Did Your Parents Become the Grandparents You Thought They'd Be?

Filed under: Relatives

Old photo of grandparents

For most of us, there was a point at which it was hard for us to imagine ourselves as parents. And, possibly, in the farthest recesses of our minds, it was even harder for us to imagine our own parents as grandparents. Inevitably, as we became more comfortable with the idea of a family, generally when those of us who are gals became pregnant, so too we started thinking about our moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas. But, what kind of grandparents did you think your parents would turn out to be? What about your spouse/partner's parents? Most of us, I'd wager, thought our parents would be the same kind of grandparents that our own grandparents were. Images of cookie baking and learning to drive pop into mind. Chances are, though, that your parents surprised you when they became grandparents.

Some grandparents are great--they're there when you need them and love your child unconditionally, letting you and your spouse/partner decide how to raise your children. You call or see them frequently, share an occasional meal, let the kids spend the night or the weekend, and accept that fact that what happens at grandma's stays at grandma's. Contraband candy, ice cream, cookies, getting to watch TV, staying up late--all of this will happen. Then there's the other kind of grandparent, the one that is always there, even when you specifically asked him/her not to be there, doesn't listen to your requests and ignores your decisions. They raised you--or your significant other--and darnit they know better than you!

Most grandparents, I guess, would fall somewhere in between. And for those grandparents who think they know best, well, perhaps they do. We as new parents are just beginning to understand what it was like for them raising us; honestly, we'll never really know fully what it was like as the times have changed, the world has modernized, and we think because we have the Internet and other technology that we know everything. Heck, all my mom had was the Dr. Spock book, and by golly it was all she needed--me, too, frankly. In reality, raising kids is a crap shoot. We should be thankful we have the grandparents there to help or listen or just stop by with (in my mind) a freshly baked blackberry cobbler. Or to tell us how we're changing that diaper wrong and that if we don't burp the baby she'll get colic or that we really ought to get a housekeeper....

What about you? Did your parents surprise you in how they acted once they became grandparents?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.