Grandmother Hazards

Eighteen short years ago, I learned that I would have a new title in this life. Twelve grandchildren later, I have become very fond of my name of endearment, Grandma . With this phase of my life have come several motivating challenges for which I am grateful. I have endeavored to be the best grandmother I know how, and in the process, have found that there are times when I need to speak up and times when I need to be quiet. There is an art to being a grandmother that involves knowing when to stop the spoiling and when to start the disciplining.

Grandparents are generally well known for their spoiling abilities, but it can cause deep troubles with their parents. I enjoy teaching my grandbabies how to handle a mouse and a computer when they are barely old enough to talk. The problem with that, I have come to realize, is that whenever they are with me, they think we should just play computer games together. Their parents won’t even allow them to touch their computer because they know their children will monopolize it. So, I have discovered that in order to develop a special bond with my grandchildren I should spend our time together reading, singing, playing outside and also offer other educational and fun things to do.

Spoiling the grandchildren can also be hazardous. An example is the time when I thought I was ready to take care of my oldest grandson for an extended period of time – almost a month. Since he has three other siblings, I usually don’t get enough one-on-one time with him. We had many happy times together, but the poor child nearly starved to death because I didn’t force him to eat all of hisfood. He would find every clever little excuse not to eat what I gave him, especially food that was good for him. He was used to his parents forcing him to eat everything on his plate. I felt very guilty handing him back to his parents a few pounds thinner than when he arrived. I decided after that experience not to take any child for more than a week until they have developed a very healthy eating habit without coercion.

It is universally known that Grandma’s house is the place to get candy or treats. I usually keep a stash on hand to reward little acts of kindness or thoughtful words by the grandchildren. Bribery with goodies is also a very useful tool when a job needs to get done. However, this action gives a bit too much added pressure on the parents, because they don’t have the means to reward or bribe them constantly, or the money for the dental bills resulting from overindulgence.

I started lavishing gifts for every holiday, birthday, Christmas, and sometimes for no reason at all on the first grandchild. Now that I have twelve young ones to worry about, this seems like a never-ending challenge as well as being quite expensive. The older ones compare their gifts from Grandma with the others, and will ask me why I prefer the one grandchild to the other. I have found that occasional telephone conversations with those that are far away help out the situation.

Discipline should ultimately be done by the parents of my grandchildren, but it is my duty to uphold the rules they have already set and support their family goals. When I am with my grandchildren, I try to be patient and loving, but must get firm when they get out of line. It is important that I am cheerful and optimistic, demonstrating by the way I live that “life is good,” but that we also need order, discipline and respect for others to be successful.

This new phase of my life has brought many challenges I didn’t expect. Being a loving grandparent does not necessarily mean merely spoiling the child. It involves a strategy for teaching, supporting, comforting, supplementing, and advising when asked. For me to positively influence these precious little ones, I must learn the basic principles of being a grandparent. I would hope that in the next few years my relationship with my grandchildren would grow. What I do and say will have a great impact on my grandchildren and influence our relationship for many years to come.

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Comments 20 comments

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

sounds natural to me - there is this secret competition going on between grandparents - don't tell anyone though.


nannie pat 6 years ago

I never thought I would have such overwhelming love and joy with my new grandson. he is just coming up to his second birthday. As we live almost 150 miles away, i am not able to see as much of him and my daughter as i would wish. What i would like to know, is it natural to feel jelousy towards the other grandparents who live just up the road and see him all the time


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Greg - congrats - being a grandparent is much better than being a parent.


gf899 profile image

gf899 6 years ago from Central Florida

As a soon-to-be grandparent, I really appreciate this excellent advice. I think I will bookmark this so I can use it for a reference later.

Greg


Papa Sez profile image

Papa Sez 6 years ago from The Philippines to Canada

Hi elayne, I miss my mom who passed away almost three years ago. She would have had enjoyed her 11 grandchildren now (four of them mine!), just like you with your 12.

Glad to know you. Thanks for this hub and for your recent visit to my profile page.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Glad you feel the same as me habee. They definitely are "grand" even when they are naughty. lol


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I LOVE being a Nana! I have 7 grands and another on the way. I quickly discovered why they're called "grand" children! Loved the hub.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Good for you Linda. Kids are great (sometimes!) I do have my moments when they can drive me crazy. LOL


Linda Myshrall 6 years ago

It sounds fantastic! I will forever be relegated to being the doddering, eccentric old auntie. I certainly do admire a woman with the warmth and grace to embrace 'Grandmadom' as you have.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Mekenzie - Glad you are enjoying your makapuna (grandchildren).I sure do enjoy mine too.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 6 years ago from Michigan

Being a Grandma, or NaNa in my case is one of my greatest JOYS at this stage in my life. These little people who trust you with their whole hearts are so precious. I agree that diogenes is really missing out and he could change the course of a 'generational curse' his hurtful grandma passed down to him... Thanks Elayne for this warm and wonderul hub!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I can hardly wait 'til we get to come and see the young 'uns. And of course, the older kids too. Love and aloha!


LianaK profile image

LianaK 6 years ago

Thank you for being such a wonderful grandma to Ileina. She absolutely adores you!!! So do all the little ones. Can't wait for Christmas. Love you mom!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks for all the great comments. It isn't easy, but I am enjoying the journey. Aloha!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

You know, Elayne, it seems such a stretch to go from 'Empty Nest Syndrome' to 12 gkids, but I must admit-I can't wait!

Maybe not 12, however. :o)


UPStar profile image

UPStar 6 years ago

Very Nice! Lots of good input on how to be, not only a good grandparent to your grandchildren, but also for your own kids sakes.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I would have thought when you have an experience of bad grandparents you would make sure you will be different but apparently not. Diogenes, you how much it hurts so why do it again. Also you don't know what you are missing. Those little arms lovingly aroudn you and and the the eyes gleeming like stars. I am sorry you will miss all that.

Thank you, elayne001, for writing such a perfect hub covering all aspects.


Jake 6 years ago

We for sure love you and grandpa!! The kids light up every time we talk about you guys :). Cant wait to see you for christmas.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Wow - I guess I was so lucky to have some very loving sweet grandmothers. Sorry to hear about that diogenes. My husband kind of feels like you but I am trying to get him to pay more attention to the gkids. Aloha!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

I had the grandma from hell! Now I am a grandpa, I don't let any of the four g-kids call me "gramps," just my first name. Really can't be bothered with any of'em: kids, grandkids; prefer pets. But you seem to be making up for the lack in ability of other granmas and grandpas. Your kids are lucky to have you... Bob

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