Advice for New Grandparents
The DSG is proud to have many grandparents who are actively involved with our organization. We think you are a fabulous resource and we are here to offer you support as well!
Please contact Paulette Duggins at 248-556-5341, if you would like to receive additional information. If you would like to have your name added to our mailing list subscribe here.
Grandparent Dos & Don'ts
Do be aware that most schools, agencies and parent groups welcome grandparents. Some associations even have grandparent groups. Joining one of these groups is a good way to keep abreast of your grandchild's specific disability and, more importantly, indicates your moral support.
Do avoid the pitfalls of cliché̩-ridden advice. Comments about "God's will" or statements about “things not being as bad as they seem” sound condescending and don't provide the comfort you wish to imply.
Do remember that if you have a positive, tender, loving attitude towards your grandchild, others in the family will feel the same way. The more support from family members, the better the young parents feel.
Do remember that non-verbal expressions like a loving pat to your grandchild's head, a warm hug to your son or daughter and their spouse-conveys what words cannot express. By the same token, pitying glances and an anxious tone of voice deepen gloom.
Do be aware of any heightened sensitivity in the parents. Be careful about what you say and remember that your most well-intentioned remarks can be taken the wrong way. Handle this with grace and humor.
Do let your children know that they can reply on you in good times and in bad. Many grandparents have flexible schedules that can be arranged to meet the needs of their grandchild. Just knowing that this kind of help is available can lessen anxieties and strengthen family bonds.
Do offer to visit or help with your grandchild regularly. Sometimes staying at a nearby hotel can ease the logistics and make the visit even more rewarding for all concerned.
Do find the best time for you to visit or telephone. Your children might relish their privacy or be in the middle of things and unless you ask, your visits to telephone calls might come at an inconvenient time.
Don't allow any friction between yourself and your children to interfere with your relationship with your grandchild. The bonds of love between grandparent and grandchild are genuine and profound. The relationship can enhance and nurture your special grandchild's feeling of self-esteem and self-worth.
Do be aware that there are cycles of grief. Feelings of depression, anger, non-acceptance or sorrow usually surface around birthdays or developmental milestones, such as when your grandchild should have been walking. Knowing ahead of time can prevent the reaction from becoming extreme.
Do remember that above all the relationship of a grandparent to a grandchild is unique, and the love that is generated is freely given and like no other. Your grandchild is first and foremost a child-more like other children than unlike.