Grandparents are key figures in our children's lives. Depending on the status of your relationship with your ex, though, you may find that staying in touch with his or her parents is difficult, emotionally or logistically. However, your kids have a lot to gain from maintaining grandparent relationships, and you do, too. Here are ten concrete reasons why it's worth the effort to stay in touch with both sets of grandparents:
1. Grandparents love our kids as much as we do.
It’s refreshing to be around people who love your kids as unconditionally and completely as you do. So as tempting as it might be to skimp out on spending time with either set of grandparents, don't. It can be as much a gift to yourself as it is to your kids.
2. Your kids deserve to be in relationship with people who love them.
This is especially true if your kids have already lost contact with one or more important figures in their lives, such as a parent or step-sibling.
3. Grandparents are not responsible for the behavior of their adult children.
Your ex’s parents have no more ability to control his or her actions than you do. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that if they really wanted to be involved, or really cared, they’d be able to force your ex to pay child support on time, or to exercise his or her own visitation rights.
4. Grandparents make great backup childcare providers.
Do you cringe at the thought of needing to get a babysitter, especially at the last minute? Don’t forget to think of your parents, and your ex’s parents, as potential backup childcare providers. In fact, most of the time, they’re happy to do it, and the kids love the extra time with grandma or grandpa.
5. Our kids need to have relationships with trustworthy non-parental adults.
As your kids get older, they will benefit from hearing the same messages you’ve been saying all along from other caring adults. This includes teachers, coaches, and grandparents. Sometimes the thing you've been trying to get though to your kids for months begins to finally sink in when they hear it from someone else!
6. Grandparents have been through life’s ups and downs, too.
Even if they haven’t had the experience of being a single parent, your parents have obviously been through ups and downs of their own, and they can share with you the wisdom of their experience.
7. Grandparents have a rich history to share with our kids.
Our parents have different experiences and interests to share with our kids. Whether it's exposure to a different culture, or merely a different perspective, our kids' grandparents have much to offer.
8. Grandparents recognize our kids' special gifts and talents.
This perspective makes grandparents great encouragers for our kids. Their praise and interest are genuine, and that's a gift to kids of any age.
9. Grandparents’ homes provide a safe “getaway” for our kids.
When you feel like you’re in need of a time-out, give your parents a call and schedule a visit that will provide you with some much-needed "me time," while they kids enjoy being showered with love and attention from their grandparents.
10. Grandparents can handle knowing the truth.
Unfortunately, many of our relationships exist only on the surface level, or require us to pretend that everything is "okay," even when it’s not. Your parents intuitively know when you’re hurting, and they're strong enough to handle the truth about your life, even when you're going through a hard time or feeling insecure about the future. Let them know what's going on and how they can help. Their unwavering support may surpirse you!