Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Step-Grandparent Relationships

Parents may greet the announcement of a grown child’s re-marriage and the addition of “step-grandchildren” with mixed emotions. The idea of becoming a step-grandparent may generate anxiety about whether you’ll like the children and whether they will like you. You may also wonder what, exactly, are the duties of a step-grandparent?

Family life educators from Kansas State University offer helpful insights on making the transition to step-grandparenting. First, understand that this relationship can’t be created overnight. Relax and let yourself enjoy the process of getting to know and care for each member of the blended family. If you feel the children are slow to warm up to you, remember that his family was likely created out of loss, through divorce or the death of a parent. Your relationship-building may have to work around their feelings of loss and conflict.

As a step-grandparent, you can have an important role in your new family. For example, it’s not uncommon for children to feel as though their newly married parents are too involved with their own lives and each other to find time for the children. Additionally, stepchildren often want to have a relationship with their new grandparents – but may be uncertain about how to get started.

With the gift of time you can offer companionship and a listening ear. You may find you have many things in common. You will need to create your own grandparenting role, one that is comfortable for you and that works for the stepfamily.

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