Changing Roles

I just spent time with my daughter-in-law, Leah, and my granddaughter, Sunny. I am a very new, young Grammy (aka GrAmy). How do I do it? We have been promised wisdom without measure from our Heavenly Father, so I just keep asking.

I feel reserved and tentative as I interact with those two precious ladies in my life, and it’s not because we aren’t close. I feel very close to Leah. I feel close to both Leah and my son. I feel like I know my son very well because I’ve known him since the day he was born. But is that fair to him? Do I give him permission to change and grow as he ages? I think I know Leah very well because I know her parents very well. But is that fair? Is it fair to assume that because I know her parents that she will be very similar to them? Would I feel it is fair for anyone to judge ME by knowing MY parents? Would you feel it fair if someone gauged YOU by how they know YOUR parents? I think not. Those dearest and closest to us desperately need us to give them permission to be different than they were yesterday. We are all growing and changing as our experiences teach us and transform us.

I feel reserved and tentative as I interact with Leah and Sunny because I choose not to have expectations of knowing what they will do or say or believe. I choose to approach them without judgement but rather with Curiosity and Wonder. I choose to get to know my adult children afresh each time we spend time together.


I am on a bit of a tangent, but there is a point. How do we approach Grandparenting? Do we sweep in and begin a relationship with our grandchildren in the same manner in which we parented our children? Some do. Do we approach Grandparenting like a fun Santy Claus? Spoiling them and then handing them back to their parents all sugared up, as if this was some right of our new position as grandparents? Some do.

I find myself approaching both roles of grandparenting and relating with my adult children in much the same way. With trepidation. With respect. With curiosity. I approach my role in the same way I would enter an acquaintance’s house – Unassuming. When you think about it, it is a very new relationship with these young adults. All the rules have changed.  The role is so much different. I am no longer looking for ways to teach them the next skill or a new level of responsibility or how to navigate the adult world. I wait for them to ask, or only offer advice if they want it. When they share specifics about their lives with me, I find myself saying, “Were you needing a good listener right now or would you like to hear my thoughts on this?” I am so ready to just be a good listener if that is all they are desiring. I can take the rest to God in prayer and cheer them on from the sidelines. And that is where I feel I am. On the sidelines. It’s a weird stage in life. For me. I’ve never felt like this before. Ever. It’s not my race to run. It’s theirs. Our new role is that of Cheerleader. Encourager. Pray-er.

Should I expect them to parent the way they were parented? Not at all! As I young parent, I strove to keep all the good things from my upbringing and walk away from the dysfunctional. Why would my kids do it any differently? They are not going to parent the way I did, thank God. They aren’t going to live their lives the way I did. With each generation, the world is a bit different. Culture is continually shifting and changing. And believe it or not, some things change for the better! I watch Leah with her daughter and I’m absolutely stunned into silent adoration.

So how am I beginning my grandparenting journey? Watching and Listening. When I interact with Sunny, it is with respect for how Leah is raising her. I use the same words, the same tone of voice. I ask Leah’s permission and respect her wishes and desires as The Mom. As Sunny grows older, I hope I will have a relationship with her that is all our own. But in the meantime, I will have earned her trust and her parents’ trust as I walk alongside them in Their Ways.    

GrAmy and Sunny

We did the Best We Could. And our children are going to Do the Best They Can. We succeed in some things. We fail them in some ways. They will succeed in some ways and they will fail in some ways. What do they need from us as they maneuver through their adult life and work to be the best parents they can? They need our Encouragement. They need our Respect. They need us to Believe in them. They need us to be on our knees, praying for them.

We can learn a lot from our children in our ever-changing Culture. We taught them how to navigate as new adults. They can teach us how to navigate their world and how to survive all the changes as we age.

I believe we can have sweet relationships with our adult children and our grandchildren if we will approach with Humility, Grace, Tenderness, Respect and an attitude that says,

“I believe in you! I’m rooting for you! I’m on your side!”

It will be music to their ears to hear me ask, “How can I best serve you in this season as your Mom and the GrAmy to your children?”

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  1. Sunny has the biggest, bluest eyes! What a cutie! GrAmy, you’ve got it right in every aspect. We cannot teach our adult children, but cheer them on and faithfully pray for them. Building a relationship with a grandchild is best done when based on the parents’ groundwork and supporting the way they are nurturing the child. Parents of adult children should be cheerleaders and prayer supporters. I loved every word of this post!


    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement!! It means so much to me!


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