Living in a stepfamily means eventually having step-grandchildren. When I first married my husband, he already had one grandson, so I instantly became a grandmother. When we finally had the chance to meet, his mother introduced me as his grandmother. As I attempted to take on a grandmother role, I realized that our grandson already had three grandmothers who were a part of his life. In addition, he had three grandfathers. Boy, I bet he was good and confused.
Children used to have two sets of grandparents, but now due to divorce and remarriage and children being born out of wedlock, children can have numerous grandparents. If you add in the next generation which would be our parents, the number goes up even more.
Last year two of my husband’s children got married and we added three additional grandchildren to our family. Next year, we gain a new granddaughter. Because our new grandchildren live out of state, we haven’t had the opportunity to get to know them. In fact they may not even recognize us as their grandparents because they only met us once at the wedding. We will have to make an extra effort to get to know them.
In the midst of helping children to adjust to stepfamily life, grandparents can play a positive role in helping children to transition. Grandparents are often great at building family unity can provide some stability to a complicated situation. Grandparents are vital in children’s lives. Since my parents lived out of state, my husband’s parents stood in the gap for us. Here are five ways to be great Step grandparents:
- Introduce yourself to your new stepgrandchildren as their grandparents. Whatever your grandchildren call you, have your stepgrandchildren call you the same name. Children can easily get confused when everyone is calling you by different names.
- Make every effort to get to know your new stepgrandchildren. Learn their names and their birthdates and how old they are. Get copies of their school schedules and show some interest in their activities. Find out what their favorite foods are. Cooking for grandchildren goes a long way for making them feel special.
- Take pictures with and request pictures of your new stepgrandchildren and display them proudly in your living space. When stepgrandchildren visit, they will feel like part of your family.
- Share stories about your son or daughter was like when they were growing up. Humorous stories go a long way for making memories and building relationships. Find common ground.
- Get to know the other grandparents and collaborate with them. Visit their home and watch them interact with the grandchildren. Respect their relationship with the grandchildren and don’t try to interfere or compete with them.