Mum’s the word as a grandy

Balonne Beacon - - FAMILY LIFE - SHARON LUCK

“YOU’LL have to mas­ter the art of bit­ing your tongue” – that’s what friends said when they heard I was go­ing to be­come a grand­par­ent.

And they were right. When we are busy dot­ing on the new ar­rival it’s easy to miss the re­shap­ing of the re­la­tion­ship we have with our own child.

In mak­ing us grand­par­ents our child has now be­come a mum or dad and that guar­an­tees the dy­namic we have de­vel­oped af­ter a life­time has changed.

In most cases they have be­come in­stant par­ent­ing ex­perts. It can be easy to dis­miss their ideas be­cause we have been their par­ent for so long that their new role can pose a threat to ours.

It might feel like ev­ery­thing you know about par­ent­ing is as out­dated as a tele­phone book... “Mum, things are dif­fer­ent now, no­body does that any­more.”

And you’re bound to hear this one at some point: “Mum, she won’t be eat­ing that – we only give her home-made or­ganic puree.” But if you just bite your tongue and wait a lit­tle while, I promise you will en­joy the last laugh as the ruthless de­ter­mi­na­tion of a tod­dler gets the bet­ter of them.

Of course there’ll be times they are cor­rect. Re­search and ad­vice around Sud­den In­fant Death Syn­drome must not be ig­nored, but the fine art of get­ting a baby to sleep through the night doesn’t al­ways come eas­ily. This could be your mo­ment to shine as noth­ing beats a few years of baby-rock­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

As you re­de­fine the re­la­tion­ship with your child (and their part­ner) it’s im­por­tant to re­spect their de­ci­sions and re­mem­ber they are try­ing to nav­i­gate new ter­ri­tory.

Their con­fi­dence might be a bit shaky so shower them with love and kind­ness and al­ways re­as­sure them they are do­ing a good job.

There might be times you feel hurt by a sharp com­ment but try to re­mem­ber what it’s like to feel out of your depth. Most new par­ents are per­ma­nently tired and their nerves are likely to be a lit­tle too close to the sur­face, so don’t take things per­son­ally.

If you can’t bite your tongue any longer try of­fer­ing your ad­vice in gen­tle terms and give them time to think about it. I’ve found it helps to say things like “I read the other day that it can help to do this ...” or “re­mem­ber you used to like your ap­ple grated”.

Re­la­tion­ships can be a bit bumpy when new mums and dads are putting all the pieces of their new life to­gether, so give them room to do that and just nurse that cute lit­tle baby ev­ery chance you get.

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