There is a very fine line that many grandparents who are parenting their grandchildren have to toe. Being a grandparent/parent is not as simple as it probably sounds. Yes, we have had the experience of parenting our children, but our grandchildren are not “our” children and things are different, especially if it has been a while since you’ve had a child or teen in your home.
How are they different? Read on!
1. You can’t spoil them and then send them home
It is an unwritten rule, but our job as grandparents is to spoil our grandchildren—and then send them home!
As a grandparent with whom your grandchild lives, when you send them “home,” they are home. And a spoiled child or grandchild is not a lot of joy.
The fine line comes into play because as a grandparent, you want to spoil your grandchildren. You want to give them gifts and things they may not normally get at home. But when they live with you, it really makes it difficult. You still want to spoil them, but you also know that you have to live with them at the end of the day.
Because in most cases you are providing everything for your grandchild(ren)—from food, to clothing, to shelter, to toys—it can be difficult for you and them to understand where the line is.
I must admit that my granddaughter is probably more spoiled than most, but because I am providing for her every need, I have a difficult time knowing when to say “no” when she wants something. I know that if I don’t get her the thing she wants (not needs, those things that are needed are a given), she doesn’t have grandparents to get the thing for her to spoil her—I have to do it.
It is a fine line and it has been a learning experience for both my spouse and I and our granddaughter to see what we will and can do without making her insufferable!
2. Discipline can be a tricky topic
Within guidelines, we all know what we “can” do to discipline our children. When it comes to grandchildren that we are parenting, it can be a tricky time.
I grew up in a time when it was perfectly acceptable to get a spanking on the rear-end when I was naughty or did something that wasn’t acceptable, but lying or stealing.
But in the past 30 years or so, spanking has been frowned upon, and not just frowned upon, but has actually been a basis for children being taken from their parents.
I hated getting spankings, but I learned very quickly what was acceptable behavior and what wasn’t. I think the quickest way to the brain of a child or teenager is through a swat on the rear!
When you are a grandparent, though, you may not feel comfortable disciplining the child. You may throw your hands up in frustration because “time out” doesn’t work.
Like I said, discipline can be tricky. We usually talk with our granddaughter because we don’t spank her. We don’t do time out, either, but we do take TV or tablet time away. We need her to understand that what she did was wrong.
3. Other grandchildren may not understand
Sometimes our other grandchildren are not sure where they stand. They know that they are all our grandchildren, but they see the things that we get for the granddaughter that lives with us. They question why they can’t have the same things from us.
We try to explain that it is because she doesn’t have her mommy and daddy living with her, and we have to get those things for her, but it is still a difficult conversation to have because they are young (our oldest grandson is 10). He probably gets it better than the other grandchildren, but it is still an extremely difficult thing to explain.
4. You can’t take them to grandma’s house if you want a night out
My spouse and I did not have children living with us for several years before our granddaughter came to live with us. We were used to being able to take off at almost any time and stay out as late as we wanted.
When our granddaughter moved in with us, those days were gone. We were now tasked with finding daycare and a babysitter when we wanted to go out. (Click here for our article about daycare and babysitting!)
We don’t have the luxury of taking her to grandma’s house to spend the night—she’s at grandma’s house all the time!
The fine line finish
Don’t misunderstand us, I have said this many, many times, I would not change a thing with having our granddaughter living with us. Her being here has changed our lives in many beautiful ways. But as a grandparent, we do have unique sets of problems that many “parents” don’t have to deal with. We do our best to “parent” our granddaughter the best we can. We need to teach her just as if we were her parents, but we also have to keep in mind that we are still her grandparents, too.
As you can tell, it’s a difficult subject to even write about. There is no real “finish line” here, either. We are in this for the duration! And we wouldn’t have it any other way!
We would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave questions or comments below and we will get back to you very soon!
Note: In compliance with FTC guidelines, please assume the following about product links and posts on this site: Any/all the product links on grandparentssecondstory.com are affiliate links of which I receive a small compensation from sales of certain items. This does not change the price of the item at all.