The Do’s And Don’ts Of Being An Awesome Grandparent

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Being An Awesome Grandparent

Perhaps you have just become a grandparent for the first time, or maybe you have been a grandparent for several years.

In any case we soon learn that the relationship between us and our children can change, sometimes quite dramatically, when grandchildren come along.

What Is Our Role As Grandparents?

Parents don’t stop being parents just because their kids become parents. I’m sure you have noticed that.

However when grandchildren come on the scene, the dynamic sometimes can subtly change in our relationships with our children.

Yes, often things stay the same, but regrettably sometimes the dynamic changes for the worst.

If you have been lucky, then your relationship with your children and with your grandchildren, is continuing as smooth as clockwork.

However sadly in many instances, this is not the case.

And surprisingly it is ourselves as grandparents, who often are the culprits in causing issues when it comes to the relationship dynamic between the whole family.

Sometimes grandchildren can (unwittingly of course) be the cause of relationships breaking down between adults and children. And needless to say, that is a very tragic situation.

grandparent rules

Sometimes Relationships Descend Into Real Tragedy

Some of the most extreme and tragic cases are where grandparents are actually suing their own children for visitation rights with their grandkids.

How heartbreaking is that?

I sincerely hope that’s not your situation. If it is, I want you to know that there’s some hope and there’s a better way to approach this.

The court is a terrible place to solve family problems. It violates all kinds of principles.

We’ve got to get back to the principles that allow us to have good relationships all round – between grandparents, children and grandchildren.

So I’ve come up with a few don’ts and a few do’s when it comes to the role of grandparents.

Let’s Start With The ‘Don’ts’ When It Comes To Being a Good Grandparent.

  • Don’t Force The Issue Or Make Demands.

You are simply not in a position to do this as a grandparent.

Yes, I know you’re emotionally invested in the relationship with your grandkids…and with your own kids. That goes without saying.

However, don’t force issues with the parents. You need to learn to accept your role as a grandparent, and in doing so, accept that you’re now a back seat passenger.

You no longer call the shots and you have to learn to gracefully accept decisions that the parents make, without trying to enforce your own personal demands

Trying to enforce your thinking and you’re parenting beliefs on your children, creates huge tension in the relationships. And can sometimes create fractures that may never be repaired.

The golden rule is, don’t force issues or make demands.

Here’s The Second ‘Don’t’ If You Want To Be A Respected Grandparent

  • Don’t insert yourself uninvited.

If you’re a grandparent and your kids are raising your grandkids, you have to honor their position as parents.

They’re not going to do parenting the way that you did.

Think about this for a minute – we all, as we reach adulthood, have ideas about what we want to carry on and what we want to discontinue from what we experienced as a child ourselves.

We’re going to do it differently than our parents did, right?

Do you remember thinking this when you were raising your own kids?

Guess what. Your kids are thinking exactly the same thing (and they’re not in the wrong for thinking that).

It’s their turn to learn how to be parents, and they want to do what they think is right for their children.

Your Kids Will Suddenly Become Experts On Parenting

Have you noticed how suddenly, somehow, your kids become experts on parenting?

And guess what, they’re not really interested in your opinion. I know that can be hard to accept, as a grandparent.

It took me several years to learn to take a back seat and to understand that I’m not in charge of the parenting role anymore.

This Leads Me To My Last ‘Don’t’ In Your Mission To Be An Awesome Grandparent

  • Don’t give unsolicited advice – especially about parenting.

If it’s not wanted, if it’s not requested, it will be rejected anyway.

It will be summarily dismissed, believe me.

So you’re wasting your breath giving your unsolicited advice anyway.

Be ready to provide consultation, that’s absolutely fine. But don’t give unsolicited advice.

So Here’s A Quick Recap Of The ‘Don’ts’ When It Comes To Being A Grandparent

  • Don’t force the issue or make demands.
  • Don’t insert yourself uninvited into situations
  • don’t give unsolicited advice.

This is going to make a big difference, however maybe not as much as the do’s.

So Let’s Move On To The ‘Do’s’ Of Being A Fantastic Grandparent

  • The first thing I would encourage you to do is remember your job.

This didn’t change when you became a grandparent.

What was your job as a parent? Your job was to love your kids – and that continues to be the case as a grandparent.

However, now that your children have become parents, the situation becomes slightly more complicated.

