I Don't Feel Like a Grandparent.
Lots of people associate grandparenthood with advanced age. Perhaps your own grandparents were old, or perhaps they seemed old to your childish eyes. In fact, the average age of becoming a grandparent in the US is only 47. Grandparents today are quite different from grandparents half a century ago. The next time you go to a mall or other public place, look at the children and the adults with them. Often it can be difficult to tell whether the adult with a child is a parent or a grandparent. There are a lot of very youthful grandparents out there. You do not have to conform to those pictures of grandparents that happen to reside in your head. You can choose your own grandparenting style and grandmother name or grandfather name. You can choose to be a groovy grandparent. On the other hand, if being a grandma appeals to you, and baking cookies is your bag, don't feel that you have to apologize for being a traditional grandparent. It's all about being comfortable in your grandparenting identity.
I Don't Want to Be Tied Down by Being a Grandparent.
Grandparents today are expected to be very involved in their grandchildren's lives. If they live close to their grandchildren, they are probably expected to be at school functions and sporting events. For some grandparents, being at these events is a no-brainer. Other grandparents may find that having their presence required is an impediment to living their own lives. In the second case, communication and compromise are key. It's never a good idea to avoid the issue. Instead, communicate honestly and openly with your children about what you are willing to do and what commitments are too restrictive.
I Hate Worrying About My Grandchildren.
Grandparents are champion worriers. To a certain extent, a grandchild is one more person to worry about. On the other hand, having more people to worry about isn't necessarily a bad thing. It may prevent a worrier from obsessing over one individual, be it child, grandchild or spouse. We cannot control the lives or our children or grandchildren. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to take joy in our relationship with them instead of trying to prevent anything bad from ever happening, an exercise in futility if there ever was one.
My Grandchildren Are a Financial Burden
Most grandparents are aghast at the idea of their grandchildren doing without something that they really need. The key is discerning the difference between wants and needs. A grandparent is not obligated to supply grandchildren's wants. Indeed, the relationship will be richer and more satisfying if it is not based on material goods. At the same time, a grandparent occasionally may have to contribute financially to children and grandchildren, especially when it's time for college. It's key to make sure that your contributions aren't enabling your children and grandchildren to live beyond their means.
I Worry About Losing Access to My Grandchildren.
Of all grandparent issues, this one is perhaps the one with the most potential for heartbreak. Can your children deny you access to your grandchildren? Yes, and this scenario occurs often. That's why it's best to avoid conflict whenever possible. Choose your battles, and resist criticizing the parenting styles of your children. Of course, in the case of abuse or neglect, you must protect your grandchildren. If the unthinkable occurs and you are denied access to your grandchildren, read up on grandparent rights and take legal action if necessary.
I Feel Guilty About Not Doing More With and For My Grandchildren.Generally, guilt is a non-productive emotion. If you are doing the best you can with your time and resources, don't allow yourself to feel guilty. Your children should be the primary caregivers for your grandchildren, unless you are one of the many grandparents raising grandchildren. Your relationship with your grandchildren should enrich your life and the lives of your grandchildren, but it should not be your grandchildren's primary relationship. Think of your relationship with your grandchildren as a joyful bonus for both of you, and don't feel guilty about not doing more.
I Didn't Expect These Grandparent Issues!
Everyone knows that parenthood brings problems as well as joys. Why do we expect grandparenthood to be different? Conventional wisdom holds that a grandparent's job is to "love them and spoil them and send them home," but that's hardly realistic. Occasionally grandparents have to deal with colicky babies and disgruntled teens, just as parents do. Enjoy the good times and get through the bad times. Oh, and you might warn your friends who are about to become grandparents: it's a wonderful experience, but it's not all fun and games.