There really is no such thing as a perfect family! What you may have imagined, may never come to fruition and this can come full circle when it comes to grandparents and grandchildren. There is this ideal created that all children will instantly and always be in love with their grandparents. But what happens when your children don’t like their grandparents? Should you force the issue and make them spend time together?
The answer is a tough one.Even if you don’t always agree with your own parents and hold some resentments about the way they treated you, most adult children still want their child to have grandparents.And they want their children to love their grandparents.In return, they hope and pray that their parents will see the error of their ways and magically turn into those grandparent type people that are depicted in Disney movies.The problem is that just because some people get older, doesn’t mean they change.And being a grandparent isn’t everybody’s dream come true.Your kids may not like their grandparents because the grandparents seem distant or unable to relate themselves. If this is the case, then you should confront your parents when your children aren’t around and see if they are interested in a relationship. If they are, try to come up with a plan that works for them and is predictable to include your children in their lives. If they seem unwilling to bend or meet you half-way, just know you have done all you can and make sure your children don’t feel snubbed.
Another reason that your children may not like their grandparents is because they don’t get to spend enough time with them. This could be because you don’t allow them to or because the grandparents are so busy living out their retirement dreams that grandchildren don’t fit into the picture. Either way, relationships take time to create and just because we are related to someone, doesn’t automatically ensure that we love and adore them. The best thing a parent can do is try and allow time for the relationship to blossom and see if it does. Instead of thinking on the larger scale of visitations, be satisfied with simple trips to McDonalds or chatting via Skype or e-mail. Remember, nobody can live up to your expectations all the time and just because you think things should be a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s how they will be.
You also need to take a look at yourself. Often, adult children who have pent up resentments or anger towards their parents will unwittingly show this to their children. It might not be a spoken word, but more of an action or presence that you have when the grandparents are around. Your kids will pick up on this.Often adult children, will make comments about grandma or grandpa in front of the kids that show their dislike or distaste for the grandparents. And while you may not mean it as a way to shut them out from your children’s life your children may feel they have to choose sides. Most of the time they will choose yours out of loyalty. If this is the case and your children are old enough to understand that you don’t particularly ‘love’ your parents then explain it to them. Tell them that although they weren’t great parents to you while you were growing up, you still think that they will be wonderful grandparents. Remind them as well that the grandparents love them. This shows them that you don’t feel threatened by them seeking out a relationship with their grandparents.
There are also plenty of times where the grandparents don’t really like their grandchildren. Yes, this hurts! A lot! Generational issues and traits often have adult children and their parents at odds at how to raise kids. You probably don’t do everything in the same way that your parents did. You might even have a child that is a bit of a brat or uncontrollable at times.Your parents may not enjoy spending time with them because of behavioral issues. Your parents may not understand behavior disorders or your techniques at discipline. Although frustrating, chances are you are not going to change their mind. Rather than try to force them to spend time with your kids, make sure that you are present so they don’t have to be the disciplinarian. If the grandparents tend to be harder on your kids than you are your children may feel threatened by them and unsafe. Your only safeguard is to supervise and be present when they are together with the hopeful outlook that a relationship and understanding will develop.
If your children do not like their grandparents, it is up to you as the adult to try and figure out why. Depending on your family situation, you may be able to help this relationship with counseling or by making changes that can bring the two generations of family together. It can be disappointing to feel like the extended family is at odds and often the reasons have nothing to do with the children. They could be issue with your spouse, or the other set of grandparents or issues with the fact that your parents think you expect too much. One thing however is for sure. Children have a lot to gain by staying in touch with and remaining close to their grandparents. Although they may not be nominated for the grandparent of the year award, there is something that your children can learn from them. Try to be patient, compassionate and at all times work from a place of compromise and understanding. If it doesn’t work and you know that you have tried everything to bring the two of them together, then don’t worry about it. If your children are adamant about the way they feel, then trust their intuition and allow time to heal the wounds. You might be surprised how things come full circle in the end.