Many grandmas write to me and ask how to improve relationships with their adult children.
Most parents and adult children want to have good relationships but then something happens. Someone gets mad, feelings get hurt, or maybe there’s divorce and remarriage, more children and that can complicate things. People are more mobile these days and families may not live close together. Distance can make it harder to be close. Even parents and adults who live close to each other don’t always make time for each other. Jobs and children’s school functions can keep parents so busy they don’t take time to visit their own parents.
So how do we have good, solid relationships with our grown children?
Because this is such an important topic I asked other grandmas to share their advice on my NanaHood Facebook page. I was honored to receive so many great tips
Suggestions from Grandmas
Make sure your grandchild knows you love and respect their parents.
Grandma Joy says: “I praise my son and daughter-in-law while talking to my 3-year old granddaughter. I refer to my DIL as her “pretty mommy.” When I hear my granddaughter getting sassy with her mommy, I tell her it makes me sad when she talks to my friend that way. I think showing love and respect to the child’s parents in their presence helps our grown children know we honor their position.”
Relationships with a daughter-in-law can be harder than with your daughter.
My daughter-in-law and I are very close, but I know from listening to other grandmothers that this relationship can be very hard.
Grandma Laurie said, “I think it all depends on whether you have a daughter or son. It’s tougher with my daughter-in-law than with my daughter. I can tell my daughter exactly how I feel; however I can’t do this with my daughter-in-law. I fear sometimes if I were to voice my opinion honestly with my daughter-in-law, I’m afraid she would keep my granddaughter from me. It’s definitely a hard balancing act. I bite my tongue a lot and pray. I invite them over all the time and make my home warm and inviting to them. They know they are welcome here whenever they want to come.”
Ask yourself why the relationship needs improving.
Grandma Edie says: ”Try to be objective. Ask a close friend to be honest with you and give you her opinion. Make sure you are ready to hear and accept what they have to say.”
This is very good advice if the friend knows you and your son or daughter very well. If she only knows your side of things, she may not be able to help as much.
Know all the facts before making a comment and don’t give advice unless asked.
Grandma Linda says: “I always make sure I know both sides of opinions. I do not give out advice unless I am asked. The way you say things can make a huge difference. Instead of saying ‘this is how it should be done,’ try saying ‘this is the way I used to do it.’ Don’t hold on to hurt feeling or grudges; talk about it when it happens, not six months later when a mole hill becomes a mountain. You won’t always agree but you should always respect each other.”
Be patient and willing to listen.
Grandmoth Elaine advises, “Be very patient and forgiving, always ask them if they have had a good day and have a listening ear. Always try to make up very quickly after a spat and don’t let things fester. All you can do is your best.”
Treat your adult children with respect.
Grandma Theresa says: “The first thing we as the parents have to acknowledge, is that our ‘babies’ (aka our adult children) now have ‘babies’ of their own, and therefore will not tolerate us treating them as ‘our babies.’ They have earned the right to raise their children as they wish. If you want to see your adult child and grandchild, it’s on your shoulders to make the arrangements so you can enjoy their company. Don’t offer advice, unless they ask. Never say, ‘Well, I would never have done that’ unless you want further alienation. If you want a relationship with your children and grandchildren, put away your old game of Monopoly in the closet, and buy the newest Xbox 360 and update your playing skills. Never forsake the ways of our past, as parents, and call them often to just listen. Don’t call, to condemn or judge, for they will always be our ‘Babies,’ and our grandchildren are the bonus of our children’s love.”
Advice from Teresa
My grandmother always advised all of us to never go to bed mad at someone. She was right. Resolve problems as fast as you can and forgive and forget squabbles. Life is so short and we never know what tomorrow holds. If you love someone, forgive them. We are all human and make mistakes. If we want forgiveness, we have to give it.
My prayer life intensified as my children grew. When they were teenagers and began driving and being exposed to life out in the real world, I realized that I could no longer protect them from certain things. But I knew who could and I prayed daily. Now my prayer life has grown to include my grandchildren and my day begins and ends with a prayer for each child (even though they are grown) and each grandchild.
Be swift to praise and slow to criticize.
Being a parent is the hardest job I ever had. I made my share of mistakes, all parents do. I want to be an encourager to my children and grandchildren, not a discourager.
If you have other suggestions, please share them in the comment section. I really want to know what you think!