How to Welcome Step Grandchildren into Family? [year] Useful Tips to Start Your Conversations!


Each year an increasing number of grandparents become “step-grandparents.” According to the Foundation for Grandparenting, seven million children in the U.S., or one out of six, live in a stepfamily, also referred to as a blended family. It’s predicted that blended families will soon be outnumbering nuclear families. This trend has required traditional grandparents to re-examine, and sometimes redefine their role in the new family structure.
Step Grandparents

For blended families, parents and grandparents need to work together to make the families as interconnected as possible. Although a new family structure may cause concern and anxiety for the children, step-grandparents should not rush to form a bond with their new step-grandchildren. It is better if they are patient and take the cues from the children. The adjustment period will depend on several factors including how involved the step-grandparent was in the child’s life before the marriage, the age of the step-grandchild (younger children seem to accept a new relationship more readily); the situation that created the step-grandparenting scenario (whether it was brought about by the death of a parent, divorce, or incarceration) and, most importantly, the way the adults in the child’s life interact and show consideration for each other.
Here are some tips to help step-grandparents establish and nurture these special relationships. First, get to know your step-grandchildren. You probably know the interests, likes, and dislikes of your biological grandchildren. Now learn your step-grandchild’s favorite foods, their birthdays, if they have medical conditions or allergies, their favorite subjects in school, and their favorite books. Learning these things will give you openings for interacting.
Second, and perhaps most important, treat your step-grandchild as you treat your biological grandchild. Don’t show favoritism. Step-grandchildren will quickly recognize if you like your “real” grandchildren better or give them more attention. This can lead to hurt feelings with the step-grandchildren and also with your adult children. If you have play dates or outings with your biological grandchildren, include your step-grandchildren or make arrangements to spend time with them. If you have expectations for your grandchildren’s behavior when they are at your house then this should apply to your step-grandchildren as well.
Be sure to respect the relationship that your step-grandchild has with his or her other grandparents. Share with those grandparents your desire to have a relationship with their grandchild and let them know that you want to support family harmony. They will appreciate that you reached out to them, and this will add to the family’s cohesiveness.
To truly become a thoughtful, caring, and supportive step-grandparent, just do what grandparents do best. Love all of your grandchildren unconditionally. And don’t hesitate to spoil them –just a little.
Get to know their personalities and respect them for who they are. Spend quality time with each one of them and remember to tell them how special they are to you, regardless of whether they’re “blended” or “biological” grandchildren.

How to get along well with step-grandchildren?

First, get to know your step-grandchildren. You probably know the interests, likes, and dislikes of your biological grandchildren. Now learn your step-grandchild’s favorite foods, their birthdays, if they have medical conditions or allergies, their favorite subjects in school, and their favorite books. Learning these things will give you openings for interacting.
Second, treat your step-grandchild as you treat your biological grandchild. Don’t show favoritism. If you have play dates or outings with your biological grandchildren, include your step-grandchildren or make arrangements to spend time with them. If you have expectations for your grandchildren’s behavior when they are at your house then this should apply to your step-grandchildren as well.
Third, be sure to respect the relationship that your step-grandchild has with his or her other grandparents. Share with those grandparents your desire to have a relationship with their grandchild and let them know that you want to support family harmony. They will appreciate that you reached out to them, and this will add to the family’s cohesiveness.

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