The next step is sharing your vision statement with parents.
Have you written your grandparent vision statement? Last week, we talked about why that’s an important first step in committing to your role as a grandparent. The next step is both simple and, for some, difficult: sharing your vision with your grandchild’s parents. The easy part is this: once you’ve got your vision written down, send them an email with the details. In that email, or in a follow up conversation, explain why you wrote it and what it means to you. That might be the hard part for you—because it may feel as if you are sharing something personal. But it is incredibly important to share it, for more than one reason.
Sharing shows you value your role as part of a team.
Too often, parents feel cast aside once they provide you with a grandchild. It’s hard for many of us to lift our focus from the enchanting being that has entered our lives! By sharing your vision statement with them, you let parents know that you value your relationship to them in their role as parents. It shows that you recognize that they are the key to realizing your goals as a grandparent, and sets the groundwork for a relationship based on mutual respect.
Your goals are easier to achieve if the people involved know what they are and why they are important.
Sharing the details of your goals will make it easier for your grandchild’s parents to support you. I often send mail to my grandchildren, and many times there is a request for them to call me or otherwise respond to my notes. Until I told my son and daughter-in-law that this was part of my goal of creating connection, they didn’t realize it was important to help their children respond. If I had crafted my vision statement and shared it with them from the start, we would have been on the same page.
Sharing can open a dialog about your intentions that can head off potential trouble spots in the future.
After you’ve let parents know what your goal is and how you hope to get there, ask them if there are any areas they have questions or concerns about. For example, I’ve spoken with many grandparents who list faith as one of the values they hope to pass on to their grandchildren. However, not all parents feel comfortable with the religion they grew up with, or they may have a partner who has a different approach to spirituality. By having a conversation now, you can find out what will work for all of you. Parents may be open to you sharing bible stories and prayers, but not to taking your grandchild to church with you. You will all be better off if you understand each other from the beginning. Remember, they are the parents and get to decide how they want to raise their children!
It’s impossible to build strong bonds with your grandchildren without respecting their parents, and sharing your grandparent vision statement will set the stage for a successful partnership.
Next up, how to use planning to achieve your grandparenting goals and create the relationship you want!