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Successful step-grandparenting

Created date

August 25th, 2009

A lot of people, myself included, deplore the fact that younger people often see older people as being all the same. Just because we have gray hair and some wrinkles doesn t mean that we ve lost our individual identities. And yet the truth is that in the minds of young people, we get lumped together into one big grayish puddle. Obviously, being stereotyped is not a good thing, but in this particular case, being stereotyped could act as camouflage, so that step-grandparents could be accepted more readily by their step-grandchildren because they fit the stereotype of grandparent. While a child may resent a stepparent, the addition of a new set of grandparents doesn t carry the same baggage. To kids, grandparents are these adults who can t really boss them around and very often come attached to some sort of present. You may not like it, but the fact is that as a step-grandparent you won t be treated that much differently from a real grandparent. While a stepparent has to tread on eggshells, at least for a while, I m telling you to forget that you re a step-grandparent and act just the same toward a step-grandchild as you would toward one who shares your gene pool. The odds are that this step-grandchild will be very accepting of you and welcome your hugs, smiles, warmth, and gifts. Of course, there are going to be exceptions. If the reason they are your step-grandchildren is the result of a nasty divorce, and they blame your son or daughter for breaking up their family, they may show resentment toward you as a way of showing their displeasure at the entire situation they find themselves in. But I want you to remember that if they act standoffish toward you, it s because they ve been hurt and whatever love you can offer them will probably soon enough be well-received because they are in need of extra loving and attention. Because they re feeling vulnerable, it s only natural to erect a protective wall around their emotions. In your disguise as a harmless senior, you can easily break through this barrier and do a lot of good, both for the child and this blended family in which you suddenly find yourself.