A Grand Influence {Why I Want Grandparents To Be Involved In My Kids’ Lives}


While we parents might know our children inside and out, and think we know what’s best for them, it doesn’t mean they can’t be bettered by the influence of other adults. I, for one, am so thankful for the influence of grandparents in my kids’ lives and here are four reasons why.

IMG_03651. You hear it all the time, the beauty of being a grandparent is that you get to spoil the kids and then GIVE THEM BACK. While I don’t think either set of grandparents in our family excessively spoils their grandkids, I see them engaging with my kids and loving them in a way that is free and unattached from the emotional triggers that I carry on a daily basis. Instead of seeing my child as one who has been whining ALL WEEK LONG, they are able to hear a whiney plea and simply re-direct or make a joke – the things that I want to do and can do on a good day when I’m being intentional, but struggle to do when I’m tired and my stress-o-meter is at a 9.5. Without the daily emotional triggers we as moms face, grandparents are able to jump in and freely enjoy our kids – and that is a beautiful thing to witness.

2. It seems that from generation to generation, the pendulum of thought swings from one extreme to the other, and it’s hard to find a middle ground. While I may not agree with all the ways of child rearing from my parents’ generation, I believe that there are positives and negatives to every generation’s approach. If our generation of parenting errs to one extreme, I think it’s safe to say it’s the side of over-involvement, 0ver-protection, over-indulgence, 0ver-worrying, and over-a whole bunch of other things.

So, I appreciate the influence of a generation who says, you kids didn’t wear bike helmets, you did your own science projects, and you drank red kool-aid to your heart’s delight and you were just fine. When I get caught up in certain aspects of this generation’s expectation to parent with perfection, I am so thankful to have the tempering influence of my parents and in-laws, as they offer me a different perspective. It causes me to stop and evaluate how I might be moving towards a potentially unhealthy extreme and where I might be able to relax and let go a little bit.

3. Grandparents have lived through decades of history that I have only read about in books. My in-laws were born into the hunger years of World War II in the Netherlands and they can recount to me what it was like to feel thankful for the smallest of scraps to eat. My parents remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard that JFK had been shot. I can see the emotion on their faces, emotion that isn’t there for me because I simply read about it in a history book.

Grandparents can also fill in details of our family history and tell us stories about relatives whom we never had a chance to meet. If my kids will take the time to listen {which I hope they will}, their grandparents can tell them all sorts of tales, bringing to life the people and events of the past which have shaped the culture and family we live in today. IMG_1483

4. Grandparents can introduce my kids to skills, activities and passions different than my own. My Mom is an occupational therapist and is always teaching the boys tricks for holding their pencils and improving their ability to cross the midline – things I know nothing about. With her immense creativity, she introduces them to all kinds of fun games that actually teach them something.

IMG_2632My in-laws have sailed around the world and climbed to Everest basecamp {in their late 60’s no less}. They have a love for music, joining together to create beautiful sounds through the piano and the flute. While at one point in my life, I desperately wanted to be a cool guitar-playing chica, the guitar and I just weren’t meant to be together. So, my boys can connect with their Oma and Opa through music in a way that I will never be able to do.

My husband and I are soccer aficionados – we both played and we love the sport. My Dad however, grew up playing stickball in Manhattan, idolizing hometown heroes like Mickey Mantle {yes, I was born a Yankees fan – it’s not my fault}. So, guess who’s going to take my boys out to their first ballgame? That’s right, their Papa. And if they grow to love baseball, we will encourage their interest, and be sure to recruit the coaching expertise of my Dad.

323343_2169459889602_1694698539_oGrandparents allow our kids to be exposed to a broader base of ideas, skills, and interests than they would otherwise get from their Dad and I, and for that I am so grateful.

Every generation of parents tries to learn from the mistakes of past generations, and we often {and with perhaps a dose of arrogance} think we know better. My hope is that we can also see the wonderful things that the previous generations have to offer us – ways they can teach and influence us – that make us better.

So, whether your kids have their actual grandparents present and involved in their lives or not, I’m confident there are people out there from that generation who have a whole host of positive attributes to offer. May we learn from them and celebrate them, not just on Grandparents’ Day, but every day.


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Melissa is an adventurer at heart, seeking to embrace the beauty and wildness of this life with her co-adventurer and husband of 8 years, Tom. When she’s not splashing in a mud puddle with her boys, ages 4 and 5, or cleaning the remains of a diaper gone awry from the hallway walls, Melissa works part-time as a Licensed Professional Counselor, striving to empower women through her practice, Rise and Shine Counseling. Give her a mountain and some free time and she’ll find a way to play, embracing every opportunity to run the trails, ski the slopes, and bike or hike the hills. A great day for Melissa would include a pre-dawn trail run, a cup (or maybe 3) of coffee, brushed teeth, some belly laughing with her boys, a little uninterrupted (what’s that?) time to read and write, and sharing in some good conversation over a glass of bold red wine with her hubby. Her faith, her people, and her sense of humor, carry her through the peaks and valleys of this life. She attempts to chronicle the journey over at her blog, www.expectantlife.com.


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