Know your limit and Grandparent within it!
Losing your temper is very different from having expectations around behaviour and following through.
An example would be telling your grandchildren that they are to clean up their play toys before watching T.V. and then holding to this expectation.
Grandchild, “But Grandma we're missing Dora! (tears)”Grandma, “I am sorry about that and when you pick up your toys you can watch Dora”Grandchild, “But Grandma”Grandma, “I am saying yes, you can watch Dora when your toys are picked up” and so on.
In this scenario I am in control of my emotions. I am neither angry nor frustrated. Arguably if this goes on for longer than 15 minutes I would have to change my tactic. I would try making a game of picking up the toys and do it with them.
The agenda there is teaching my grandchildren a sense of personal autonomy and responsibility. When I am well rested and within the safety of my own home, the worst thing that could happen is I might have to pick up the toys myself.
The situation over the summer was very different. My granddaughter had done absolutely nothing wrong or out of character, if truth-be-told she did something that on other days I had laughed at.
On this particular day I had gone beyond my limit. I had set expectations both on myself to provide a wonderful experience and on my grandchildren to have the same.
- My personality and ego were engaged in the success of this activity.
- I was out of my personal comfort zone and in an environment I was unfamiliar with.
- It was very hot and I was tired.
The result was that I lashed out.
Resilience now comes into play. My grandchild shocked as she was turned to me and said “I love you Grandma”. My heart melted because she was giving me unconditional love and I apologized for my hurtful behaviour.
I learned a very important lesson that day. I learned where my limits are and if I want a positive grandmother grandchild relationship then I have to grandparent within them.
Children are resilient and will forgive us as long as we do not repeat the unacceptable behaviour too often. If children learn to expect disrespectful behaviour from us, then they stop forgiving and they start replicating our behaviour with their friends and family and this we do not want.
On September 20th, 2013 I wrote on grandparents providing child care in this post I present some research on the different styles of grandparenting. I have provide the link if you want to go back and look at it.