an exclusive feature from Bonnie Compton *
Are your grandkids getting older (yeah, they seem to do that!)? Well, no doubt you may be missing those sweet snuggles, silly games or their big bear hugs and kisses they frequently gave you.
They no longer need you to help manage their schedule, fix their PB & J’s (not forgetting to cut off the crust), or put a cute band aid on their boo boo.
You may feel you’re no longer “needed” but that is so NOT true! They need you more than ever, but in a different way.
So, here’s the deal as your grandkids are developing and changing, it’s time for you to make some changes too! Yep, GRANDparenting is truly a partnership. Wishing they were still little or holding onto the way you’ve (grand) parented them in the past, does not work (I know…I’ve personally fallen into the same trap at times!) Holding onto expectations is not helpful nor healthy.
The good news: Even though your relationship is changing, you have the opportunity to continue to grow it and now, in an even deeper way.
Here are some tips to help you make the shift…
- Get to know your grandkids. Yes, you know them, but do you really know them as the older version of themselves? Hang out with them individually and make sure you offer to do things they want to do, not what you’d like to do. Get curious about their likes and dislikes. Acknowledge your grandchildren by letting them know you see them and hear them.
- I love watching you play soccer.
- I’m curious to hear your opinion about the way teens are treated by adults?
- The strength of your relationship is dependent upon the frequency in which you engage with them. This is easier if you live in close proximity, but many families no longer live close to each other. Even if you live close by, your older grandkids are busy and have a life of their own.
Seeing your grandkids once or twice a year with little to no contact in between is not enough to build a long-lasting relationship with them. Yes, it takes even more effort. If your funds do not allow you to travel frequently, try to connect in other ways. Face Timing, calling, texting, emails and letter writing (hopefully not a lost art!) promote connection. Sending a little love gift occasionally lets them know they matter to you. Of course it’s important to be respectful of your grandkid’s time. You want them to want to connect with you, not dread another Facetime with Grandma!
- Don’t take it personally if you reach out and they’re too busy to talk. Ask to schedule a time that works for them.
- Teach them a skill or ask them to teach you one. Kids feel empowered when they’re able to share their knowledge and gifts with others.
- Work on a shared project. Creating a family scrapbook together is a great way to share memories and helps them learn more about their family.
- Remember, your relationship with your grandkids is also directly connected to your relationship with their parents. You cannot easily have one without the other. They are their kid’s gatekeepers, so don’t forget to continue to nurture your relationship with your adult children and their partners.
- Try gifting an experience that you can do together. A special class or trip together helps to create sweet memories. (My husband and I gift our granddaughters a shared trip each Christmas. We’ve created many fun memories together!)
If you want to maintain and nurture a close relationship, it’s up to you to change your way of being in the relationship as your grandkids grow and evolve. Remember, a grandparent-grandchild relationship that has been nurtured…is everlasting.
Here’s to grandparenting!
*5 Tips for Nurturing Your Relationship with Grandchildren as They Grow, is an exclusive feature for Grandparentslink.com by Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP. Bonnie is a child & adolescent therapist, as well as a parenting coac, and has worked with families for more than thirty years – totally passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families. In doing so, Bonnie helps parents and grandparents create healthy boundaries and relationships. She is a writer, speaker, workshop and retreat facilitator, and hosts her own podcast radio program, Wholehearted Parenting Radio, which is available on iTunes, Web Talk Radio, Radioactive Broadcasting Network, and Stitcher Radio. Bonnie lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband. She is a mom of four adult children and believes that being a mother has been her most important job; and loves being Gramma to her three beautiful granddaughters. Bonnie is also the author of a new book, Mothering with Courage, Available here!, and also has an online course Mothering with Courage Daily OM
Have a question or want to contact Bonnie? www.bonniecompton.com,