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Married grandparents; another chapter in your lives

Hi there, glad to meet you Nana
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Any change, even good change like becoming a grandparent, can be stressful because it requires adaptation, and adaptation triggers the brain and body's stress reaction: our heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, blood sugar level, and hormone levels all prepare for emergencies, the baby has a fever, the babysitter didn't show up, your daughter or daughter-in-law's car broke down and she has an appointment, your son or son-in-law has to travel and they need you to stay over, you get what I am talking about.

There is also the added stress of the other family. Your son’s or daughter’s significant other just might not be the one you would have chosen, but that doesn’t matter. Becoming new grandparents take some adjustment and like anything else you just might have to practice some acceptance. As grandparents, we know that our grandchildren need routines and crave stability.

Well, so do we. Therefore, if every little stressor seems to throw you off, try to maintain your other routines as much as possible. Keep your eyes on the prize, that grandbaby needs harmony and piece. If there is ever a time that you need to be a prayer warrior, it’s now. Pray that the ugliness of the world does not consume that baby as they get older.

Since real life inevitably brings situations beyond our control, management of parenting stress has to include the ability to give up the struggle for control when that struggle is unrealistic. That’s where grandparents can help. Young couples should utilize the experiences of their parents, you don’t have to know it all, and because truth of the matter is…you don’t. Don’t expect to have all the right answers parents and grandparents alike.

Neither parenting nor grandparenting come with a manual, But know this parents, grandparents are the closest thing you’ll find to one. As soon as you think you know it all, you just may find yourself in a tough spot. Grandparents have often been through a lot and can keep a sense of balance rather than catastrophe. They can be a calming presence and truly helpful.

You can ask many a parent or grandparent to tell you about a time or place they felt really happy and safe and their response is about time spent with their grandparents when they were children. Grandparents can help with homework and not get as frustrated as parents. They can often listen without judgment to their grandkids and see the positives while parents feel the need to push kids to get it all right, not that grandparents don’t feel the pressure, it’s just expressed through words of experience and encouragement.

And, when grandparents are spending time with their grandchildren it is generally quality time. And unlike parents, they are not trying to do six other things at the same time. Face it, grandparenting was designed to be fun, so have fun! And could or should bring your marriage relationship closer than ever. Contrary to popular belief, close family relationships create independent individuals, whether they are five or sixty-five.

The emotional support acts as a secure base from which you can leap into the world and fly. With this security, you’ll find yourself more self-reliant, more active, and more social than ever before. No longer are you defined by your work, you are a grandparent, a well-loved and respected member of society. Your kids and their kids will draw strength from your marriage.

You are free to do whatever makes that baby happy as well. Although your grandchildren might guess that you’re 100, they have no concept of what that really means. To the contrary, they will naturally assume you have the same ridiculous amount of energy that they do. Have fun and share in raising that new member of the family. Treat him or her as the gift they truly are. May your marriage be blessed by the gift of a grandchild.

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