Welcome to 2024! As we kick off this new year and new opportunities for learning, leading, and loving our families, I wanted to talk with you about navigating the challenges Grandfathers experience when caring for grandchildren.
The first challenge that I think a lot of grandfathers face is what to do about disciplining the grandkids when they are in our care. I get it. As a fun and cool grandfather, you don’t want to be in the business of disciplining the grandkids. However, sometimes, reinforcing mom and dad’s rules is called for.
For this simple fact, when the grandkids start gaining a little independence and start testing mom and dad’s boundaries, a conversation NEEDS to be had by the parents and grandparents. You need to get on the same page regarding what is permissible and what the parents consider out of bounds when it comes to course-correcting the little ones.
The second challenge that grandpas tackle is the challenge of food. I’m not talking about starving the kids or not, but rather, what are our limits for the types of foods the parents want the little ones to have? I once made the mistake of giving a tortilla chip to my grandson and quickly got talked to by his mom AND grandma. Talk about getting the old ‘one-two punch.’
Parents are going to expect grandpas to play fast and loose with some of the rules when it comes to treats and sweets. But we should be having continuing conversations with our grandchildren’s moms and dads about food. What do the grandkids like? What don’t they like? Are there any allergies? If there are allergies, how severe are the reactions? What do we do when the kids don’t eat all their carrots?
As you can guess, communication is huge here when it comes to figuring out what is and isn’t on the menu regarding feeding grandkids. That doesn’t mean that you can’t slip the kids an extra cookie here or there…as long as it won’t kill them, of course.
The last challenge I discuss in this podcast episode is about firsts. Do you remember your first….whatever it was? A lot of times with a new baby, there is a lot of stress with young parents to be around for every first. First steps, first words, first poop in the toilet, first swear word, etc.
As a grandfather, we need to be careful not to accidentally take away a first for our young parents to enjoy. Sometimes, you can’t help it. The little ones do something and bang, a first has just happened that you didn’t plan for. Kids are like that.
Just remember that when you are doing great activities with the grandkids you haven’t done before, you let the parents know what is going on. This is so they let you know that they would either like to be part of that activity or maybe want to have that moment for themselves and their child.
If you can think of other challenges that grandfathers need to be careful to navigate, let me know in the comments below.
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