We've heard a lot recently about the importance of politicians "crossing the aisle" and considering issues from the point of view of opposing party members. For harmonious family relationships, parents and grandparents also need to "cross the aisle" occasionally. For her book When Being a Grandma Isn't So Grand, Donne Davis interviewed moms about what they'd like to say to grandparents. Here's a sampling of their advice:
- "Check in with your kids about how THEY are doing with all that's on their plates, not just how the grandchildren are doing."
- "Grandparent with the parents' philosophies in mind. If you have questions about their parenting method, ask questions or do your own research."
- "When you call your kids, ask if it's a good time to talk, and assure them that if it's not, you can talk later."
A good many moms expressed the desire for grandparents to be more involved in their grandkids' lives and for them to take the lead in planning activities. That didn't surprise me. One of the most active topics in my forum is the one about uninterested or disengaged grandparents. While I am certainly not a disengaged grandparent, I imagine that my children might want to say to me, "Don't use being busy or being tired as an excuse not to be with your grandchildren. You'll be sorry when they are young adults and have their own lives." Then again, maybe that's just the voice inside my own head.
What do you imagine that the parents of your grandchildren would say to you if they could speak freely?