In my extensive travel, lecturing and speaking with families I have found that the most forgotten group after diagnosis are the grandparents.
Many grandparents share that their heart is often broken and they have to walk a fine line of learning about diabetes enough to care; but not enough to meddle in the middle of how their families deal with this ‘new normal’, and that is not an easy pathway.
Without diabetes many will kid around and say that they have all the fun with grandchildren…….and then they go home. The love of grandparents can be so unique and so full, they want to help but many times they do not know how.
First there is the dynamic that was long introduced as a parent and also as an in-law. For years the boundaries were set and respected (or dealt with, depending on how you look at it) so everyone pretty much knew where they stood. You add kids, the dynamic changes, you add diabetes and is all new ground for everyone.
I have been told everything from how great grandparents are to how little they offer to help. I know; it is a hard dynamic. I have often thought if my blogs can do anything, it is, perhaps, that a dialogue can begin.
SO take a copy of this blog and give it to your mom, dad, mother/father-in-law, or step parent and just ask them, “Where do you want to fit in?” Start to discuss this point as in many cases we just assume that parents are dealing with what OUR kids are going through. We may think we have it and don’t need them involved, we may THINK they do not want to be involved…..I say, ask and find out.
I have seen grandparents play an incredible role in the world of diabetes and they will all tell you one thing, it was discussed and a course of action to include them was put in place. Don’t assume they do or don’t want to be involved………..ask. You might be pleasantly surprised. Grandparents love ’em……you might too.
I am a diabetes dad.