Becoming a parent for the first time is a wonderful feeling and I’m sure becoming a grandparent for the first time is a similar feeling. A grandparent has witnessed their child now have their own child. The bond between a grandparent and grandchild can develop into something amazing and watching your child’s bond grow with your parents is lovely to see. But a grandparent role and a parent role are very different and when the boundaries are crossed, neither parent nor grandparent will be happy.
Your child’s grandparents are there to support you becoming a parent for the first time and they can develop a strong relationship with your child. They don’t get to make parenting decisions, they should listen to what you want for your child. They can always advise you in a nice way but never go against you behind your back.
My parents have always been perfectly on track with the grandparent role. They’re involved but not too involved. They have a great relationship with my kids and my kids love when they get to spend some time with them. But it’s not overbearing. They are there when I need them, but they never push their help on me. They let me come to them when or if I need their help. I know I’ll always have someone to watch the kids if I need a babysitter at short notice. They’re there for us as a family in the right way.
However, that’s just one example of a good relationship. My oldest son has a completely different type of relationship with his grandparents on his dad’s side. They are his dad’s parents, and his dad and I are not together so it’s a lot different. They don’t really have any type of relationship with me or us as a family. They take my son for one day a week and do such amazing, fun things with him, that he cries all week to go back to Nana and Grandad. I think he actually prefers them over me sometimes.
What you don’t want from grandparents is them making you feel like you’re not good enough for your own kids and that you need their help. That sort of behaviour comes across as patronising and doesn’t show respect for you as a parent or as a family. I am lucky to have grandparents that are there for me when I need them but never cross that boundary and are never overbearing or controlling.
Overbearing grandparents can cause quite big rifts in the family on both sides and it’s not healthy. While my kids’ grandparents will always be a big part of their life and their relationship is so important, there are still boundaries in place and I’m glad they respect that.