I answer to a lot of different names...."Mom", "Pam", "Hey You" and other names by other drivers for example that I won't mention here...(ha). One name that I love to be called though is " Mimi " because those calling me that are my grand babies. Grand parenting can be a really wonderful experience - however like all great things in this life, if we are careless and or unwise, something that is great and wonderful can easily morph into an unpleasant experience. After being in this grand parent game for going on ten years now, here are some basic guidelines and suggestions to keep in mind to maintain harmony between the grands, the grandparents, and mom and dad.

RULES FOR GRANDPARENTS

1.) Always follow mom and dad's instructions. This is paramount ! I have a sign above the doorway in our kitchen that says the following - " WHAT HAPPENS AT MIMI"S STAYS AT MIMI"S". It always gets a good laugh when folks visit our home and read it. However...that is about all it is good for because even though the sign is there, we really don't follow it. Never, ever do or say anything to or with your grandchildren that would not have the approval of their parents. This is hands down rule number one and must be followed. After all, these kiddos are not your children...they are your childrens' children and their wishes, desires, requests etc concerning those precious babies should and must be followed. This goes without saying. Any grand parents that disagree with this really are confused about their place and their role in the lives of their grand kids.

2.) Have fun with your grandchildren and enjoy them to the hilt but still make them behave. There are many times that I am tempted to just shrug off disobedience or misbehavior in my grandchildren ( which is rare :) ) but I simply cannot give in to that temptation. If I do, and those kids begin to realize that anything goes at Pop and MImi's house, but then they have to toe the line once back at home, are we really doing them a favor?  Of course not and we know it. So no matter how much we want to look the other way and not make those kiddos mind us, we have to fight against that urge.

3.) Communicate with mom and dad about any concerns that you have. This is so important. If there is an issue involving our grandchildren whether it be a slight misbehavior problem or something bigger and we neglect to share that information with mom and dad , we are not helping our grandchildren. Instead we are fostering a feeling of conspiracy or secretiveness between those little ones and us against their parents which should never happen. For example, on the rare occasion ( smile) that my grand children disobey or do not listen to me, I am sometimes tempted to say to them " If you don't listen to MImi, I will tell mom and dad about that." However, if I say that, all that I am teaching those little ones is that I am willing to keep mom and dad in the dark about them or their conduct which is not the case. This is an important point and something to consider.

RULES FOR PARENTS  

1.) Always be appreciative for the time, love, and energy that your parents are willing and wanting to spend with your children. Yes, they enjoy that time with your kids and it is indeed a blessing to them but don't forget that they are giving you a break from caring for your children and are investing themselves and their love into those kids. Just remember that it is enjoyable not just for the grandparents but for you as well to have this added dimension of extended family for your child to enjoy. Do not neglect to express your thanks and appreciation for your parents' role in your childrens' lives. It will mean a lot to them and goes a long way in keeping a sweet relationship between you and your folks.

2.) ALWAYS believe your parents over your children if there is a discrepancy or a disagreement about an incident that occurred while in the care of the grandparents. Please remember mom and dad...that your children are normal children ..just like children anywhere and kids tend to color things to their advantage so as to avoid being in trouble with mom and dad. You can bet your life that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, if there is a grandparent's version of an event that differs from your child's version, the grandparent's version is the true one. I only say this because grandparents have no motive to lie or be deceptive about an incident whereas your child does. After all, your child may be facing a spanking or some other form of discipline when grandma or grandpa accurately report an incident but last time I checked, most grandparents are not worried about getting a swat from their kids !!! Think about it...it is logical and common sense.

3.) Always make certain that any talk or discussion about the grandparents in front of your children is positive and favorable. This just goes without saying. Kids pick up on attitudes quickly and if they detect even a hint of disrespect towards grandma and grandpa from mom and dad, mark it down, it won't be long before they are disrespecting grandma and grandpa as well. The elderly in our country are disrespected more than so many other countries in this world. Countless other lands and cultures show much more reverence , loyalty and respect to the oldest members of extended families. If you do have a concern or an issue with something that the grandparents have done, just wait until you are alone with them away from little ears to talk with them about it. Your children will benefit greatly as will your parents if you keep this in mind at all times.

This about wraps it up. Just some simple guidelines to keep in mind to help the extended family experience to be a fabulous one. None of us will ever do everything right all of the time, but if we have some general rules and boundaries in place, it surely can help the whole experience to be an enjoyable one for all.

Just some food for thought. Hope it can be a help :)