Dear Grandparenting: We raised our four kids in New England because of Roy’s job in Boston. After he made some money, we retired to Kiawah Island down in Georgia while the getting was still good. All of our kids and our seven (still counting!) grandchildren continue to live in New England.
Keeping abreast of our grandchildren is a problem. We’re older and not so “with it” about their world. We do make it a point to talk on the phone regularly but that is a poor substitute for being there. Lord knows there’s a need. Several of my children like to change partners and have some growing up to do.
Roy and I were sure there for our grandchildren during their formative years. I could write a thick book about all the things we did together: holidays, vacations, babysitting, shopping, school events, ice-cream runs, etc. Let’s just say we opened our hearts and purse.
We were certainly a positive influence in their life and like to think that will continue. But since we see so much less of our grandchildren, it begs the question. What can we do now? Bunny Murray, Kiawah Island, Georgia
Dear Bunny: For starters, continue to build on the firm foundation you’ve already laid down with your grandchildren. And while you may not be enamored of technologies that enable face-to-face conversations across great distance, they beat a phone call any day in our book. Facial expressions and body language convey far more information than mere words.
Don’t sell yourself short regarding your continued influence on their development. In broken or dysfunctional families, grandparents serve as a working model of what “normal” relationships look like and are naturally positioned to become confidants and mentors to grandchildren in danger of losing their way.
Besides their direct involvement, grandparents can indirectly make a difference in a grandchild’s wellbeing by influencing parental behaviors. Providing advice and emotional support can reduce parental stress, which in turn may result in more positive outcomes for grandchildren.
Grandparents keep riding to the rescue well into young adulthood, even well beyond that. Research indicates that a quality grandparent-grandchildren relationship can influence youngsters as they begin to transition from adolescence, influencing their grades, risky behaviors and sexual conduct.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Easy Does It, of Phoenix, Arizona, was delighted by an overnight visit from daughter Dena and his two young grandsons.
“We don’t have any little kids like you around anymore,” said Easy as he pulled Charlie, 4, onto his lap and wrapped his arms around him.
A mini frown crossed Charlie’s little face. “What did you do with them, Granddaddy?”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.