What About Grandparents?

Posted on March 3, 2009 · Posted in Grandparents

The
Bible speaks of a vision for the truth being passed from generation to
generation. Psalm 78 speaks of children learning the truths of God and being
part of the chain which includes their children and then children's children
who are yet unborn. Grandparents, then, have a significant role to play in this
powerful vision. However, like every other aspect of the Christian life, making
this vision play out effectively takes careful planning.

The
successful implementation of this multi-generational vision depends on the
folks in the middle—the parents. Yes, I know grandparents can be either too
controlling or just the opposite, not caring enough. And I realize there are
concerns about how the children will respond. Thus, parents may think they are
caught in the middle. But, as we shall see, being in the middle, at least in this
situation, is the ideal place to be. Someone might be asking, what are you
thinking, how can being in the middle of doting grandparents and self-serving
children be ideal?

Being
in the middle is ideal because God has given you the direct responsibility to
lead your children. He has not given it to anyone else. If he has given you the
responsibility, then you know that he has also given you the resources you need
to carry out that responsibility. The first four verses of Ephesians 6 make
this crystal clear. Children are to obey their parents, and fathers (and
mothers) are to raise their children according to God’s discipline and
instruction. This responsibility may not be ceded to grandparents. There is
great hope in understanding the power of God’s direction. 

Let
me explain. As parents you are concerned that grandparents may be upset because
your parenting style is different from theirs. That’s okay. What is important
is that your parenting style not be different from God’s. So, it is important
that both the grandparents and the kids have a very clear understanding that
you take your God-given responsibility seriously. If you look at time with the
grandparents as time off from normal parenting, don’t be surprised when your
children quickly learn to exploit the situation. Don’t be surprised if Grandpa
and Grandma use their time with your children to “correct” some of the
deficiencies that they see arising from your parenting methods. That is not
unusual—it is the way people are.

The
solution is to have clearly in mind what Scripture says your responsibilities
are, and then communicate that to both the children and grandparents, BEFORE
they are together. This does not need to be a time of confrontation or upset. In
fact, your goal should be for growth and teamwork to develop, and for multi-generational
ties to be strengthened. But this will only happen when parents have a clear
vision for communicating that they are the ones responsible for the children. Communicate
this with grace, understanding, honor, pleasantness, and firmness. The benefits
of making this multi-generational vision function biblically are huge.

So,
in the next several posts we will take a look at various scenarios regarding
grandparents and grandchildren. If you have any particular situations you would
like to ask about, please do so – just drop me a comment.

1 O my people, hear my
teaching;
       listen to the words of my mouth.

 2
I will open my mouth in parables,
       I will utter hidden things, things from of
old-

 3
what we have heard and known,
       what our fathers have told us.

 4
We will not hide them from their children;
       we will tell the next generation
       the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
       his power, and the wonders he has done.

 5
He decreed statutes for Jacob
       and established the law in Israel,
       which he commanded our forefathers
       to teach their children,

 6
so the next generation would know them,
       even the children yet to be born,
       and they in turn would tell their
children.

 7
Then they would put their trust in God
       and would not forget his deeds
       but would keep his commands.  Psalm 78:1-7

 

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