I know from personal experience, it is really easy to love those beautiful grandkids. They are a gift to you and I don’t need to tell you how much joy they can bring into your life

Your grandkids are the most awesome little beings on the planet. All proud grandparents feel that way.

However, continue to love your own children no matter what.

Even if your children have a completely different parenting style. Even if they have a different idea about diet or sleep – or whatever they do differently from what you did as a parent.

Your job must continue to be the same – you must love them, irrespective of your parenting differences


Because of the second ‘do’….

DO focus on building a strong relationship with your children – as that in turn, puts you in a position to have a great relationship with your grandchildren.

In those tragic cases where parents and their children have fallen out, and grandparents have taken their children to court in order to get access to their grandchildren, it’s a lose-lose.

Believe me, even if the grandparents do win their case, it creates so much unpleasantness and resentment, that the relationship with the grand children is not ultimately happy, in any case.

And that’s because of the horrendous conflict that it will cause between you and your children.

Of course those are extreme situations, and I hope you will never find yourself in that position.

So remember – a good relationship with your children, means a good relationship with your grandchildren.

The very best way for you to secure a permanent long-lasting relationship with your grandkids, is to take care of your relationship with your own children.

That leads me to the last ‘do’.

Please do honor their position as parents.

I know you’re wise, I know that you’ve got a lot of experience and you know you’re very often right.

But think about that for a moment – Yes we grandparents know we’re often ‘right’, however that approach has a habit of showing up in ways that are not very ‘friendly’ sometimes.

And thinking we are right about everything regarding parenting, is not conducive to a healthy relationship with our own children.

It ultimately leads us to do some of those ‘don’t‘ rules – like inserting ourselves uninvited into situations, or giving unsolicited advice.

Practice humility, which means giving up your need to be right (even though you are sure you are)

Give up your need to be right and you will find that actually things become easier.

Be open to the possibility that maybe your children, who are raising your grandchildren, are brilliant enough and loving enough as people, to do a good job raising your grandkids.

That will change the way you think and feel… And ultimately will change the way you interact with your children.

Honor your children, but most of all, honor their position as your grandchildren’s parents. And by the way, that will also mean honoring their rules.

You don’t get to decide anymore what the family rules are for your kids, once they are adults and raising their own kids.

Teaching Financial Responsibility to Grandchildren

One of the unique opportunities grandparents have is to impart wisdom and life lessons to their grandchildren.

Financial responsibility is a crucial skill that many young people lack today.

As a grandparent to older grandchildren, you can play a pivotal role in teaching this.

Consider introducing them to kids’ debit cards.

These cards allow children to manage a limited amount of money, teaching them about budgeting, saving, and spending wisely. It’s a safe and controlled environment for them to learn about money.

Plus, it’s a practical gift that can set them on the path to financial literacy.

By finding the best kids bank card provider and doing this, you are not only equipping them with essential life skills, but you’re also building trust and strengthening your bond with them.

It’s Your Turn As A Grandparent To Obey The Rules

When you are a guest in their home, or acting as an invited secondary caregiver for their children, please honor Mom and Dads rules.

If mom says we’re not going to have any sweets before bed, then don’t be plying your grandkids with sweets before bed!

This might seem obvious, but you know what – I hear a lot of people complaining about how their granparents are mishandling simple rules like that.

Mom and dad don’t want to be overruled by grandparents, so please try to resist the temptation to do that.

(The only exception to this rule of course is in the rare situation, where your children are perhaps abusing drugs and neglecting their children etc – that’s a whole different discussion for another day).

So honor your kids as parents in their own right. They know what they’re doing, they love their children and they’re very likely going to do a good job raising your grandkids.

Just like you are probably quite proud of the job you did raising your children, right?

So, to conclude – come at this from the position I’ve described above….and it’s going to positively change the energy between you and your kids.

The role we have as grandparents, is such a privileged role. And there are clear ways to preserve that stability, simply by following the principles above, as much as possible.

Remember the ‘don’ts’ and remember the ‘do’s’ and you should hopefully find yourself in a lovely harmonious relationship with your children and your grandchildren

I wish you all the best in the relationships with your children and grandchildren.


  • Roberto

    Roberto, dedicated 20 years to the financial sector before leaving that industry and retraining as a counsellor. He has now retired and enjoys writing and using his knowledge and ability to help others. In his spare time, he is an avid skier and also enjoys more mundane pastimes as family board games.

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