Grandparents are often surprisingly different with their grandchildren than they were with their own children. Grandparents are candidates for elder maturity and have often learned from their own experience. By now most grandparents know intuitively that trying to control children is less rewarding than building joy in one’s family.
When you add up the time they have, how they have often outgrown their own issues and the financial resources available to grandparents, it is easy to see how grandparents are best suited to bring new skills into their extended families. Let’s look at some of the ways.
Good parents have mutually strengthened their brain’s joy center with each of their children. That means they have more practice with joy now than when they were parents. As grandparents they are better equipped to be joyful than they were as parents. Grandparents get better sleep at night and fewer economic pressures. Besides, most grandparents expect to be as joyful as they know how with grandbabies. For many children, their grandparents are as close to pure joy as the world can produce. This is a marvelous way to grow a strong brain and even give the grandparents some protection from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
It is easy for grandparents to spend special time with each of many grandchildren if they take the time to do so. Grandparents are often the salvation for “lost” children or those with special needs. Grandparents often can reach children who are locked in conflict with their parents in ways that parents cannot.
New or expecting parents have their hands and time full with all kinds of things. They have childbirth classes, painting the nursery, watching older children, night feedings and making a living to accomplish. While these things are necessary, they do not help improve how their brains will run. Parents only have the crucial control center skills that came down their family line unless they have gotten outside training. Grandparents have the time to get training and pass skills on to their children and grandchildren while they are still young. Grandparents are the most strategic source for joy and new returning-to-joy skills within a family.
In both agricultural and industrialized nations, rural and urban settings across the world, grandparents do a good deal of the childcare and child rearing. Often the cause is financial but many grandparents take the place of addicted, mentally unstable, sick or missing parents. Grandparents need to be more effective in their parenting because they have less energy to work toward results.
Mature grandparents should remember that not every child has a grandparent. Even worse, some children are in worse condition because of the grandparents they do have. Reach out and include children who need grandparents in your circle of joy, love and warmth.