To Grandmother’s House we go!

In a blending family, sometimes the biological grandparents or new step-grandparents just aren’t sure where they fit into this new blending family, especially in their holiday plans. But you can help your children’s grandparents as well as the new step-grandparents navigate their relationship with your children by clearly defining your desires and expectations, especially during the holidays.

How can you do this?

First, reassure grandparents, whether they are your parents or the grandparents from your former spouse that you want them to have relationship with their grandchildren, and encourage them to continue the relationships they have had all along.

Encourage your children to call, visit, write, e-mail, and Skype with family members and especially with grandparents, regularly. Especially during the holidays, make it a special time of bonding between grandchildren and their grandparents by doing something special—letting the kids read a story or Skype with them and have a holiday dinner “together”.

Plan a special time so new step-grandparents can get to know the children better, and assure them that there’s no “step” in grandparenting as far as you’re concerned. You don’t even have to add something extra. Maybe it’s as simple as joining you for making Christmas cookies or making a gingerbread house together or whatever, even if it’s via Skype. And perhaps this can become a special tradition you do year after year.

All year long, though, you can enhance the relationship between grandkids and their grandparents by:

  • Taking pictures and sharing them regularly.
  • Including them in holiday giving, even if it’s just a simple e-Christmas card.
  • Acknowledging their birthday or other special occasions.
  • Sharing events in your child’s life such as science fairs, school fundraisers, celebrating report cards, and so on.
  • Inviting them to ball games, recitals, honor celebrations, graduations, or whatever.
  • Posting “I love my grandma” notes on Facebook for all the world to see. That’ll go a long way to bond loved ones.
  • And if you want to limit gift giving, have the conversation honestly and early.

Grandparents, step-grandparents, and the extended family from all sides of the family can give love and support to your children like no one else can, and the lasting rewards will be great. This network of loving adults can be an important part of the second-marriage and blending family journey.

Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness. Susan is also author of Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Both of these books provides lots of ways to strengthen your marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.

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