Ten Tips About Succeeding as a Step Grandparent Over The Holidays


Thanksgiving may be your first holiday as a step grandparent. Maybe in made today. # Black Friday or maybe you embraced it.  As divorce a re-engineers American families , the chaotic remix mints more and more step grandparents. Two out of five American families now include a step grandparent.



The transition to a blended family has thorny hurdles. As a midlife parent, you cope with your own child’s divorce plus the cost to your grandchildren . On top of that, modern divorce ,can move you , as it did me , to emotionally support your former son or daughter in law That parent will forever be in your grandchild’s life , so keeping them close pays off.


Then you have the connection with your adult child’s new partner. If that blooms then remarriage and you have two sons or daughters in laws. All the while you are coping with the crazy quilt new family .If the second husband or wife has kids -you become a step grandparent. Mix in your fellow grandparents in law and you’ve got the new American family or the Brady bunch on steroids.


Think of this like blending families when your kids first married. You have the original blueprints- you just have to build a room for your step grandchildren and make sure your blood grandchildren’s room gets retrofitted..


Being a step grandparent is about love and action – not blood. So here are some tips about putting that love into action .



1. Relationships grow over time. Don’t expect your step grandkids to love you instantly and the same with you.


2. Stepfamilies are born of loss- help step and blood grandchildren heal .Spread unconditional hugs and acceptance over every part of this new family.


3. Conflict is normal in stepfamilies- Use listening skills, don’t criticize , encourage talking openly , back the parents rules and expectations.



4. Spend one to one time with each grandchild and step grandchild .


5. Focus on the needs of the children, not your wishes for the relationship.

Find out what you step grandkids like-and get it- what they do and do it with them.


6. Think equal- if you have two steps and two bloods like me- get equal gifts or give equal time.


7. Know your part in the play-you are the supporting cast , not the star of the show.


8. Stay in the moment- don’t pry into the past .


9. Go to all special events – be that supportive cast.


10. Cheer for their accomplishments – don’t be a critic -be the support system.


About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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