Are you a mindful grandparent?

Grandparents have always played an important role in family life.

Most grandparents look forward to the birth of a grandchild, especially their first, and the pleasure of getting to know them without the responsibility that being a parent involves.

But in recent years, the role of being a grandparent has changed greatly.

This is due to a range of factors including distance between families and grandparents, family dynamics or the fact that many grandparents are still working and have limited time to spend with their grandchildren.

As a grandparent, the road to building strong relationships with their grandchildren can be challenging, but very achievable and rewarding in the long run.

According to CentacareCQ family relationship educator Pauline Watkins, the key lies in a concept called: Mindful Grandparenting.

Pauline Watkins

“Mindful Grandparenting is a way of envisioning, planning, resourcing and putting into action how you wish to interact with your grandchildren,” Pauline said.

“Becoming a mindful grandparent begins with envisaging what your ideal scenario would be when it comes to spending time with your grandchildren. From there, you then think about how you are going to plan and resource that ideal scenario to make it happen.”

“For example: If you’re the kind of grandparent that attends weekend sport with the grandchildren, you’re going to think about taking your flask, coat, hat, sunscreen and chair with you to sit on while you watch the game. You’re also going to plan how you are going to get there, know where the car parks are situated and if you can walk the distance from the carpark to the field.”

For the working grandparent, Pauline says that mindful grandparenting starts with envisioning what kind of commitment you would like to make with your grandchild in the time you have available when you’re not working.

“Time might not necessarily be something that we have a great amount of, or even the luxury of, but even the smallest amount will bring incredible pay off for your grandparent/grandchild relationship.”

Pauline said mindful grandparenting can give grandchildren two precious gifts: relationship and time.

She said every grandparent had the ability to provide positive, encouraging, unconditional love to their grandchildren.

“As a grandparent, your love will never change regardless of the circumstances, whether they are good, bad or indifferent,” Pauline said.

“Every child on the planet needs at least one person in the world that they believe loves them no matter what – in their best incarnation or their worst.”

She said it was also “super important” to have a transparent, non-judging presence when talking to your grandchildren as well as their parents (your children).

“The relationship with your children and grandchildren can only flourish when you are committed to a non-judgemental stance. The more transparent you can be, the deeper your relationship can become with your entire family,” she said.

“When you offer that unconditional love, you are going to get that back and that will only build goodness into your old age and into those times in your life when you might be struggling.

“There’s a lot to think about in terms of being a mindful grandparent, but the rewards a priceless when you build that relationship with your grandchild throughout your lifetime and theirs.”

If you would like to learn more about improving your parenting skill or talk to someone about your family relationships, call our friendly team on 1300 523 985.

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