As grandchildren get older, they spend less time with their grandparents. Grandkids feel like their grandparents will never understand what is going on in their lives, and grandparents feel that they gap between them and their grandkids widens with the Internet, IMing, Texting and Partying that is such a huge part of teen life today.
Grandparents often have trouble connecting with their ‘grandteens’ on the phone or in person and need to speak to them on their level, with topics that interest teens. So how can grandparents do this?
1) Have them Teach you: I would highly recommend that grandparents be completely honest with their grandkids and tell them that they want to learn about texting, websites, blogs and all the Internet has to offer.
• Teens usually just want to be listened to, even if grandparents do not have a huge interest in the difference between AOL and MSN, or if they do not completely understand everything—at least you will be communicating.
In order to teach grandkids about family history and cultural identity Grandparents need to feel comfortable talking to their grandteens to bridge the generation gap between them.
2) Assign a Project: This works really well with younger kids, but grandparents should assign their grandkids a project to ‘find the family tree’ tell them you want them to be in charge of writing down your memoirs.
• This will give kids the feeling that they are being entrusted and empowered with a great responsibility, and this will make them feel respected and more like an adult.
• This also gives kids something to do, and puts them in charge of remembering family heritage.
• It gives more reasons to communicate with you!
3) Be Lenient, be the escape:
• The teen years can be rough on teens and parents, but they do not have to be for grandparents. Grandparents do not have to take the disciplinarian role anymore! Often times teens want to have someone other than their parents to talk to, let your grandkids know that this can be you.
• Grandteens should be speaking with their grandparents on a regular basis and can even use Grandparents as allies in the tumultuous relationship with their parents.
Whatever approach you, or your grandparents decide to take, as long as there is some communication—any communication this is wonderful for maintaining the relationship and passing on family legacies.