Becoming a grandparent can be one of life’s most rewarding milestones. It’s almost like you get all the great parts of being a parent without any of the hard parts!
But in reality, is it that easy? Or is it one of the hardest things you’ll ever do? Here are some common misconceptions about grandparenting:
You have to be active and healthy to be a good grandparent
This common misconception arises from the idea that you’ll need to be able to chase the kids around constantly, saving them from one pitfall after another as they careen from hot stoves to busy streets to bathroom medicine cabinets. But the truth is that even someone who is fairly limited in mobility can form wonderful, strong relationships with their grandchildren. Maybe you can’t take full responsibility for them during a long babysitting jaunt if you’re not able to move around readily, but you can have the kids over (with their parent if necessary) for a visit. Share stories with them, either from books or from your own memories. These can be the best kind.
Grandparents are little old men and women, with white hair and creaky knees, who sit in rocking chairs all day. Actually, there are plenty of people who become grandparents at a relatively young age. The average age for becoming a grandparent is 51 for men, and 50 for women. These people often have great opportunities for making a difference with their grandchildren. They are often in an established place in their career, perhaps with financial stability, and now that their own kids are grown, they sometimes have time they could only wish for when they were parents.
Handling grandchildren will be just like how it was to raise your own kids
Don’t be fooled. Kids’ personalities vary widely, and your grandchildren may have temperaments that are different from your own kids. You may find yourself “starting over” in your experience with handling kids.
Kids nowadays are too hooked on TV and video games to want to be with grandparents
It may not happen all at once, but a good relationship can be built with time and effort. Don’t force it, but through consistent effort and showing true interest in the child, in time, they will respond. Play games with them — board games, card games, and so on. Ask them questions about what they are doing, and then listen sincerely. Kids can sense when people are being genuinely interested.
Enjoy your grandchildren — spoil them with lots of love, and just grin when you get to hand them back over to their parents when the kids are tired and cranky. It’s the best of both worlds.