grandparents need to give their children and grandchildren some space – no smothering – no overbearing attitude;
- grandparents need to be observant; and
- grandparents should know when they have overstayed their welcome.
Whatever side you come down on, grandparents are very important to families. They have lots of experience, enthusiasm, time and resources. Grandparents are necessary to help to grow and nurture well-rounded, well-adjusted grandchildren. Grandparents know folklores. Grandparents give piggyback rides. If you are a Jamaican grandmother reading this post, are you the one to tell your grandchildren Anansi stories and Miss Lou’s (Louise Bennett) poems. Maybe you are. So here are a few suggestions:
- Help your grandchildren connect with the past by telling stories and answering questions.
- Offer your grandchildren practical suggestions about life.
- Offer to help with babysitting. You will benefit emotionally and psychologically.
- Spend time with your grandchildren so that they learn to love and appreciate old people.
- Teach your grandchildren some skills. These could be skills such as those related to gardening, knitting, embroidery, crochet, pottery, sewing and small-scale woodwork.
For my readers who would like to read some more, please see a link from grandparents.com below.
Talk soon….. Claire Spence
 Louise Bennett is a Jamaican poet, writer, actress and folklorist who wrote her songs and poems in Jamaican Patois or Creole.