PARENT PICKLES: Focus on being grandkids' No.1 supporter
THIS week we're continuing our look into the important role grandparents play as positive contributors to our families.
In our previous column we examined some of the general aspects of being a grandparent from both their perspective and from the parents' perspectives, including the adjustment for first time grandparents.
In this column we will be discussing the more specific aspects of grandparenting on a day-to-day basis, including how involved grandparents should be and what boundaries grandparents should set.
HOW INVOLVED SHOULD YOU BE
This will vary! Some grandparents are still working, others are retired. Some grandparents live nearby, some live far away.
For those grandparents who are still working or live faraway, make use of technology. Phone calls are still great and now video calls are affordable thanks to modern technology whether it's WhatsApp, Facetime, Skype etc.
For some grandparents, they may have a difficult relationship with their own child which limits access. While this is difficult, a grandchild entering the scene is a great reason for "peace talks" and for trying to bring the family back together.
There are also other considerations beyond the tyranny of distance and work for grandparents to ponder, including their own health, personal commitments and hobbies, maintaining personal and partner time etc.
Just remember you shouldn't measure success by the time spent, but rather by ensuring you're the number one supporters of your grandchildren and their parents.
DEFINING YOUR BOUNDARIES
As a grandparent it is easy to not overthink things and just be there for your grandchildren. While this is a good first step, it is helpful to think about your boundaries.
Do you want to spend lots alone time with the grandchildren? Would you rather have their parents around?
Are you taking on too much? Is it limiting your own personal time? Impacting on your relationship or social life? Or hurting time you should spend with your other grandchildren?
It is a great idea to sit down with your grandchild's parents in a calm and relaxed environment to talk about expectations regarding your boundaries and the role you will play.
When you do sit down for a talk, be open about how you are feeling and if it is too much for you or if you want more time. Let the family talk it out.
Getting involved in your child's school
HELP AT HAND
As always, if you have further questions about this or any other health issue for your child please chat to your GP or visit our WBHHS child health team at the Margaret Rose Centre, 312 Bourbong St. Alternatively, call your local WBHHS child health team on:
- Bundaberg - 4150 2700
- Childers - 4192 1133
- Gin Gin - 4157 2222
- Gayndah - 4161 3571
- Mundubbera - 4161 3571
- Monto - 4166 9300
- Biggenden - 4127 6400
- Eidsvold - 4165 7100
Even if you just want to have a chat and a bit of reassurance, the WBHHS child health team is here to help!