As a parenting blogger, I spend a lot of time thinking — really thinking — about parenting. Am I doing it right? Do I like what I see through my children’s mirror eyes? Sometimes the answer is “yes” and I pat myself on the back. Other times the answer is “not so much.” It’s those times that I stop and ask myself whether I’m somehow to blame. And while the answer is almost never clear, I feel like I’ve got a respectable understanding of what it takes to raise a couple of goodhearted kids. That is, until my parents walk through the door and show me how it’s really done.
Who are these grandpeople able to parent like magic with infinite tenderness and compassion? Who are these gentle souls able to bring out the very best of my kids without even trying? Were my parents always this good at parenting or is this parental sorcery something they’ve developed over time?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that my kids are different (really, really different) when they’re around. They’re happier, calmer, gentler, and more receptive overall. While I can only assume my kids are responding to some kind of placid energy their enchanted grandparents are putting out there, I find myself standing off to the side, mouth agape, wondering how to break me off a piece of that. Is there an online class I can take? Can I pledge some secret society?
Probably not, so I jot down mental notes and consider that maybe parenting doesn’t have to be so hard. Maybe I don’t have to parent from an exhausting place of fear or logic all the time. Maybe it’s as simple as parenting by heart.
Take a look at six grandparent behaviors I observed and how I’m looking to mimic my way to parental magic this year.