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Developing Relationships with Step-Grandchildren

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 26 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Relationship Children Grandparent Bond

Most of the time, when people think about the arrival of a new grandchild, they envision a newborn, but infants aren’t the only ones to win the hearts of grandparents.

Many families adopt older kids and in some families, step-grandchildren are the pride and joy of the senior generation.

Dealing with the Divorce of Grown Children

When a couple separates, there are often people beyond the duo themselves who may be pained. Parents often have deep affection for the spouses of their children and if there are grandchildren, the feeling of loss can be even greater.

Sometimes, children have infrequent contact with at least one set of their grandparents once their parents choose to go their separate ways. There can be a number of reasons for this, but one of the most common is simply a feeling of discomfort by the residential parent that prohibits them from maintaining contact with their ex in-laws. If a parent has only occasional visitation with their children, it stands to reason that grandparents will have even less interaction.

Ideally, grown children will see to it that they and their parents are able to maintain close and loving relationships with their children, even if they are no longer involved with the kids’ other parent. Also, if parents move on and remarry, any stepchildren that come into their lives should be invited into their extended family, helping them to understand that they are warmly welcomed by their step-grandparents.

Accepting a Grown Child’s New Spouse and Family

For some, first or additional grandchildren come into their lives by virtue of the remarriage of a grown child, who may choose a partner who already has children. While it may be difficult to accept the loss of a grown child’s first spouse, especially if they shared a genuine fondness, grandparents need to open themselves up to the possibility of loving their child’s current partner, too.

Getting to Know Step-Grandchildren

Unlike relationships that are formed with grandchildren who have been familiar since their births, step-grandchildren typically meet their step-grandparents once the kids have developed distinct personalities and a set of well-established likes and dislikes. It can take a while for grandparents and their step-grandchildren to get to know one another, but if they are allowed to spend ample time together, they are sure to find that they have things in common.

Including Step-Grandchildren in Family Events

One of the best things about kids is their willingness to try new things. Most kids look at new experience as adventures and welcome the opportunity to participate in activities that sound fun and interesting. Grandparents can build bonds with their step-grandchildren by inviting them to come along on family outings and participate in both special occasion events and everyday happenings.

Avoiding Jealousy and Hurt Feelings

Grandparents may find that their natural grandchildren display some jealousy when the older family members begin to form loving attachments to their step-grandchildren. After all, they’ve been the centre of attention and the joy of their grandparents’ lives and suddenly, they are asked to share the spotlight with newcomers.

Grandparents can provide all of their grandchildren with assurance of their love by being sure to continue to interact with them and participate in the same activities that the children have been used to. Additionally, kids of all ages (and adults, too) benefit from hearing directly from their loved ones, so grandparents shouldn’t hold back when it comes to expressing their love for their grandchildren and step-grandchildren. One of the most wonderful things about grandparents is their seemingly limitless capacity to love.

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