If you’re a new grandparent, you’ll rightly be feeling very proud and happy. With your own parenting experience, you’ll have plenty of tips to pass on to your son or daughter and their partner as they adapt to their new roles!
But there’s a warning to heed here: advice isn’t always welcome at these times. However tempting it may be to provide constructive criticism, it’s important to hold back as far as possible and let the new mom and dad learn from their mistakes. They’re likely to feel tired, emotional, and sensitive in the early days, welcoming reassurance over corrective comments. Uninvited tips will need to be given with the utmost tact, or preferably, resisted.
Here are five key parenting areas where you may need to bite your tongue for the time-being. Don’t worry, Grandma will have her time to shine! 🙂
1. Name choice
You may love your grandchild’s name, or you may not, in which case, keep this disappointment to yourself…
Naming the child is the parents’ privilege, just as it was yours in your time, and their tastes may be quite different from yours. Fashions in baby names change through the generations, and they might even choose one you’ve never heard of. They may also have a specific reason for their name choice, such as its meaning or association, or they may just love its sound!
Many grandparents struggle to come to terms with their grandchild’s name, but if you’re one of them, don’t despair: you’ll come around to it over time. Trust me!
2. Feeding arrangements
There are no set rules for how or when to feed a baby, and your son or daughter may be following different methods from the ones that worked for us. For example, your own baby might have been breast-fed, whereas your grandchild may be bottle-fed, each way having benefits to offer. Likewise, parents can enjoy some flexibility in feeding intervals, so while some set strict time intervals, others feed their babies on demand. It’s therefore important to hold back from advocating your own approach over theirs, however tempting. Instead, do your best to help the parents manage the method they’ve chosen, unless you are seriously concerned for the baby’s health or welfare. If you feel a need to speak out, remember that a gentle hint will go further than a direct instruction!
3. Baby clothes and accessories
Is your grandchild being dressed as you would wish? The outfits and colors your babies wore may be out of fashion now, so you’ll need to move with the times and embrace the parents’ choices as best you can!
The traditions of blue for a boy and pink for a girl, for instance, are less strictly adhered to these days, with outfits available in all colors and shades and often presented as unisex garments. Baby equipment can be another source of contention between the generations, and you may find some of your son or daughter’s choices go against the grain. Perhaps you prefer the big, sturdy prams of earlier times, for instance, whereas they might opt for a lightweight, portable version.
They may also spend money on accessories you consider unnecessary, but, provided they have the funds available, that’s a matter for them to decide. If the purchase isn’t yet made, by all means draw their attention to any downsides you’ve spotted, but if their minds are made up, leave it there.
4. Sleeping arrangements
Did your own baby sleep in a cot at night? If so, you may find different arrangements in place for your grandchild. The parents may think it more convenient to have the baby in their bed with them, or in a crib alongside.
They may also put the baby to bed at irregular times according to their current sleeping patterns, whereas you may have encouraged set waking and sleeping habits with your own infant. If the current arrangement works for parents and baby alike, the best thing you can do is accept it, too, however strange it may seem to you!
5. The baby’s behavior
With your parenting experience, you may notice discrepancies in behavior between your grandchild and your own newborn as you remember them.
The new arrival may seem to cry more, sleep less, or respond differently to their surroundings, for instance. But take care not to worry the parents with any negative observations or comparisons.
It’s important to remember that every baby is different, as are their circumstances and surroundings. Some are naturally more wakeful or active than others, and some love to use their voices while others lie quiet, absorbing the scenes around them.
If you have any serious and well-founded concerns, convey them to the parents as gently as possible! They’ll greatly appreciate it. 🙂
While the expert advice of an experienced grandparent is not always well received by newbie parents, positive comments are a different matter. Let your son or daughter and their partner witness your pride and joy in becoming a grandparent to their precious baby! Make a point of celebrating the new arrival together, reinforcing the bond between you all, ready for years of shared joy ahead. This won’t be hard to do! 😉
As a grandparent, you have an important role ahead, and your grandchild is fortunate to have your love and care. There may be one or two little clashes in parenting methods between you and the parents, but take their choices on board, and they’ll value your support all the more! If they should find themselves in need of advice, they’ll know who to ask… The Devoted Grandma!