Being a grandparent is rewarding and challenging at the same time.
Most grandparents relish this challenge and say there’s no better feeling in the world. Changed family circumstances, caused by divorce or even the death of a parent can mean grandparents have either a greatly increased or a reduced involvement with their grandchildren.
Research suggests that most step-grandchildren consider the step-grandparent relationship important, and are eager for more contact with step-grandparents and to maintain this relationship as they get older. Communication with the parents (your children) is essential in the initial stages, as they may need you in a different capacity than before. They may be particularly sensitive to criticism or your opinions as a result of the changes in the family. Accept that the new family formation as it changes and extends all takes time to settle and there will be a role adjustment for everyone involved.
A few things to consider
• Acknowledge that you may be disappointed, angry, delighted etc. with your adult child and his or her previous partner, following the break-up (or whatever the situation is) and accommodate for this. Seek advice from wise friends or just let yourself reflect on these feelings, rather than blaming or initiating conflict if possible.
• Don’t expect everyone in a stepfamily to bond straight away, this will take time. Allow adult children and their new partners the time to make connections in their own way. Don’t expect close relationships; accept that given time new relationships will be formed.
• Be particularly understanding of teenagers, they can feel particularly shy and awkward with new arrangements.
• Although you are important in your grandchildren’s lives, initially it may take a while before you are able to spend the quality time that you want, be patient and supportive.
For some practical ideas and tips that Grandparents can use and also some information on Grandparents and Family law head here to our website http://stepfamily.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Stepfamilies-grandparent_web.pdf
And if you need help – please reach out!
Stepfamilies Australia www.stepfamily.org.au or 9663 6733
Family Relationships Advice Line 1800 050 321
Lifeline 13 11 14
Raising Children www.raisingchildren.net.au
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or www.kidshelp.com.au
Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 978
My Mob App – a positive family communication app to stay connected to one another wherever you live and whatever your family looks like. Go to www.my mob.com
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