When speaking with my grandchildren, I say no without uttering the word. The word no sounds so forbidding. In my opinion, it immediately derails positivity in the most positive of relationships: the feeling of unconditional love between a grandchild and grandmother. I know that saying no is usually meant as an expression of love. I also understand that the relationship between grandchild and grandparent is magical. Therefore, grandma, tread gently for this bond is to be nurtured and savored. Because this relationship should always be on positive terms, I have devised my method of how to say no to my grandchildren regardless of their age.
How I Say No To My Grands
When I feel I should step in, I relate a story of this grandmother in trouble at their age and the lesson I learned. I start with, “I remember when I…” My grands listen and take it all in because they cannot believe I got into trouble. I tell them what I did, why I did it, my punishment, how I felt and the outcome. They listen intently because now they can relate to me. They are not afraid to open up and share their feelings because Honey did it, too! Before you know it, we have quite an important back-and-forth dialogue because they ask questions too. This method has never failed me. The conversation ends with a closer bond and hopefully, a lesson learned.
When grandchildren are older and a situation arises where I feel the need to step in and say no, I use the same form of relatable storytelling. It works with all age grandchildren, darlings.
I have been in situations where my grandchildren ask for my advice. At times I do not agree with their way of thinking. In any case, I feel an obligation to express my thoughts and, just as importantly, I know I have to be cognizant of what is acceptable in 2019. A grandchild’s lifestyle today is a far cry from my childhood days. I do take a humanistic approach, supportive of today’s standards yet remaining true to values that date back to the 10 Commandments. In this situation, it is important to be a modern day, old-fashioned grandmother. In other words, you must weigh the situation before expressing your opinion.
The last thing I would ever do is ‘get between a mother and her child.’ I have never involved myself in my daughters’ or daughters-in-law’s decision, even when I disagree. There are boundaries and I know better than to cross the line. Grandmothers who do this are not very smart. When a grandchild comes to me for protection and says, “Please Honey, help me! Or please Honey, talk to my mom,” I explain that I cannot. On the other hand, if my daughters or daughters-in-law ask my opinion, I never hesitate to voice my feelings, in private.
There Are Those Times
Some say that the first word a child recognizes is the word no. I think puppies do, too. I don’t think anyone, grandchild or adult, likes the word. Unfortunately, there are some extenuating circumstances when I do advise a grandmother to ‘just say no.’ There may also be a few very ugly, out-of-the-box circumstances when a grandmother should keep her silence and take the high road. This is unhealthy for a grandchild because it has been documented that grandchildren who are not close to their grandparents are not as happy as grandchildren who have that loving close relationship.
- Disrespect and rudeness: You are entitled to set boundaries and say, “This is not how you speak to your grandmother. It is not ok.”
- Safety: As a grandmother, there is not a chance you would not interfere. You are obligated.
- Substance abuse: This is a top priority. There is not a grandmother who would not say no.
Being A Cool Grandmother
My grandchildren, of all ages, think I am a cool grandmother. To be thought of as cool is cool. One of my older grands said not too long ago, “Honey, you know what Zoom (a newer version of Skype) is!” I was surprised that he was surprised! Staying up with the times is important in the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchildren because it bonds grands to their grandmother when they think she is current with the times. They feel she can understand what is going on in their world and with that status, they will listen when she advises them against something they are hell-bent on.
When my grands realize that I ‘get it,’ they listen. I am not an old sage. I am relevant to the ways of the modern world. A grandmother’s coolness opens up extraordinary conversations that are extremely beneficial to the relationship between a grandchild and grandmother. The combination of love and coolness opens up the airways to conversations and an even stronger bond between a grandmother and her grandchildren.
When Living Miles Apart, Get Tech Savvy
For the grandmother who lives a great distance from her grandchild, stay tuned in with your grads through technology. You can be an integral part of your grandchildren’s lives. You can teach and you can advise. Listening from a distance also helps. Tune into Skype or Zoom to have visual visits or use text and email.
Remember Their Parents Before Saying No
How we say no as a grandmother takes great skill because your grandchild’s parents are included in the equation. Yes, my darlings, let’s not forget the parents! We cannot tell our children how to raise their children. If you do, your children will think you are judging them as parents! Remember the saying, “Your job is to be the grandparent, not the parent.” My advice is to focus on being supportive and not invasive.
I believe in using common sense in how to say no. You are filled with wisdom as a woman over 50. Just one tip: use your wisdom; not your emotion. I know, out of love for your grands and your children, you will think twice before speaking once. Right, darlings!