June 18, 2021

Wise Grandparenting (Part Two of Five)

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Healthy relational boundaries bring clarity, foster empathy and build trust.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 18, 2021

by Guest Writer Bill Ibsen

For this cause a man shall LEAVE his father and his mother, and shall CLEAVE to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

My very good friend Bill Ibsen and I have followed Jesus together for over 16 years. We have been in an intimate community group with our wives for 11 years and traveled to Israel and India with our 16-year-old daughters. In addition, we have enjoyed a book club studying classics over the past 7 years. I love and admire Bill for his love for the Lord and his family. For the next five Fridays, Wisdom Hunters is blessed to share Bill’s wisdom on grandparenting as he and Alison enjoy the company of five grandbabies! Here’s the second of five devotionals on grandparenting:

Loving grandchildren well involves healthy boundaries for grandparents!

When Opinions and Assessments from Grandparents are Appropriate: 

I must keep my opinions, judgments, and assessments to myself unless they are solicited by my kids or their spouses. I do not get a vote or a say – unless it is solicited by them. Nobody wants unsolicited advice. On the other hand, people will freely ask the advice of someone who’s opinion they value (and that’s not something I can control, either). Demands or manipulation in any form are equivalent to disrespect (to them), selfishness (on my part) and an unhealthy desire to control. I can judge my level of relational influence by the frequency of being asked for an opinion or for advice. However, never being asked might also more be a reflection on my child’s emotional/spiritual maturity, assuming I am serving them and their spouse/children well.

When Advice from Grandparents is Appropriate: 

The closest I should consider to offering advice is occasionally “I have some insight into that matter – would you like to hear it? – and it’s OK if you don’t or now isn’t a good time.”  And after making this offer, genuinely be OK if they don’t want to hear it. At all. It’s always better if they ask for advice. There is a definite, limited number of these “advice cards” in my deck of cards – based on the frequency of my emotional/relational investments. Use them, if ever, judiciously. If I run out of “advice cards,” wisdom says to keep my advice to myself. Avoid ever telling my kids what they “should” or “shouldn’t” do. That’s for them to follow God and figure out for themselves. They are now managing their own stewardship equation as a new household before the Lord, and I should not be a busy-body, interfering with their decisions.

When Time with Grandparents is Appropriate: 

The time with my grandchildren is an earned privilege. I must never presume upon it or think that I deserve it or am in any way entitled to it as their grandparent. My children can as easily withhold their children from my influence as not. My children are parenting their own children now, and they will do so as they see fit. As a grandparent, I have no say in the matter, unless – and only unless – my opinion is solicited. Parenting their children is their stewardship. Grandparenting is now my stewardship (i.e. of another’s assets). It is a privilege, not a “right.” 

Boyd: My wife Rita collaborated with our girls on a helpful rhythm of support for this season. Because our four daughters have a variety of needs, Rita worked out her calendar to be available on Tuesdays to serve and support our girls and their families. Healthy boundaries bring clarity. 

Note: If a parent or child experiences physical or emotional harm, intervention may be necessary. 

“Then Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried” (Ruth 2:18).


Heavenly Father, give our family wisdom to apply healthy boundaries around our relationships, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Consider a family meeting to ask your adult children who you can best support and serve them and their children.

Related Reading

Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Psalm 91:9-12; Ephesians 5:22-28; Titus 2:4-5

Worship Resource

Elevation Worship & Maverick City: Before and After


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