Being on good terms with the other grandparents in your grandchild’s life is an important way to support your grandchild and their parents.
Baby Aiden is about to turn a year old. His mother, Emily, is excited about the milestone but is dreading the celebration. “Christmas was a nightmare thanks to the grandparents,” she told me. “I know there’s no way to not invite them, so I’m tempted to just skip having a party.”
She wasn’t upset by the over-indulgence or boundary-ignoring that parents usually mention when they complain about grandparents. It was the way the grandparents acted with each other: her divorced parents couldn’t stop sniping at one another, her step-parents made no effort to be civil to the other grandparents, and her in-laws seemed to think grandparenting was a competition for the baby’s love and attention.
When you become a grandparent, it is rare for that to be a solo role. You are most often one of several, and each one is just as valuable to your grandchild. Usually, each one also wants to have the same close and special bond that you hope for with your grand. In other words, being a grandparent is not about you. Recognizing that you are part of a team is the first step of providing life-long support for your grandchild and their parents.
What’s the secret of successful teams? Working together, instead of competing with one another.
If you are lucky, you can get your children to marry your best friend’s offspring. That will guarantee you like the other grandparents! And while that sometimes happens, more often the grandparent team is assembled from people who wouldn’t normally hang out together. (In fact, in some cases, the team includes someone who has specifically chosen to remove another member from their life!) While it can be a challenge to navigate co-grandparenting, it’s important to make your best effort.
Why it’s important to maintain a good relationship with the other grandparents
There are a lot of reasons why it’s important to maintain a good relationship with your grandchild's other grandparents. The main one is your grandchild, and here's why.
How to foster a friendly relationship with the other grandparents
Fostering a friendly relationship with the other grandparents is an important part of being a good grandparent. ‘Fine,’ you say, ‘but I barely know the other grandparents! We live in different states and never see one another!’
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good relationship with them. If you don’t live near them, here are some ways to foster a good relationship with your grandchild's other grandparents:
If you do live near the other grands, there are more opportunities to build a friendship with them.
Emily has a final plea for all the grandparents in Aiden’s life. “I wish they’d see what a poor example they are setting for Aiden. All these adults who could show him how to treat others with kindness and respect are showing him the opposite.”
Do you have a good relationship with your grandchild’s other grandparents? Please share in the comments!
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