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Archive for December, 2015

Developing Healthy Relationships between Your Parents and Your Children

Love and time…need we say more?  How about wise historian, mentor, confidant, elder, counselor, spiritual guide, financier, playmate or parental antidote?  These are all roles that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren.  And grandparents are a growing force!  The number and percentage of the population that grandparents account for has grown dramatically in the last 15 years – from 58 million to 78 million.

 

Here are a few ways that you can help foster a healthy relationship between your parents and your children:

 

  • When planning a visit, talk about how you can help and what you should bring to help things go smoothly.  Discuss recent routines and help your parents childproof their house – more to keep your child safe than to protect the crystal. This communication
    provokes less defensiveness in grandparents, and helps them be a part of the solution from the start.
  • Relax some rules, but don’t compromise your core values. For instance, sweets seem to be a generational prerogative, but television monitoring should continue according to your child’s habits and your beliefs.
  • Children and grandparents are so close because they share something in common – you!  They can share stories, secrets, etc. that allow children the experience of close relationships with a loving family member who is not wholly responsible for their future happiness, homework or well being.
  • Spoiling is not a helpful approach to grandparenting and most of them know it.  Positive expectant attention is best.  Interestingly, today’s grandparents are so busy, I think this is less of a problem these days.
  • Enjoy the relationship your children are developing with your parents.

 

When misunderstandings or problems occur (and they are bound to), it’s better to figure out a way to talk about them than to avoid each other. That is too steep a price for your children. We all want this relationship to work because the benefits are forever.

by Kyle D. Pruett, M.D

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