How to Grandparent a Teenager
Your relationship with your teenage grandchild, whose journey into young adulthood is a never-ending sea of adjustments, growing, and learning, doesn’t have to be strenuous or difficult. In fact, having agrandteencan be an incredibly rewarding and deeply loving relationship.
Deepening Your Bond
Spend time together without parents.When your grandchild’s parents are around the dynamic is different. One-on-one time is when you can create a deeper relationship and be more yourselves with each other. Because you're not the parent, your point of view is seen as advice and counsel rather than control and judgment.
Communicate with your grandteen.Teenagers often depend on their grandparents for advice on topics like peer pressure, bullying, and crushes, so it’s important that you keep those lines of communication open. This will not only improve the relationship with your grandchild, but will also make your grandteen feel more secure chatting with you.
- Remember to not only talk about your own perspectives of the events in your grandchild’s life but listen to your grandteen's perspective as well.
- Make an effort to understand your grandteen’s point of view and empathize with it. Sometimes that’s all grandteens want.
- Go see your grandteen’s school or extracurricular activities like dance recitals and sporting events.
Be interested in what interests your grandchild.Part of being a teenager is feeling misunderstood. A great way to alleviate that is to learn about what interests your grandteen and then learn as much as you can about the subject, particularly from your grandchild.
- Relate these things to experiences in your own life. Be sure, however, that you do it subtly because teenagers have very sensitive antennae to how their situation is vastly different.
- Do things that your grandchild likes to do, whether it’s going to the movies or going to a concert.
Invite grandteens on vacation.You’ll have time to explore someplace new and create new, fresh experiences together. You can even allow your grandchild to invite a friend, thus creating the best of both worlds for each of you: your grandteen spends time with a friend while you spend time getting to know both children even better.
Treating Them Like Adults
Understand grandteens are beginning their own life.While still dependent on their parents, teenagers are in the nascent stages of finding who they are and moving off on their own into the world. Your grandchild is no different. Don’t forget that teenagers weren’t meant to cling to their grandparents like plastic wrap. Your grandteen would never be successful in the real world nor feel safe enough to move out.
Avoid nagging your grandchild.This is something we do with children in order to get things done or to get a message across: repeat and repeat. We get so used to it that when grandchildren get older we continue to remind them of everything. For a young adult, this is nagging. You shouldn’t do it to an adult so you shouldn’t do it to your grandteen.
- By not nagging you are giving your grandteen trust and respect as you would any adult.
- Accept your grandchild’s appearance. Different generations experience different fashions and expressions of self and it is your job to accept these changes as part of your grandchild’s personality.
- Never mock or ridicule your grandchild as it is a negative interaction that will only widen the gulf between the two of you.
- Compliment your grandchild in front of his/her boyfriend/girlfriend. Never tease or make fun of grandteens in these situations.
Support your grandchild’s independence.Don’t make your grandchild feel guilty if he/she doesn’t want to do anything with you. It’s okay and it is part of growing up and separating. Making your grandchild feel guilty will only lower their self-esteem and cause an overflow of guilt that wasn't deserved.
- It is understandable to feel upset or even mad that your grandchild does not want anything to do with you, but it is important to handle it in an appropriate manner and not to judge your grandchild.
- Your job is to love and support your grandteen for who your grandchild are.
- If your grandchild has a date and does not want you involved then let the two kids go and have their fun. You have to respect your grandchild's space just as much as your grandteen has to respect your space.
Respect their opinion.As children get older, their own perspectives on life become more pronounced and their reasons better thought out. Respect your grandchildren's opinions and even if you may not agree with your grandteens’ beliefs, you have to pay these beliefs respect.
Accept mistakes.Growing up means making mistakes and that means your grandteen will make some. Sometimes your grandchild will make a lot of mistakes. Keep loving and supporting your grandteen because after all, your grandchild isn’t perfect and that’s what makes him/her the perfect grandchild.
- Remember that to grandteens their problems are big. Therefore, those problems should be big to you as well.
- Whenever there is a problem, teach your grandteen how to fix it rather than fix it for your grandchild.
- Stay neutral on parent-child problems your grandchild is experiencing by helping your grandteen see the emotions and reasoning of both sides.
- Always come from a place of love.
- If you suspect your grandchild is self-harming in some way, be it through drugs, alcohol, or some other medium, make sure you assist your grandchild in getting help. Your grandteen needs to know you’re on their side.
- Don't enable your grandteen in order to feel loved. Be strong and supportive but always true to your convictions and word.
Video: A Teenager's NDE - Cardiac Arrest at 16 - Reunites with Grandmother.
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