First, let me congratulate you for wanting to make this change. It would be easier to just get defensive and say: “This is who I am. Take it or leave it.” Because you’re motivated, though, it shouldn’t be difficult if you stay vigilant about your words and elevate your role. After all, you’re the patriarch!
If they’re like most of us, your adult kids and granddaughter have plenty of folks in their lives who kid, goof off, and tease them. I imagine that they’d like you to be more of a leader, role model, and advisor than just another joker. In an increasingly hostile world, I bet they’d like you to be kind, compassionate, and sensitive to their feelings, especially if they are tenderhearted.
When I’m trying to alter a behavior, I adopt a mantra to keep me focused. Then, I say it again and again when I’m in the situation (either in my head or out loud). You could use something such as: “Let me use my words to create connection, not division.”
When my sons were little, my husband pointed out to me that I was sarcastic with them. While wounded at first, I did eventually step back, check my behavior, and realize that he was correct. I read about sarcasm and discovered it’s a passive-aggressive behavior. It’s used by people who are feeling hostile and impotent and struggling to communicate in a direct way. At that point in my life, this description fit me to a tee. When I worked to improve my communication skills and gain some power in my life, I was able to drop the sarcasm.
Therefore, if you take the time to figure out why you behave in this manner, you’ll gain powerful insight. You may need to go all the way back to childhood, but that newfound awareness will help you stop.