It is a privilege to be a grandparent. It provides an opportunity for the elder to witness and share the continuity of family values, traditions and heritage in the next generation, and to spend wonderful time with the grandchildren. A loving and caring grandparent is an important emotional and caregiving support, a mentor for experience sharing and a role model for positive living for both the grandchildren and their parents. Below are some advices in positive grandparenting:
How to ascertain your role as a grandparent in the family?
- Ask yourself “What kind of a grandparent do I want to be?” Clarify your expectation in terms of your desired role and degree of involvement in the family.
- Keep a clear and open mind in communicating your expectation on your role and level of involvement with the grandchildren's parents.
How to align with their parents in grandchildren's upbringing?
- Set ground rules with them and follow through together. Effective behavioral management requires consistency among all caregivers.
- Avoid spoiling your grandchildren by using materialistic rewards as a means of reinforcement.
- Discuss with their parents before buying any gift for your grandchildren. Don’t buy any parent-disapproved items (e.g. video games, pets etc).
- Help to resolve conflicts between your grandchildren and their parents impartially.
How to resolve discrepancies with their parents in disciplining grandchildren?
- Minimize your intervention and let the parents individualize their own parenting style.
- Avoid criticizing their parents in front of your grandchildren as it would lead to their distress and embarrass your adult children.
- Keep an open mind in child rearing practice.
- Listen to your children and hold a family meeting to resolve differences in opinion so as to reach a consensus.
How to maintain a close relationship with your grandchildren?
- Keep close contact with your grandchildren and join their activities.
- Understand their world by getting involved (e.g. visit their schools, watch their favorite TV programs, listen to their favorite music, get to know their friends, keep in touch with new technology).
- Keep in touch with your grandchildren by means of phone calls, letters or emails.
The role of grandparents will change as the grandchildren grow up. The grandparents can be playmates when their grandchildren are young, become a mentor for advice when they get older. Successful grandparents are also confidants and close friends of their grandchildren. On the journey of grandparenthood, grandparents continue to grow, learn and change together with their grandchildren, leading fulfilling lives.