Watching your child become a parent can give you a mix of emotions.
Joy, anxiety, fear, and delight may all hit you at once.
When the time comes, you may not know what to expect or how to act. Your child may be a responsible adult with a spouse, or they might be little more than a child themselves.
In both situations, there are things you should and shouldn’t do.
Here’s how to approach both types of scenarios the smart way.
How to Help, Not Hinder New Parents
Expecting a grandchild isn’t completely smooth sailing, even if your child is completely ready for that big step in their life.
Here are some basic dos and don’ts to stick to when the new baby comes along.
1. Be Judicious About Giving Parenting Advice
It can be tempting to give your child parenting advice about how to raise their child.
After all, you’re an old hand, and they’re completely new to this. What’s the harm in handing out helpful advice whenever you see the parents making a mistake? However, assuming that your way must be better because you’ve done it successfully isn’t exactly correct.
Every person is different, and every person will have a different way of relating to their child. Just because you never did bottle-feeding or co-sleeping means it’s the wrong way to go.
Instead, it’s better to let your child find their own way to parent. Definitely offer help if they seem to be struggling, but otherwise, keep your opinions to yourself.
2. Ask for a Wish List of Items They’ll Need
New parents are often flooded with gifts they may not need or have room for in their homes.
Instead of showering them and the new baby with presents, be a little more thoughtful. Ask for a wish list or a baby registry of supplies, clothes, and items they need to welcome their bundle of joy.
If they don’t have a list, ask them what they need. You’ll feel good about being helpful and not overwhelming them with stuff.
3. Offer Your Help, but Wait for the Parents to Accept
When a new grandchild is born, you may want to step in and take charge of the situation for the exhausted new parents.
This is wonderful, but it’s also important to understand that the parents need this time to adjust to their new family of three. They need time alone and time to develop routines.
Don’t just show up and take over – you may stress the parents out instead of giving them a rest.
Instead, make sure you let the parents know your help is ready and waiting whenever they need it. Keep the offer open and ongoing. They’ll appreciate they can call in back-up – and they probably will when they need it.
What If Your Child Isn’t Ready for Parenthood?
It’s tough when your child is expecting but they’re not ready to be a parent. In this case, you have some tricky decisions to make.
First, who will raise the child? Will you take on the role, or will the baby be given up for adoption?
How involved will the other parent be in the child’s life? In some situations, they may not want to be involved, but they may have the means to provide child support.
If you request child support from the biological father, you may have to appear at child support court.
What to Expect at Child Support Court
At a court hearing, you will be expected to prove that your request for child support is in the child’s best interest. This hearing may take place in court or even over the phone. Both parties will get a chance to have a say in the matter.
Of course, it will be easier if you all agree. If one party doesn’t want to pay child support or doesn’t think it’s necessary, you can both present witnesses to bolster your separate cases.
Whatever you do, it’s best to consult a lawyer for the best way to approach and handle appearing in court.
New Grandchild? Expect the Unexpected
When you become a grandparent, there’s no way to expect or plan for every situation. Instead, always remember to listen to your child, defer to the new parents before offering help or advice, and be considerate.
If your child isn’t ready to be a parent, there are lots of different roads you can take.
You can adopt the child yourself, help put your grandchild up for adoption, and even get child support from the biological father.
Traveling along the parenting road is never easy, but you know that already. Use your experience to your advantage and be a help to your child – not a hindrance.