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Tom Tozer and Bill Black pose for a portrait Monday, March 28, 2016 at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We became grandparents a while ago, and it's one of the best things that have happened to us. The excitement of the announcement and the anticipation of the birth all made for a blessed event as our offspring welcomed their new additions. We couldn't believe how much we loved them.

It made us start thinking: What advice could we give to others who are expecting their first grandchild?

 

Grand things to consider

Get ready for love to bloom again. You never know how much you're going to love that little baby until the moment arrives and you get to hold him or her and look into those precious eyes. That connection is pure magic. So here are some things to be conscious of:

When you receive the announcement, be positive, share in the joy, offer to help, but limit your expectations and advice. The parents–to-be need to make their own decisions, have their own space and build their confidence. They require time and independence to do that.

Don't announce to your friends and family that a baby is coming until the parents-to-be say it's OK. They may be treating this announcement as a private affair, and your broadcasting the blessed event could put them off balance.

If the mom-to-be is your daughter, you've got a head start in the relationship business. If she's your daughter-in-law, that can be more tricky. Navigate with caution, and consult other grands that you know for advice.

Be sensitive of the other grands. Whether they are local or far away, they are an important part of this family dynamic and you need to share.

Grandparents are an increasingly important part of the family picture. A good article in The Atlantic talks about the influence of grandparents: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/06/this-is-the-age-of-grandparents/561527/

 

As baby grows

As an active grandparent, you can bring so much perspective, love, guidance and relief to the parents and their baby. It is not your intent to be the parent. It is your wish to bond with your grandchild and contribute to his or her growth.

As time goes on, the family situation can be ripe for disagreement about a host of things — discipline, diet, homework, cleanliness, etc., etc. So, later, it will be important to develop a clear understanding with the parents about the grand-role. What's OK, what's not OK, who's doing what and how much?

This evolves over time and needs revisiting. You will have so much to share from your years of experience, and you will want to be welcomed into the family and encouraged to do that. Your relationship with both parents will be crucial.

Right now? It's important to focus on giving support and allowing space. This is a huge adjustment for the new parents. You can offer a bit of help, encouragement and a listening ear. It will be sorely needed and appreciated (even if your kids don't have time to tell you so!)

Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of "Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers." Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at Dads2Dadsllc. Email them at tomandbill@Dads2Dadsllc.com.

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