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Remembering You're No Longer The Parent

Remembering you’re no longer the parent may take a little practice at first, but it’s really the core of what kicks off grandparenting joy! Now there’s a child or children in your life again who loves you and wants to be loved in return. Of course, there are serious moments of directing and maybe even correcting, but overall the grandparent-grandchild relationship becomes one of enjoying time together, teaching, sharing, and having fun. You typically don’t have the responsibility of rearing, providing shelter, food, and clothing, and getting them through school.

Two grandparents hugging and enjoying their time together

Embrace it!

Develop your new role and release your children to be parents. Actively create that bridge or transition between generations. Use your wisdom gained from experience to share ideas in non-threatening ways. Maybe that looks like creating a date night kit for your children and being the babysitter. Maybe it looks like picking the children up from school for an after-school treat and socialization. By recognizing and respecting your children’s roles and responsibilities, you are acknowledging their parental authority as well as defining your place in the Grands’ lives.

Embrace it by taking pleasure in teaching and sharing skills.

You have so much to offer your Grands! Take time to teach them whether it’s crafting, gardening, or sporting. Do some of the things you didn’t have time to do as a parent. Help round out their education with life skills and hobbies.

Embrace it by capturing the legacy of your family.

Explore the family history, skills, and stories, then pass them along to the youngest generation. Make it a part of your intentional grandparenting activities. Capture stories in writing and bind them into booklets for the young ones. Make recordings. Copy old photographs. Every generation that passes takes with them thousands of memories and family information. Children may not fully appreciate or understand the value of this knowledge at young ages but one day they will and you can prepare time capsules for them now that they’ll appreciate later.

Release your children to be the parents they will develop into.

Help create the smoothest transitions possible between generations by honoring the place your children hold in your grandchildren’s lives. Who is better to do this than yourself? You are older and can cultivate healthy intergenerational relationships by stepping aside from being the parent and helping your Grands learn to respect their parents as both caregivers and authorities in their lives. Help build relationships that bud into healthy adult friendships as Grands and your children grow into their older years. Be available to help and encourage, not dominate.

Remember you’re no longer the parent and embrace the wonderful role of grandparent. You can be one of the most influential people in the lives of your grandchildren.


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