Successful grandparenting in the 21st century is a whole new ballgame. Family life has changed dramatically with the number of two-career couples living far away from grandparents. The family support system has altered greatly for many and the role of grandparents has morphed into a new reality.
Here are 10 tips to consider:
1. Realistically consider your role within the fabric of the entire family. Are there other grandparents, step-grandparents? How can you coordinate and negotiate successful solutions? Holidays and special occasions are especially important but day-to-day living and communication are keys to success.
2. Listen to both your grandchildren and their parents without criticism and judgement. Their needs are different and so is your perspective. Find the right time and place to interject your views on important matters.
3. Be patient. Your grandchildren and their parents are learning their roles in the same manner as you are…and they do not have the benefit of experience as you do. Moreover, times have changed and you do not have all the answers to today’s challenges either.
4. Spend time with your grandchildren. Take a cue from their parents but tactfully assert yourself if you are overwhelmed with their expectations or if you feel isolated from the flow.
3. Take an interest in your grandchildren’s activities. Are they into a particular sport? Are they into the performing arts? Respect their individual interests but cultivate talents they may not be aware they have.
4. Read to your grandchildren. It creates a bond with them, develops their imagination and fosters a love a learning.
5. See the world through your grandchildren’s eyes. Enjoy and relive their sense of wonder in the mundane. Reconnect with the beauty of the universe.
6. Keep up with new technology. This is especially important if you are an absentee grandparent. Be flexible in ways and means they want to connect. You are the adult and it’s up to you to reach out to them.
7. Create traditions. Respect their parents need to create their own family traditions but find a way to establish rapport and participate in new ways if needed.
8. Tell stories about your past. Sharing stories about your past will give your grandchildren an understanding of who you are and help them establish a sense of ancestral identity.
9. Develop your own style. Communicate your authentic uniqueness. You are one-of-a-kind and special.
10. Be creative. Do what comes naturally and consider these tips and utilize other successful techniques that you hear about from other grandparents.
Bonus Tip: Share your knowledge with others. Comment here to broaden our perspective and enhance all our chances of successful grandparenting.
Please share with us other ideas you may have to help us all be more successful grandparents.
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