What to do when grandparents are uninvolved

By admin
04 May 2014

You may have expected your parents to be wildly excited at the thought of spending time with their grandchildren. But what do you do when grandparents are less than eager to babysit, play with or interact with your offspring? We give you some practical tips on approaching this sensitive issue.

You may have expected your parents to be wildly excited at the thought of spending time with their grandchildren. But what do you do when grandparents are less than eager to babysit, play with or interact with your offspring? Pam Gillingham, social worker and director of The Family Life Centre in Johannesburg, says this is a tricky situation which must be treated with sensitivity and caution. The important thing is to be understanding and not to exclude your parents or your partner’s parents from your children’s lives.

How do I approach the situation?

1.       Manage your expectations

You must approach every situation and conversation knowing that the response is likely to be a disinterested or negative one. This is important as it means you’ll not be as disappointed when you feel let down.

2.       Listen to their point of view

You need to understand why your or your partner’s parents don’t want to be involved. There may be reasons you’ve not thought about. Perhaps they aren’t financially able to provide for their grandchildren or aren’t healthy enough to deal with little children.

3.       Speak calmly; don’t be aggressive

The last thing you want to do is alienate grandparents from their grandchildren. So speak carefully and be sensitive to their feelings. If you feel yourself getting angry mid-conversation, stop and breathe and either carry on or end the conversation and resume when both parties are ready.

4.       Don’t take it personally

It isn’t necessarily about you. They may be going through something you don’t understand. Also understand that at the end of the day it’s their choice whether or not they want to be involved.

5.       Always put your children first

No matter what happens, your children are the most important thing to you. Make sure they don’t feel the tension between you and their grandparents. Make excuses for grandparents when needed and spare your kids knowing there’s a problem.

-Shandukani Mulaudzi 

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