The news about a pregnancy usually brings a lot of joy into a newly created family. It also means that the roles within a family setting are going to change. It involves not only new parent-baby relationships but also it will inevitably lead to the restructuring of the already existing parents-grandparents’ relationship.
From being responsible only for their own child, grandparents need to adapt to a new function in their lives. They are no longer just a parent, but are now a grandparent to a small child. Although it can seem quite differentiated, sometimes it is not so easy to separate them. For example, the need for the grandparent to be a parent might take over with the grandchild, causing the parents of the child to feel like they are interfering in their parenting. On the other hand, if grandparents try to be a bit distant and give parents the space, the grandparents may seem to be abandoning their own parenting role. No matter how old a person is, he/she still needs emotional support and love, especially when during major life changes – like becoming a parent. It does not seem easy to navigate between these two, does it?
The most important to remember is to share your expectations and concerns about the new roles with each other. It also can be useful to discuss how much emotional or practical support you feel you would need as a new parent and how much support you can actually provide as a new grandparent. The relationship could work better if both sides try to appreciate each other’s efforts to adapt to new roles and be thankful. If you do not have a good relationship, it could be opportunity to start everything from the beginning. After all, everything is done for the child’s sake and for a chance to live in a healthy and loving family.
– Gabija Kisieliūtė is a third year psychology at the University of Vytautas Magnus in Lithuania. She is following a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Her main interests are family psychology and aging. She is participating in a summer internship programme at Willingness.com.mt.