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Recently I blogged about the topic of helicopter grandparents.
They are over-eager grandparent, rushing to “help” their children raise this next generation, even when they are not needed or wanted, thank you very much.
In other words, the grandparents cross the line from being an involved and caring, doting grandparent to being an interfering one.
And in the process, these grandparents may cause much damage. They need to take a deep breath, slow down, and just enjoy their grandchildren.
You know you’re guilty of helicopter grandparenting when:
1. You give your grandchild a gift, and then check up after several days with whether or how the child is using the gift.
We all know that a gift is something you give to another person – with no strings attached. Once you make rules about how they use the gift, you are stepping into controlling territory.
2. You complain to your children when your grandchildren are shy and don’t greet you with exuberance.
All kids are different, and as a grandparent, you need to respect the individuality of your grandchildren. If anything, when you are impatient with a shy child, he or she only clams up and pulls back more. Just be warm and loving, and the children will reach out to you eventually – even the shy ones. Don’t take it personally that one of your grand-kids is shy.
3. You are privy to TMI (too much information) negative or challenging details about your grandchildren’s lives – information that you find out through their parents – rather than the child him or herself.
Grandparents do not need to know every detail about their grandkids’ lives. It causes them to worry unnecessarily. Most things are worked out by the parents, family or kid themselves. Unless the child shares with the grandparent and asks advice, or if parents share of their own accord, it’s TMI and not helpful for the family as a whole. Grandparents need to realize that their children have their own lives and while it’s perfectly healthy to share and be involved with one’s married couples and families, sometimes things get a bit too close for comfort.
4. You give your adult children advice unsolicited, and when you notice that they don’t follow your counsel, you remind them repeatedly how they are making a huge mistake.
This is called nagging. We all know that it’s hard to avoid it when we feel we know what’s best for our grandchildren. After all, we raised our own kids and we can prevent our children from making the same mistakes we did (if we even made mistakes, right?). But still, if you want your kids to resent you, then keep nagging. Otherwise, give them the space to do things and live their lives in their own preferred style. It’s hard but very important for a healthy relationship.
There you have it. The short list of things you may be doing which will alert you to the dreaded title of HELICOPTER GRANDPARENT.
Tags: grandparent behavior, helicopter parenting, meddling grandparents, relationships with grandchildren