I once read an article that asked “Why do grandparents and their grandchildren get along so well?” The answer was “Common Enemy”.

I’m sure that the intent of this story was to illicit a chuckle from the reader but often, in my private practise, I see an unhealthy alliance between these two separate generations against the parents of the children.

Being a grandparent has a number of advantages. Often retirement allows time and finances that were not present for individuals when they raised their own children. Grandparents have “experience” and “wisdom” that they may have lacked in previous years and frequently enjoy being with young people who they can send home after a holiday. The shared experiences can last a lifetime for all concerned.

I do feel strongly that the decision to let other family members or friends in for the delivery needs to be a private decision made by the new parents to be. When I had my children we didn’t have that choice.

With my first one my husband was excluded, with the second he was allowed into the labor room, and with the third my husband was able to be present at the birth. Much to my delight this change in hospital policy happened within just four and a half years. I would have liked him to be there for all the deliveries.

Wait until everyone has had a chance to calm down and think. Most often, it will sort itself out with one of the grandparents happily choosing an alternative. If it doesn’t and no one will compromise, there is no real reason for there not being two Grandmas. It is usually just easier for the family’s to differentiate if everyone is called by a different title.

I am very cautious about supporting the parents in their roles and openly supporting their decisions to and in front of the children in order to not diminish their positions.

Each of us has the power to create and promote healthier relationships. How have you done this within your family? Remember, your actions become the memories of the generations who follow.

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