New Grandma

Facts about becoming a New Grandma

Mixed feelings are generally experienced by the prospect of the arrival of grandchildren; sometimes the new grandma or grandpa may feel a bit of trepidation about the idea of being a grandparent.  Then, after the baby arrives, it can sometimes be a struggle to understand the implications and your new role of being the grandparent.

Getting used to the idea

Although most parents say they look forward to becoming grandparents, in truth some can do an abrupt about face when that possibility becomes a reality.  Why?  It often signals that age is creeping up on us; a fact that many individuals simply find difficult to accept.  Whether the pregnancy has been long waited or comes as quite a surprise, the reality of your child having a child is something that may take a little getting used to.  For one thing, parents rarely become accustomed to the fact that their child is actually now a fully functioning adult that can make decisions for themselves.  We seem to habitually see them, at least in our mind’s eye, as still being our children.  We remember how, after the first week’s excitement of having a new pet, the children were unable and disinterested in caring for it.  Memories of the messy teenage bedroom, the constant loss of personal items and the irresponsibility showed when they didn’t make curfew times. How could these same children now suddenly care for a tiny infant? 

Generally after the first few weeks has passed, the grandparents to be slowly become accustomed to the realization that their roles of parents will be shifting more to their roles as grandparents.  Suddenly, the new grandma and grandpa find themselves becoming quite excited at the prospect of meeting this new addition to the family.  They may begin shopping for baby clothes, baby furniture and other paraphernalia.  By the time the baby arrives, they are usually ready to welcome the baby with open arms.

The uncertain role of grandparent

One of the most difficult hurdles for a grandparent to overcome is to realize that this tiny, adorable baby is not theirs.  The grandparent, while essential to the life of a child, is basically a backup to the parents.  The new parents will clearly have their own ideas on raising and disciplining their child, and often do not welcome unsolicited words of wisdom or advice in these areas.  The role of grandparent is a blank slate in each family, waiting to be etched in through trial and error.  Women especially find that taking a back seat in deference to the new mom and dad to be a bit of a challenge, since they have spent years in the driver’s seat making decisions and generally taking charge. 

Most experts agree that the best relationships between grandparents and new parents are forged when the grandparents take their cues from the new parents.   Remembering back to the time when they themselves were the new parents and were formidably protective over their new charge should help to guide them through this initial period of shifting family roles.  The reassurance that there will certainly be plenty of times ahead when the new parents will reach out and ask for help, guidance and advice can often be enough. 

One role in which the new grandma and grandpa will revel is in the ability to simply love the grandchild without having the responsibility and worry of raising the child.   This unconditional love is rewarding many times over as the child grows and holds the grandparents in a special place in their heart. 

Life is filled with new experiences.  Becoming a grandparent may be a hurdle to overcome for some people in the beginning, but most find the role to be fulfilling and satisfying once their roles as grandparent becomes established.