Balancing love and time for all your grandchildren
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 10:55
“I have two children, and five grandchildren. I provide childcare for three grandchildren and the other family are getting fed up about the fact that I see more of my daughter’s children than those of my son. Families! Any advice?”
As time goes by, you may find yourself with several sets of grandchildren and an expectation that you will find the time and energy to love and see them all in equal measure. When this involves offering childcare for one family, but not the other, things can get difficult.
- Often grandparents provide childcare for just one family – usually because that family just does not have enough money to cover these costs. Get your children together and encourage them to discuss the economic situation and make clear that it has nothing to do with favouritism, but with necessity.
- Make time for your other grandchildren during the weekend – you could set a specific time for visits or treats. A holiday with them would be the ultimate treat.
- Get the grandchildren all together – perhaps after school, or for a welcome the weekend treat can break the ice between the families.
- Negotiate extra time off from your childcaring duties when you feel another grandchild is unhappy or missing you.
If things get worse
At the Grandparents’ Association, we find that family feuds are the top issue amongst those contacting our helpline. Jealousy and resentment amongst families is a major problem, and providing childcare for one family could generate conflict.
Finding a peaceful resolution can be difficult, if not impossible, when both parties stubbornly stick to their guns. It helps if everyone decides as a family to try listening to each other and negotiating instead.
- Work out if the issue is worth fighting over.
- Try to separate the problem from the person.
- Try to cool off first if you feel too angry to talk calmly.
- Keep in mind that the idea is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.
- Remember that the other party isn’t obliged to always agree with you on everything.
- Define the problem and stick to the topic.
- Respect the other person’s point of view by paying attention and listening.
- Talk clearly and reasonably.
- Try to find points of common ground.
There are services available to help family members work through difficult issues of conflict. Seek professional advice if you think you need some assistance.
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