Communicating with your grand-kids when they are little is rarely a problem. Grandparents are the ones that seem to have a sunny disposition whenever they are around their grand-kids. They are the ones that are always ready to play or read a story, even if mum and dad have their attention elsewhere.
It your are fortunate enough to live near your grand-kids and have been in their lives since they came into the world they are going to be very comfortable with you. You will have probably baby sat them, changed their diaper, fed them and cuddled them when they were sick. But the inevitable happens-they grow up!
The teen years arrive and they turn into different people and as a parent of parents you will already know what it’s like to raise a teen. They don’t want to be cuddled anymore or sit on your lap. They have their own ideas of what type of gifts they like and what they like to eat. There’s no more getting what you like and what they used to be only too thrilled about.
Most of the time the teens today are tuned out to the older generation, they are plugged into an ipod, iphone, on their computer, or playing games. Sometimes it’s just really tough to connect with them as a parent or a grandparent. The important thing is to keep the doors of communication open even if it’s a small window they need to know that you are there whenever they need to talk or just hang out in silence.
A short while ago I got a text from my granddaughter and I don’t like to text other than in situations like this with my grand-kids (it just takes me so long). My granddaughter asked me to pick her up from school as she had a disagreement with her parents and she was mad at them. I phoned her parents and told them what was going on and picked her up from school. We hung out together for the next 3 or 4 hours talking about all sorts, including when I was her age and how difficult it can be as a teen, but also for parents that are not sure how to handle some situations, also to keep in mind that they are doing their best.
I never lectured or said that her parents were right or wrong. I let her think about things for herself. We talked about things we would probably never have talked about if it had not been for this situation. I was so glad that she called me and I hope that she feels comfortable enough that she wouldn’t hesitate to do so again.
It is tough for parents and it’s tough for the grand-kids too, so let them know that you are approachable and there for them even when they are mad at their parents. It’s much better that they contact you; someone that loves them and has their safety and interest at heart.
We never want them to feel that they have to call or go to someone else that may not give a care or could totally take advantage of the situation. The same applies to getting a ride home late at night we want them to call us not a stranger. Even if we can’t get there to collect them ourselves we can make sure it’s someone responsible going and not some drunk behind the wheel.
• Send them a card now and again with something funny or interesting in it.
• Find out what their favorite music, movies and TV programs are.
• Ask about their friends not in a snooping way but real interest.
• As they are always use email and text to connect, send them an email or text occasionally. If you don’t know how then challenge yourself to learn.
• We need to try to live in their world and try to figure out what makes them tick and what worries them without being intrusive.
• Try to remember what it was like to be their age and how you felt. You maybe over 50 and it may be a long time since you were a teen but it usually comes flooding back once you start to talk about it.
Enjoy making the connection with your teen grand-kids. Be a cool grandma or grandpa!