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Are you a step grandparent?

(9 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 25-Apr-19 09:30:40

We're looking to improve our page on being a step grandparent and wondered if there was any advice or tips you would give to others in the same position? Any particular difficult situations you've overcome? What's the best way to avoid hurt feelings?
Thanks smile

TerriBull Thu 25-Apr-19 10:52:09

I'm a step grandparent to my husband's grandchildren, I've been in their lives since their birth, the eldest is only a couple of years younger than my youngest, so really they were all children together and are more like cousins. They are now in their 20s. I'm so lucky I really get on with them. However, out of deference to their two existing grandmothers I've never referred to myself as nana or grandma, so they call me by my first name, I don't want to usurp the position of their actual grandmothers. That's just me everyone's different. I do remember my husband's business partner marrying again and his new wife's parents immediately assuming the title of grandparent to his children, I saw his mother wince, this was at their wedding when they had only met them once or twice, so I think step grandparents need to be mindful of the actual grandparent, particularly as in that case, the grandmother had played a very pivotal role in the grandchildren's lives. I don't think I've had any tricky situations with them, I think as a step grandparent and indeed a step parent if your other half has been married before and has a family then they are obviously part of the package so accept that. I would reiterate that I have had an easy ride as far as step children, and similarly as with them don't resent time or money spent and make sure you are a step back sometimes and not sticking your oar in as it were, I never came in on disagreements. Allow your partner occasional one to one time I remember my husband took out the eldest one to dinner on a "one to one" prior to a travelling gap year, so he could give her lots of "make sure you keep yourself safe" advice and he has done that occasionally on landmark occasions such as graduations etc.

BradfordLass72 Fri 26-Apr-19 08:18:52

I'm a step-grandma. My GS came into my life when he was 5 and my son formed a relationship with his mother (the boy has a father and other grandparents who don't want to know).

My advice is to take things very slowly at the child's pace.

Don't force the 'grandparent' thing on them, just allow them to see you as a loving, caring person whom they visit.

Discover what they like doing and invite them to participate.
My GS was invited to help me bake and he accepted - and there would have been no comeback whatsoever had he refused. We now bake regularly and he often asks if he can cook when he visits.

I personally dislike that 'step' bit - when my GS is introduced now, it's as 'my grandson' and at 9, he calls me his grandma - but I never asked for that, or even suggested it, it came entirely from him.
Before, he was introduced by his name, and sometimes still is.
If he had wanted to call me by my given name, that would have been fine.

Older grandchildren often want to do their own thing and if they simply sit and look at a screen, I'd still try to find out what they liked and if it meant asking them to show me how a game worked, or watching their chosen DVD with them, at least I would be showing how happy I was they are with me and letting me share.

I think the key word is time - give them time and spend time with them.

I once read about a father who took his son fishing and they were sitting on the riverbank, in absolute silence, so the fish were not disturbed, when, after two hours , the boy tentatively spoke about being bullied at school. He needed that time to feel safe, and constant chatter at home had not given him time to formulate his ideas and words.
Sometimes just being there and allowing the silence and companionship to bond you, is all a child needs.

sodapop Fri 26-Apr-19 08:55:15

I agree with Terribull I handled it in much the same way. Stepchildren and their children use my first name and I have never criticised their parents ( in their hearing ). I take a step back too and ensure my husband takes the lead with them. We are all on good terms and it works for us. I think it helps that I am not particularly maternal so have never wanted to be in that role with my step families.

Floradora9 Fri 26-Apr-19 10:23:55

We became step grandparents of teenagers and early 20s children . We just took it slowly and chipped in gifts when appropriate . I thought it was lovely when our other child got married and granchildren arrived. One of the first family said with feeling " remember we were here first " Now blessed with step great grandchildren though far away and I always make sure I send generous gifts to them .

nanasam Fri 26-Apr-19 10:34:45

We became step grandparents to a 3 year old and DD and SiL had 2 more boys. As others have said, we took it slowly and were happy for him to call us by our first names. He's 18 this year and 3 years ago pronounced that DH would be known as 'special grandad', much to DH's delight! We've always treated him as our own grandchild and love him to bits and when asked, I say I have 3 GSs.

gransal Sat 27-Apr-19 00:00:00

my SGC ,5 of them, call me gran I never asked for this it was up to SD and SS .to decide what was comfortable for them. I don't see them as much as I see my own GC but that is more of a distance thing. When asked how many GC I have I always say 10. WE are not the waltons but we rub along quite well

Grannyknot Sat 27-Apr-19 07:33:03

I don't have any comments on being a step-grandparent, but I wonder why the GN page refers to "...the Rules of Being a Step-Grandparent"? There are enough rules in life without applying them to relationships as well smile

Floradora9 Sat 27-Apr-19 18:02:50

I forgot to say in my post that one day one of our older step granchildren declaired that we were the grandparents she would have chosen . It brought tears to my eyes .