Being a new grandparent is a whole new world. Sometimes you can feel as if you have no control over the experience and in a lot of ways you don’t. Your children oversee their kids and you oversee yourself. That’s how it should be. Your job as a grandparent is to love deeply and not judge, while being a soft place for both your children and your grandchildren to fall if needed.

* Don’t Talk Bad about the Parents – This can be hard if you dislike the in-law that your child chose as your grandchildren’s other parent. But, it is necessary that you keep your opinions, facial expressions, and thoughts to yourself. The only time you should interfere is if there is abuse going on, and that should be directly with the other adults, leaving the kids out of it.

* Don’t Talk Bad about the Other Grandparents – It doesn’t matter if they’re horrible people and everyone agrees. This is too much pressure on impressionable minds. They’ll be uncomfortable around you and you won’t get to know them as well as you could without the judgment of part of them getting in the way.

* Don’t Discipline Your Grandkids – It’s one thing to say no to your grandchild to keep them safe or to follow their parents’ rules, but to impose your rules and your discipline on your grandkids is too much. This is not your job and hopefully, it never will be. You probably wouldn’t discipline your best friend’s grandkids, so don’t do it to your own. Leave it to the parents.

* Don’t Spoil Your Grandkids with Things – It’s tempting to buy grandkids all sorts of things, but it’s the worst thing you can do because you will teach them to feel entitled. Instead, spoil them with experiences and spoil them with things they need.

* Don’t Force Your Value System on Your Grandkids – It can be disappointing if your child has decided to go a different way than you taught them, especially when it comes to deeply held values and beliefs like religion. However, if you don’t accept your child’s value system, they will disinvite you to everything. Instead, let your child teach their children their values. You can demonstrate your own values by living an example, without pointing it out.

* Don’t Play Favorites – This is important in terms of grandkids and parents of the grandkids. Even if you secretly do have a favorite, you must put that aside for the sake of the confidence of all the grandchildren.

* Do Teach Your Grandkids Family History – The stories of your childhood, your children’s childhood, and other family history is very important to pass down. You can even record the stories for prosperity if you want to.

* Do Listen to Your Grandkids – One job as a grandparent is to listen. In fact, the more you listen, the more you’ll learn and the more the kids will ask you questions. Plus, you demonstrate to your grandkids how to communicate by listening and asking good questions.

* Do Play Games and Laugh – Try not to be serious about everything. Play games, laugh, and have fun. Kids see things in such amazing ways through brand-new eyes that you’ll find that you can learn a lot from your grandchildren during fun times.

* Do Pay for Experiences – While you don’t want to spoil your grandkids with stuff, as mentioned above, you do want to help them experience things. If you can afford to pay for good experiences like Disney, Space Camp, and travel, then you should do that, because those things will pay off in a multitude of ways compared to more stuff.

* Do Spoil Grandkids with Love – There cannot ever be enough love. The more you smile at your grandkids with love in your eyes, the more you hug them, and the more you can say “I love you”, the more confidence they will have as they grow.

* Do Read to Your Grandkids – Even if you’re long distance, you can read to your grandchildren using internet technology and an iPad. The more you read to grandkids the stories you loved growing up, as well as new literature such as Harry Potter, the smarter they’ll be and the more connected you’ll be with them.

Don’t worry; no one is perfect. If you’ve already done a few of the “Don’ts”, you’re not alone. Just let your children know that you’re sorry and that you’ll do better. It’s more important to keep the relationship open than to impose your will on your children or grandchildren, as you won’t get anywhere doing that.

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