The prize for having survived parenthood is grandchildren; just ask any Grandparent. With this new season of life both the parents and grandparents come into unchartered territory in the relationship arena. One would think the joy of new life would conquer any minor or major issues that arise in regards to these new roles of parenting and grandparents; that is a fallacy.
To avoid these pitfalls healthy boundary lines in relationships between married children and parents should be established prior to the children’s marriage.
Parents (future Grandparents) when your children marry; your parenting days are over. Unless the married children ask for your advice or insight you would be wise not to interfere. Now is the time to trust what you have instilled in your children to be enough to guide them through life. Yes, there will be times that they may need your help or insight but you should not be taken advantage of either. If there is not a healthy separation when they marry the married children will form an unhealthy co-dependency upon you. This unhealthy co-dependency will not allow them to grow, mature and establish a strong independent family unit of their own.
Married children; the best thing you could do prior to marriage is take a solid pre-marriage counseling course. This course will help you both to evaluate what life was like prior to marriage and how you as a couple desire to have your family unit formed. What type of foundation do you want to establish for your family and build upon? If you have been married for some time and you have not established these guidelines and boundaries now is the time to institute parameters for your family. It is fine for you as a family unit to develop your own traditions. In fact you may want to incorporate some of the traditions you both had as you grew up in your parent’s homes. It is up to you as new parents or soon to be parents to decide what part you want your parents as grandparents to play in your children’s lives.
• Go on a date with the sole purpose of discussing child rearing.
• Form a team and determine together you will not undermine each other.
• Some compromise may need to take place on both of your parts to be able to come to an agreement that you both can live by.
• Decide; how do we want our parents involved in our children’s live, remember you are the parent now and childrearing is now part of your role.
• Regardless of what you decide, respect your parents after all they spent their life raising, and nurturing you.
• You may need to take each set of parents out to dinner and express how excited you are that they will be a part of your children’s lives and discuss what role they would like to play as Grandparents. Ask them specifically; how do they envision their role to be as grandparents? Hint, if you allow them to come up with some boundaries and they think it is their idea….well you have accomplished your goal. Your parents most likely used this psychology on you more than once.
• If you include the Grandparents from the get go and what you see their part as, there will be less surprises for you to contend with latter.
• Beware even the best laid plans will have some issues that need ironed out and if you approach these issues in a mature calm fashion your parents (the grandparents) will respect your maturity and judgment and realize they did a pretty good job in raising you.
• An example of an area of conflict: One set of grandparents believe in sprinkling the baby for baptism shortly after birth, the other set of grandparents believe in dedicating the baby to the Lord and baptism by submersion is for later in life. What do you as a couple believe? Know what you believe and why you believe it.
• The Bible has great insight in this area of marriage in Genesis 2:24 (NKJV) it says; Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. In the King James Version it says: “And shall cleave unto his wife” (Genesis 2:24, KJV). The word cleave means: “To cling to or adhere to, abide fast, cleave fast together, follow close and hard after, be joined together, keep fast, overtake, pursue hard, stick to, take, catch by pursuit, cement together, to stick like glue, welded together so that the two cannot be separated without damage to both (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, H1692).” When something is cemented or welded together, it is one. It would take a great deal of major demolition equipment to separate or destroy it.
Psalms 127:1(NLT) Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
Psalms 144:12(NLT) May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.
Proverbs 14:26(NLT) Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.
3 John 1:4(NLT) I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.
Psalms 145:4(NLT) Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.
Proverbs 13:22(NLT) Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.
Proverbs 17:6(NLT) Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.
Trust me; establishing healthy relationships between parents, grandparents, and grandchildren is well worth any effort it may take! These relationships can truly be a very rewarding and a source of great love, security and comfort to all involved.