How to Deal with Becoming a Step-Grandparent
If you suddenly have step-grandkids due to your child marrying someone with children, there will be some adjustments to make. This is often the case whether you already have grandchildren or not. You should get an idea of how you can make the adjustment easier for both of you so that you end up with a good relationship with your new grandkids.
Treat Them Like Your Grandchildren
Even though they are not related biologically, treating them as if they were can be a good way to make them feel comfortable. The first step is to try referring to them as simply your grandkids, taking the “step” out of the equation. There is rarely a need to differentiate, and doing so could make them feel awkward.
If you usually send a gift or card to your biological grandchildren on their birthdays, get into the habit of doing the same with your new step-grandkids, provided you feel comfortable with this. When you get presents for your grandchildren on holidays, make sure you do the same for your step-grandkids. The presents do not have to all be the same, but you should avoid making a few of the kids feel left out by the quality or quantity of gifts they receive.
Get to Know Them
It is normal for the children to be shy around you, so it may take time to open up. Be patient, realizing they have had to deal with the divorce of their parents, possibly somewhat recently. They have also had to deal with the remarriage of one of their parents, which can be a huge change. If they seem uncomfortable talking to you much, give it some time, and avoid taking it personally. Try to put yourself in their shoes, as they are adjusting to a whole new family.
Put Aside Your Differences
It is not unusual for some kids to be resentful of the new family, including step-grandparents. This may lead to them refusing to talk to you, or even being rude. If this occurs, they may need some space. Instead of lashing out at them in return, remember that you are the adult and they are just kids during a tough period in life.
Give them some time to get used to the idea of having new grandparents to add to their family. Just let them know you are here for them when they are ready to accept you as a new family member. Meanwhile, you can stay in touch by sending cards on special occasions, or by inviting them to your house to celebrate the holidays with the rest of your family.
If you find it difficult to like your new grandkids, you should keep in mind that everyone has at least a few good qualities. Until your new grandchildren decide to open up and be nice to you, searching for a few of their great qualities and keeping them in mind may be the best way to get past their rude attitude or penchant for completely ignoring you. Just focus on their infectious laugh, unique sense of humor, interesting sense of style, or anything else you can find that is positive.
Eventually, you will likely find that your step-grandkids will warm up to you. If you need additional advice as you deal with the effects of divorce and remarriage in your family, feel free to call the experts, including Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.