Have you ever thought what it would be like to live with your in laws? Not your parents or his but with you daughter and her husband.
Financially there is an argument for it – costs are halved and when the grand children arrive there are built in baby-sitters not to mention some one to look after the house and pets whilst you are on holiday. Most grandparents would not mind the occasional baby sitting as long as it doesn’t morph into full time day and night care!
Situations like this work if there is reciprocity – being taken for granted is the death knell of any relationship. In a perfect world this plan should work but it has a better chance of working if the grandparents have their own accommodation such as a built on flat or perhaps converting the garage. That way each “family group ” can get way into their own space – away from close daily proximity which can cause friction – but it will always be a work in progress!
But then there is the personality side of things – sooner or later the young couple feel that they will never be “grown up” fully if they are still living with parents – the parents on the other hand would also like their own home but finances do not permit – then unfortunately there is a stalemate resulting in simmering tensions and fights over what TV program to watch and whose turn it is to make supper.
To make this work involves a lot of open and sensitive communication from both sides to find how the working relationship can work and still retain the enjoyment of the family.
Do you remember going to Grandma’s house? The curious mix of smells, sights and impressions that carved their way into our minds forever. The smell of freshly baked bread, the warm light from the lounge or the memory of a cuddle from Grandpa, can spark a lovely trip back in time to a place where life was simple and love was easy. With Grandparents you can experience a truly two-way devotion that is unique.
In today’s world it is not as easy! Grandma is not necessarily a soft grey-haired lady who stays home and bakes cookies, reads stories is always waiting to hear your stories. Grandpa’s who explain how deep the ocean is or how bumblebees fly are sometimes harder to find. Nowadays Grandma wanted/had to find a job outside of the home and maybe Grandpa is still working to top up their retirement. Maybe the kids have moved halfway across the world to fulfill their dreams. The global village has separated grandchildren from grandparents – and grandparents from being an integral part of that child’s life. Is this progress? Not necessarily.
Today’s grandparents face some interesting dilemmas. Lifestyle, distance and time – all of these were not necessarily an issue when extended familes stayed within a few miles of each other. Our grandparents often took a more active role in raising and nurturing us. They were there to help our parents , read to us, take us for walks and share traditions, family history and build relationships. Now, these same relationships take a focused effort, a partnership of parent and grandparent both dedicated to providing those experiences for their children.
So where is the magic ‘How to’ for modern grandparenting? Well, let me know if you find it! We now live in a world where there are many more challenges whether it be culturally blended families, religious differences as well as varying discipline methods.
The best is to keep these top tips in mind when looking at your own situation:
- Communication- Ensure this channel is always open between you and your children. Then you will be able to find out their parental methods that will allow your grandchildren to feel as if they ‘fit’ when they spend time with you.
- Listen – When we truly listen to what our children’s needs are we will better be able to integrate into our grandchildren’s lifestyles
- Space – Always try and have a special place for your grandchildren at your house. This maybe a room where possible, a small toy box or a comfortable corner where they can keep some of their special toys/ pictures. Having this allows them to always feel they have a special place in your home
If you have any helpful tips to share or any questions that we can put out to the community to help with , feel free to add to the comments below.