We've all heard that father knows best…but what about grandfather? The senior generation, it seems, has a wealth of wise words about raising children and embracing the role of parenting. We talked to some to get their best advice.
Gabriel Constans is practical. He acknowledges that until his own kids were “in the midst of the joys and hardships of loving and raising a child, it is almost impossible to give any advice that will make any sense.”
Only then will they be able to realize this universal truth: “There is nothing more important to society, and the world, than raising self-secure, happy and kind children,” says Constans, a grandfather of five from Santa Cruz, CA.
“Being a good parent is a continual act of being selfless, and thinking about another person first. If one chooses, it can be the most intense and constant opportunity for self-discovery, insight and growth. By paying close attention to ourselves, andour reactions to the needs of another, we are able to let a lot of our ‘selves’ go and be present in the moment for our son, daughter, or children.”
Being a parent is not easy, he concedes. “In fact, it is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and one of the most rewarding; challenging me to honor my daughter or son’s individual path and growth, without imposing my desires or expectations on tothem.”
“Being parents is an enormous responsibility and a big gift requiring a lot of time,” says four time grandfather Steve Sonntag. He suggests that before becoming parents it’s a good idea to decide how you are going to divide the responsibilities: “Whois going to do what, such as waking up in the middle of the night, buying food, and anything else, because once this is done, each parent knows what needs to be done and when. Of course, there needs to be flexibility based on what is happening withthe baby at any given time.”
Plus, he says, couples should make sure to “give each other time away from home not only to do errands, but also to enjoy some time to meet friends and family for coffee, a meal, a movie and have fun for an hour or two without baby.”
Author Mark Goulston, who hopes to become a grandparent within the next year, says he has some unexpected advice to share with his daughter “that she won't want to hearand would do better to hear from her mother."
Dr. Goulston, who speaks to parents about how to raise a happy, healthy and emotionally strong child has this advice: “Vent to him, complain to him, share your worries if you need to, but make sure you also express appreciation to him for being a personyou can vent to and for handling it all so well.”
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