Sharing Grandchildren

Posted by Peggy Bennitt on

Grand children are one of the greatest pleasures of aging. Not only do they let us experience new life in the family again, but these new little people intimately connect us to the next generations. What a blessing! Who knew that having grandchildren is as wonderful as having your own children again, only with less of the responsibility and more of the fun! As grandparents, we get to do all the fun things: cuddling, spoiling them with “stuff”, nerf-gun fights, sleepovers, bake-a-thons, hillbilly slip-n-slides, and movie marathons, just to name a few of the perks of grand parenting. But new areas to wade through appear as we are blessed with grandchildren: the quagmire of the OTHER grandparents.

One would expect older people to have learned how to share way back in sandbox days, right? But when that long-awaited first grandchild arrives (and each one after that), those protective grandparent genes often kick in and we know that no one can grandparent as well as we can. Hmmmm!

We’ve found, through a bit of trial-and-error, that there are a few hard-and-fast rules that can make shared grand parenting a lot easier, and Grand Parenting by the BOOK helps us to focus better.

  1. Allow the other grandparents to be human too. Mutual respect for each other is imperative. If you all can be friends; that’s great. But respectful kindness, especially around the Grands, is a sign of godly maturity and a necessity, no matter what. WWJD. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
  2. The other grandparents are NOT rivals, they are allies in giving our grandchildren the best experience of love, comfort, and security possible. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
  3. Never say anything negative about another grandparent around the grandchildren. As grandparents, we want to support one another and be a solid unit of security and love for our grandchildren. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
  4. Asking the OTHER grandparents to be a part of special family functions is a great way to share the grandchildren (and your own son/daughter) without constantly making both families choose where to go or who to be with on holidays, etc. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
  5. Try not to snap up all the babysitting options. All the grandparents should be included in babysitting opportunities. Avoiding favoritism is key to successful grand parenting. “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6

When our in-town Grands were little, both sets of grandparents were available and willing to take care of our babies. WE WERE THE DAYCARE for them, and it was wonderful! The grandmas helped set the child care schedules between themselves and our own children, and often switched with each other when schedule changes cropped up. It was awesome to have backup, with parents and grandparents who were able to be flexible and take an unexpected lunch date or an appointment change without much fuss. Even with personal health care issues, both sets of grandparents were able to be with the grandchildren every week, and often daily if wanted or needed. What a blessing for us all! It wouldn’t have been possible had we grandparents not learned early on to compromise and share our grandchildren.

Grandchildren are such a blessing, such a joy! Do all that you can to be an integral part of their lives. We as grandparents are essential to God’s plan for faith-building for the generations to come. Along with that faith-building, is that gift of family and family support to hold “faith and family” together throughout life. If we love our Grands well, we’ll share them. The gift of grandchildren is even more rewarding when we share with the OTHER grandparents.

What examples do you have of grandparents who DIDN'T share their grandkids well? What tips for sharing grandchildren would you add to the list? Comment below.

Tags: sharing, grandparents, grandkids, godly grandparenting