As a grandparent, how much empathy do you have?
How do you rate yourself as a grandparent?
Given some thought, this is a difficult question...first of all, what is it that makes a good grandma and grandpa?
From this Grandmum's perspective, here is what goes into good grandparenting..
- Respect for your grandchild and his parents.
- Love for your grandchild.
- Empathy for your grandchild.
- Empathy for what it is like parenting a child in today's world.
I know it sounds trite to say love your grandchild, but if you have a real love for him/her, it will be easier to respect and have empathy for his world and the world of his parents.
After unconditional love, for me, empathy is the second most important quality that makes a grandparent a "great" grandparent.
According to Psychology Today:
"Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is known to increase prosocial (helping) behaviors. While American culture might be socializing people into becoming more individualistic rather than empathic, research has uncovered the existence of “mirror neurons,” which react to emotions expressed by others and then reproduce them."
Empathy for our grandchildren helps us as grandmums understand that these youngsters are not simply little people.
They are children, who are actively learning how to deal with a world that is new, confusing and challenging to them on a daily basis.
Just like us, they have emotions, that sometimes run very high, feelings, that many times they do not have words to express. This becomes the formula for the perfect storm when it comes to a child's behavior.
The dreaded tantrum has its roots in emotions that children do not know how to express with their words…children, who are having an intense moment of feeling, at times, simply collapse into a pile of tears and screaming.
Empathy and sincere listening help to tame a tantrum.
So if you want to be a "GREAT" grandparent…you might want to begin with lots and lots of love along with a ton of empathy for your grandchild and the world in which he and his parents live.