Welcoming a new born child into the world is one of the greatest privileges for new parents and their families. The happiness that surrounds this momentous event can stir up all kinds of emotions for those involved, which can sometimes lead to unsolicited advice from many grandparents. Although it often comes from a good place, this advice may be doing more harm than good for their adult children.
Patient educator Kerry Grier recognized this reoccurring pattern within grandparents, which is what encouraged her to create the “Baby Care for Grandparents” class at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
Being a mother of five and grandmother of two, Grier acknowledges that these “badly behaved” grandparents usually have the best of intentions, but this exciting new chapter in their lives leads them to act inappropriately.
Aside from the usual struggles new parents have, this added pressure is something they also have to cope with.
Showing up unexpectedly and giving outdated advice are just some of the things that gave Grier the idea to create a prenatal class that will prepare grandparents for the birth of their grandchildren.
“Becoming a grandparent for the first time is like revisiting an exotic country that you loved long ago, only to find that everything’s changed- the layout, the customs, even the language” new grandparent K.C Summers told the Washington Post.
The idea of a class that teaches already existing parents how to treat their children’s family may seem unnecessary, and maybe even insulting to some. However, these classes have become a growing need within hospitals and clinics across Canada.
New grandparents that sign up for Grier’s classes are taught the same prenatal care curriculum as their children had learned, all while learning how to respect and lend a helping hand when needed to the new parents.
“What is unhelpful? Anything that creates drama.” Grier told The Star. “It is very important that the help given is the help that’s needed, not the help we want to give.”
Child care is continuously evolving. What may have been the “proper” way to parent a child 30 years ago may not be the case today.
The overwhelming feelings that come with becoming a grandparent are inevitable, but the most important thing that new parents want most is the love and support they too have received from their own parents.