Toxic grandparents don’t just become toxic, they’re usually toxic parents long before they become toxic grandparents.
When parents become grandparents, they sometimes find it hard to adjust into their new roles. But where there are conflicts between grandparents and parents, there is usually an issue with control, roles and choices.
But when it comes to parents’ making their own decisions for their children, it’s not up to the grandparents to question their children. They must accept their children have the authority to make their choices about how they choose to raise their own children.
A grandparent’s role is to support, love their grandchildren and children unconditionally, helping them in any way they can, otherwise everything else becomes toxic. They must understand their role.
There are grandparents who seem to think they are entitled to say and do as they please, without taking their children’s views into consideration. Grandparents may sometimes undermine parental authority, without giving their authority consideration. It’s particularly true when children aren’t with their parents, but with their grandparents.
In some instances, Grandparents may encourage their grandchildren to disobey their parents. They may also refuse to follow their children’s rules and do as they please. And whilst they may think flouting the odd rule is okay, it becomes damaging when it happens all the time and their grandchildren take away mixed messages from their parents and grandparents.
And where grandparents haven’t had the best of relationships with their children, they may put their grandchildren on a pedestal. It’s easy for grandparents to fall into the trap of using their grandchildren to meet their emotional needs, where they may have failed with their own children.
The grandparents may also risk placing expectations on their grandchildren who are made to live up to expectations and become responsible for meeting their grandparents’ emotional needs.