Not on my Watch!
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish ones tears hers down. Prov. 14:1
Joyce likes to hover. She hovers over her daughter by examining and critiquing everything she does. When her grandson was born she hovered—“that’s not the right way. Let me show how to do it, dear.” When the child was sick or had a runny nose, she would drop by with the recommended remedies and makes sure they were probably administered. At every stage of development, Joyce was there with her advise and ‘words of encouragement’, which being translated means, “Let me show you how to do it.” Her daughter feels like she is still treated like a little girl. Even her grandson, now eight, feels smothered by grandma’s attention.
Hovering grandparents (or parents) are like a helicopter always looking over another’s shoulders and beating them with the constant battering of wind and chatter. I have talked with many parents, especially mothers, who resent the constant ‘hovering’ of a mother or mother-in-law. Men are not except from the hovering offense either. Men do like to ‘fix’ things, after all.
The wise grandparent understands their boundaries and even discusses them with their adult children to make sure that they are not violating those boundaries. Our goal as grandparents is to build up and enable our adult children to be the best parents possible. Interference and giving advise are not the approaches that will help them succeed as parents. There are times when it is necessary to give advise, but mostly it should be given only when asked.
Wise grandparents trust their adult children to make mistakes and learn. More importantly they trust God to protect and guide. They know when to step in and when to stay out. Wisdom builds up. Hovering foolishly tears down. May God grant you wisdom so that you can land that helicopter and do some groundwork build solid foundations for a strong home.
I’d love to hear from you. How are you resisting the urge to be a helicopter grandparent? What nuggets of wisdom has God shown you that you could share with us? Send your comments today.
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