Are you obsessed with your grandchildren?

4 ways to spot the signs, plus recommendations for a healthy balance.

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You think about your grandkids endlessly. You tell everybody you meet—from the cashier at the grocery store to the stylist at the salon—how cute it is when your grandson splashes in the tub or your granddaughter dresses up with your accessories. You post pictures of your grandkids all over your house, your office, and your Facebook page. (Well, who doesn’t?) You just can’t spend enough time with them.

Are you obsessed? Is it unhealthy? Should you be worried?

We put the question to you on our Facebook page: “Do you know anyone who’s too obsessed with their grandkids? Is that even possible?” The results? You can put your worries aside. Of the 500 or so responses, the majority of you think it’s not possible to be too obsessed with your grandkids! And those who think it is possible are wearing that big heart as a badge of honor. As our our Facebook friend, Vickie Mullens, said, “I love mine to pieces. If that’s obsession, well then I am darn well guilty.”

Here’s my take on the matter: Grandkids are lucky to have someone like you in their lives. And you are lucky to have people in your life that give you so much joy. However, when you put so much emphasis on one area of your life, there are pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Make sure you’re not so focused on the time you won’t get to spend with your grandkids that you don’t enjoy the time you do. Sometimes we get so preoccupied with the future and what’s not going to happen, that we don’t live in the present. When you’re with your grandkids, focus on the moment and enjoy every minute of your time together.
  • Don’t rely on your grandkids to satisfy all your emotional needs; that’s not their job. Your relationship with your grandkids is special, but one relationship cannot provide you with everything you need. Relying too heavily on your grandkids is too much responsibility for them—you’ve got to have other places to get emotional support.
  • Be careful not to alienate the parents. They love you and love having you around, but they also love their own bonding time with their kids. Give them space to have that time.
  • Consider the feelings of your husband or partner. When you dart off to be with the kids, what’s your husband doing? Does he feel like he’s losing out on your companionship because so much of your energy is devoted to the grandkids? Make sure you leave time for the two of you to reconnect and share experiences.

If you should find your focus getting out of whack, follow these three rules:

  1.  Keep up with your friends, your interests and activities. Get involved in the things that inspire you. Let your life be broad and expansive, not narrow and constrained.
  2. Spend with your other loved ones. Do activities together and revel in their company.
  3.  Remember that our hearts are stretchy—there’s room in there for many people.