What has happened to the family unit? How has it changed through the years?
You’re living in a truly global world. It’s so easy to travel. Extended families that might have stayed together in the past now move hundreds of miles apart. You might not see your grandchildren as often as you like, which makes your time together all the more precious.
Here are just a few of the ways that you can improve your bonding experience:
Work with the parents
As a grandparent, it can be hard to accept that things have changed since you were raising your children. Cultural differences have a huge impact on how children are being raised, as do scientific and medical developments. The rules are very different now, as are the choices that people make.
As a grandparent you need to maintain relationships first and foremost with your own son or daughter and their partner. By accepting their way of working and understanding that the decisions are theirs to make, you help to create a consistent environment for your grandchild and can be sure that everyone feels comfortable with your presence. If you’re critical or go against a parent’s wishes, or if you’re in any way dishonest or sneaky, this could reduce the amount of contact that the parents allow with their child.
Remember that what might seem innocent to you, like giving your grandson a chocolate bar because it’s a ‘grandparent’s job to spoil their grandchildren’, could be a much bigger issue for your grandson’s parents when healthy eating is now at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Know your limits
Don’t damage your independence by trying too hard to keep it. You might not want to accept your restrictions at this age, but there are some things that you’re no longer physically able to do. Trying too hard to do things that you’re not capable of can actually harm the time that you spend with your grandchild.
If you struggle to walk, don’t keep trying because walking aids are ‘for old people’. A day out with your granddaughter won’t be much fun if you’re in pain and you have to keep stopping. Mobility scooters don’t have to be used permanently, so why not buy a used mobility scooter for occasional use to make the most of those day trips? See mobility aids as a positive, not a negative.
Likewise, it’s fine to accept that you’re not capable of the babysitting and one-to-one care of your grandson. This isn’t a failing on your part. If you try, you risk a situation where you’re not entirely able to keep your grandson safe. You might also damage your relationship with your grandson, because you’ll be forced to restrict fun activities or might resort to shouting because you simply can’t keep up. Seeing your grandson whilst his parents are around, rather than looking after him on your own in the hope of quality ‘alone time’, could be the better option.
Use modern technologies to your advantage
Mobility scooters aside, there are other modern technologies that can improve your bonding experience. A laptop or phone, with a video messaging service can keep you in touch over long distances. Your grandchild can sit and chat with you, sing you songs, show you their artistic creations and speak as though you’re in the room. Video chatting software can be extremely valuable when you don’t see your grandchildren frequently. Skype has long been the preferred choice for grandparents, but Facebook Messenger now offers a video call option. Being on Facebook can also keep you in touch with your grandchild’s daily activities, as the parents share photographs and funny stories.
Bonding with your grandchildren won’t always be easy, but with a bit of adaptation there’s no reason that you can’t enjoy a strong, enduring and fun relationship without missing out on anything.
Mobility Smart is an online stocking of mobility equipment including pain relief equipment, first aid kits and tools to make life easier for anyone that’s suffering from a temporary or permanent mobility difficulty.