Becoming a grandparent is one of the great joys in life. You get to enjoy the little one’s first steps, partake in family vacations, and be there to watch your children enter a new phase in life as parents. At the same time, you get to sidestep all of the pesky downsides of actual parenting—the nightly wake-ups, the sleep training, the report cards, that whole puberty thing, and having to save for college tuition.
But that doesn’t mean grandparenting is entirely a walk in the park. And just because the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is a special one doesn’t mean it comes without its issues. After all, for many grandparents, getting a little too enthusiastic about getting to relive those glory days of parenting can earn you the ire of your grandchild’s parents—and possibly have adverse effects on the child’s life in the long run.
Don’t let that be you. Before you start spouting know-it-all-advice, come home with a golden retriever, or take your grandkid for their first tattoo, make sure you know these 20 things grandparents should never do.
1 Show up to the hospital uninvited
Birth is a miraculous thing, but, for many people, it’s also a particularly private one—and can involve some intense recovery. While you might want to be there for the birth of your grandchild, it’s imperative that you only show up at the hospital if asked.
“It’s important for grandparents to respect the parents’ values and standards and not to overstep boundaries or undermine,” says Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC, Imago therapist and co-founder of the Marriage Restoration Project.
2 Insist on outfits for the new baby.
Is that tiny sailor suit you brought for your new grandchild adorable? Sure. Is it also more than a bit rude to insist upon the new parents dressing their child in it? Definitely.
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