For Grandparents: Books About Brothers and Sisters
The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is a special one that can enhance the lives of both generations. Grandparents are the connection to family heritage; conversely, grandchildren represent the future.
Much has been written about this important, often deep connection. But little has focused on how grandparents can help their grandchildren get along well and how their children to be more effective parents.
Granted, younger parents can resent being told how to raise their children. Grandparents often have to walk a thin line between being too intrusive and not involved enough.
So, what can grandparents do to help their grandchildren enjoy close, supportive relationships?
- Model healthy relationships with their brothers and sisters – Grandchildren learn by example. They are keen observers. If they see a close bond between their grandparents, their great aunts and uncles, they are more likely to want that same closeness with their own siblings. Weekly Sunday morning/evening dinners. Celebration of holidays and other events. Vacations. All of these occasions serve as important family events where current and future generations can share time and learn from one another.
- Reasons why grandchildren are close or distant – Just like parents, grandparents can help their grandchildren develop positive connections with their siblings. Books about brothers and sisters often fail to detail how. For example, it’s important for grandparents not to have favorites, to treat their grandchildren equally, to honor each of their individual personalities. One grandchild may excel in school; another may be musically or athletically talented. Each has his/her own talent. None is better than the other.
- Things you can do to help curb sibling rivalry – The most effective way to limit sibling rivalry is to allow grandchildren to work out their own problems. Unless there is physical abuse, grandparents should stay on the sidelines. Enforcing time outs, for example, is counter productive. Grandchildren can learn the importance of sharing, of compromise, of fighting fair.
- Encourage children to be the best parents they can be – Grandparents have the advantage of objectivity; they can see things that parents can not. With some distance, grandparents can serve as touchstones for behavior that foster healthy, close connections between siblings. They can connect the past to the present and ensure that potential past shortcomings can be avoided and that positive attitudes and relationships continue to grow.