Grandparenting: You had your turn!


Lately, I don’t get to see my granddaughter as often as I’d like (she’s very popular, so her dance card is quite full), but I always make sure to inhale every second I can when I am with her. I still sit and look at her in wonder… in awe.

I created that!

Yes—me!

Had it not been for my ovaries and Easy Bake Oven, that little girl would not be on this earth.

Yeah, yeah. Don’t give me that, “It takes two to tango” crap. It was all me. And if do say so myself, I definitely don’t make junk! That child is adorable and leaves a trail of melted hearts everywhere she goes.

The perfect example is when we were at the bank, and an elderly man came in. She immediately stopped stamping the teller’s stamp (on whatever paper she could find), and turned to him and said, “Hi man!”

Old man heart melted.

Then, as we finished our transaction and turned to leave, she walked up to that same man and said, “Bye man. Nice to meet you!”

Multiple hearts decimated!

Seriously. This kid just brings me to my knees whenever I’m with her.

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Well, during that particular bank visit, it was quiet, so I had a chance to chat with our favorite teller. We got onto the topic of grandparents (since she is currently baking her second bun in her oven). The conversation was geared specifically towards domineering grandparents.

We both come from ethnic backgrounds that scream “outspoken” when it comes to the behavior of the matriarchs. My heart went out to this young mother, and I wished I could be her children’s grandmother so that she’d have some relief.

Later that same week, I met for coffee with a friend who is currently on maternity leave. She also expressed her woes over dealing with Matriarch Extremists.

Are your surprised that I have established, yet another, Veronicaism?

Matriarch Extremists.

I had a run-in with one such individual who felt it was her duty to make my daughter feel “this big” as she passive-aggressively voiced her opinion that my granddaughter should be potty trained. Let’s be real—there was no “passive” in her aggressiveness at all, and I wanted to smack her across the mouth with each ignorant word that spilled out of it. If I were to recount the complete altercation though, this week’s blog would go on for miles.

Long story short—I shut that woman down and ended the conversation. But, unfortunately, not before my daughter felt completely attacked and insulted.

YOU HAD YOUR TURN!

I don’t usually use all caps, but this topic deserves it.

YOU HAD YOUR TURN to raise your children.

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The fact that you feel you must now control how your children raise their children, must mean that you did a shit-ass job the first time around, and are trying to make up for it.

Oops… Did I upset some folks with such a blunt statement?

If you raised your children to the best of your ability, then you MUST (yeah… all caps again) allow them their turn.

I’m not saying that you must muzzle yourself completely, but what I really need to stress is your delivery of your message to your children.

If your child is doing something with their child that you don’t approve of/agree with, there is a way to deliver your message without causing resentment.

To save myself some time, I’ll quote my previous blog on grandparenting where I used the analogy of comparing being a grandparent to being the passenger on a sight-seeing road trip:

“Although, as a grandparent, I’m going along for the ride, I do still offer direction and guidance to my daughter. I don’t screech, “Turn left, TURN LEFT,” but instead might say, “The last time I came this way, I found that sometimes traffic was a little lighter if I turned left at that street up ahead.” If she chooses to keep going straight, then that is her choice as the driver, and she will take what is coming up ahead in stride.”

Unless you are morally or adamantly opposed to something your child is doing, you need to find a different approach to telling your children how to raise their children. It is completely acceptable to offer advice or guidance as your child stumbles along their new path of parenthood, but it is the delivery that matters.

I cannot stress this enough.

It’s all about the approach and delivery of your message.

Refrain from using words like:

  • You must…
  • You should…
  • You shouldn’t…
  • Don’t…

 

Instead, use words like:

  • Have you ever tried…
  • Something that worked for me was…
  • I’ve heard that some people…

Even if you are screaming inside because you cannot stand something your child is doing, find a less aggressive way to voice your opinion. I guarantee you that it will be better received that way.

By nature, we are stubborn beings. So if my mother (or a “well-intentioned” individual) told me what to do (whether it was to clean my room, or how to raise my child), I would air on the side of defiance, just for the sake of being defiant.

Just for the sake of being independent.

So, before you well intentionally deliver a message to your child on how to raise their child, take a step back and find a less domineering way of saying it.

I promise you, if you take this approach, you’ll be the grandparent who gets the best macaroni frame for Christmas.

Remember… YOU HAD YOUR TURN.

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