Over the past few weeks, I’ve been immersed in the world of grandparenting as I’ve been privileged to talk with over 20 experts on a range of topics related to grandparenting. (You can visit this page for summaries.)
While each interview addresses a different aspect of the parent/grandparent relationship—and in some cases, focuses on grandparents caring for or raising their grandchildren, one common thread runs through every conversation.
Mutual respect and healthy communication is invaluable.
Two things stand out that I’d like to share:
• If you’re a grandparent, it’s really hard to avoid giving advice, even if your adult kids (The Parents) have not asked for it. Something seems to be encoded in our DNA that urges us to try to help our young avoid repeating mistakes we have made. And if we believe our grandkids will be harmed by a parent’s misstep, it will be even harder to resist weighing in.
• If you’re a parent, it can be really hard to politely turn down advice you haven’t asked for. It can also trigger old, painful feelings around believing that your parents don’t trust or value your opinions. Parents who struggle with self-doubt may long for their parent’s approval. It can be hard to show appreciation toward grandparents if their comments undermine our confidence.
What can parents and grandparents do?
They can talk openly and honestly. And they can listen to one another.
If you tune in to the Grandparenting Summit, you’ll hear speakers– often respected, experienced psychologists–confess to how tough it is to keep from sharing “helpful suggestions” when their adult kids are struggling. Even when they know that expressing concern or disapproval might trigger an argument, it’s not easy to stay quiet. Grandparents want to share their hard-earned wisdom!
You’ll also hear parents speak tenderly about how much their parents’ involvement and support means to them and their children. When they’re worried or overwhelmed, the first person they often turn to is their own mom or dad. Listening is truly an act of love, and sometimes it is the greatest gift we can give our adult kids or grandkids.
The hours I’ve spent with the brilliant women and men who have participated in this series has been life-changing. I hope you’ll take advantage of their wisdom, and use it to create loving, healthy, respectful relationships across the generations in your grand family.
For more, visit https://susanstiffelman.com/grandparenting-summit-live-registration/