By Dr Richard C Woolfson
Having a baby is such a life-changer – things will never be the same again. There are so many demands, questions and worries, especially when she’s your first child.
While you may be overwhelmed by your new responsibilities, don’t forget your parents.
Grandma and Grandpa are an important part of your new baby’s family – and they want to share in the adoration of this child. You may think their unsolicited advice drives you crazy, your baby care styles clash and they are overly confident. But you’ll all get along better if you can understand what they really feel and want from you.
Here are five common concerns that Grandparents wish you knew once you have a new baby.
Their concern “Is our grandchild making good progress?”
They want to know what’s happening with Baby – all the time. But they don’t want to bother you with lots of questions.
What you can do Keep them in the loop by giving regular reports of your bub’s changes and development. Grandparents are fascinated by the smallest details, and they take great delight in every small change.
Their concern “Will we be allowed to play a major part in her life?”
Most grandparents want to be involved, and not just be there for birthdays and other special occasions. They want to have strong, loving and positive relationships with the third generation.
What you can do Let them spend lots of time with the new arrival whenever possible. Every moment they have together helps forge a powerful psychological connection and a lasting bond.
Their concern “How will I be able to give advice without upsetting you?”
Your parents raised you and they would like to share some of their acquired parenting wisdom with you, without feeling that they are interfering.
What you can do Don’t be afraid to ask their opinions on childcare matters when you are uncertain of what to do. You are not obliged to take their advice, but there is no harm in listening. You never know – you may actually find their suggestions helpful.
Their concern “Will you maximise Baby’s development?”
All grandparents are convinced their grandchild is talented and wonderful. And they have a nagging worry that you may not stretch her abilities to the maximum. They want to know she is achieving her full potential.
What you can do Tell them about the range of activities your baby experiences each day with you, perhaps listening to songs or exploring toys. That way, they’ll know you are providing a full programme of stimulation that will keep Baby fully engaged.
Their concern “Will we live close enough to see her every day?”
It is increasingly common for young families to live overseas, as they explore new opportunities. Grandparents worry that they won’t see enough of their grandchild.
What you can do If you do live a long distance from your baby’s grandparents, make it a special point to arrange regular visits (either you to them or vice versa), and use technology such as e-mail and Skype to keep the communication links strong.
(Image: Giancarlo Liguori/123RF)