As we get older we tend to value certain things more. This being said, it’s safe to say that grandparents take their relationships with their grandchildren very seriously. Maybe they would like a “second chance” at being the role model they weren’t with their own children, or maybe they just know how quickly time passes us by. Regardless, a close relationship with your grandchildren is a rewarding one, and one with seemingly no downfalls. Grandparents are oftentimes a child’s strongest connection to their family heritage, as well as a reserve of happy memories.
As a grandparent, the day-to-day responsibilities of parenthood are typically forfeited. This usually gives them the ability and ease of developing a solid and trustworthy relationship, without them having to worry about being punished or scolded. Of course, no two relationships are the same. It’s best to contact your child and discuss the type of role and boundaries you’re going to have with your grandchild. Some grandparents take on the role of babysitting while the parents are away at work, sometimes visiting grandparents on the weekend as seen as a treat or vacation, and sometimes grandparents live further away and are a Facebook message or a phone call. Regardless of the type of relationship, the most important aspect of any relationship (especially with children), is consistency. Even if you do not discipline your grandkids, it’s important to enforce any rules they may have at home. It’s also important to respect their parents’ wishes. Sometimes as a grandparent, it’s easy to spoil our grandchildren with gifts and candy; this is a normal instinct to have, but parents don’t always want the same for their children, every time they go to grandma or grandpas. To avoid this, why not kill two birds with one stone, and in place of material items, replace them with memories; a trip to the park or the zoo will be engrained in their minds for longer than that chocolate bar probably will. In doing so, you’re strengthening the bond between you and your grandchildren, and making sure they’re active or learning something along the way.
Keep in mind that your grandchildren will often be interested in similar things as you, even though they are much younger. Sharing your own interests, hobbies, or even work, may spark an interest in them. At the same time, sharing their interests is also a way to build a strong bond. Whether they’re passionate about Pokemon cards, video games, or soccer, these can all be opportunities of having a shared interest. When they share their “expertise” with you, it gives them a chance to open up in whole new ways, and their level of trust grows. You can even do so, at a distance. If you don’t have the ability to live close by, we live in a digital age and have Skype, Facebook, and much more.
Regardless of where you are in the world, the relationship your grandchild has with you is one of the most powerful and formative relationships they can have. They’ll look to you for advice, they’ll see you as a role model, and they’ll see you as an escape. You’ll find that they’re the one teaching you.