Tips for Grandparents of Teens
Remember what it was like to be a teen? Time has a way of changing our perspective of those days. It’s easy to forget how it really felt to be in your teens. Some of the challenges of the teenage years can get glossed over with time. In reality, the road between childhood and adulthood is filled with hills and valleys.
The social pressures on teenagers today are probably stronger than ever before. Advances in technology and social media have made it almost impossible to escape from the struggles of peer pressure. Today, other people’s opinions and comments follow kids around everywhere they go on their phones and computers.
A grandparent can play a crucial role in a teen’s life. Having the unconditional love and acceptance of a grandparent can help make the challenges of the teen years easier.
There’s nothing quite as comforting as having someone love and appreciate you with no strings attached. That feeling is one of the most significant gifts grandparents can give to teens.
Even if our teenage grandchildren don’t show it right now, our relationships with them and the experiences we share together are having an impact and will probably become some of their most deeply treasured memories in the future.
It can be hard to know how to bridge the generation gap in ways both grandparent and teen grandchild can enjoy. But it’s possible. Here are some suggestions from grandparents of teens.
A few helpful tips...
- Spend alone time together. The one-on-one moments you share with your teenage grandchild will be special to both of you. Having other people around, even the child’s parents, can change the dynamic between grandchild and grandchild. Try to make arrangements to spend time alone together.
- Connect as human beings. Keep your conversations natural and relaxed. Let your grandchild get to know you as a real person with real feelings. Don’t concentrate only on the positives. Talk about some of your losses as well as your victories, and share how you deal with difficult times.
- Talk about stuff that matters. When you have an opportunity to spend time talking with your teen grandchildren, make the most of it. Ask about their interests and favorite activities. Ask about their likes and dislikes. Find out what types of music, sports, television shows, etc. they like. Find out about their goals and dreams for the future. Tell them about your life experiences, both current and past. Ask your grandchildren to show you their school, favorite store, or hangout.
- Go places and have adventures together. Go to movies, theater, museums, or sporting events. Go fishing. Plant a garden. Build of create something. These kinds of things are not only fun, they also give you and your grandchild something to talk about with each other. Spend time talking about the experience.
- Look at old photos together. Nowadays, people tend to keep photos on their phones, but there’s nothing like looking through photo album with someone you love. Flipping through the pages inspires conversations. Make photo albums filled with images of your favorite moments with your grandchildren. You’ll enjoy them and so will your grandchildren. Life goes by so fast these days for people of all ages. It’s nice have an opportunity to take a look back at the past.
- Teach and learn from each other. Older folks can share a lot with their grandchildren, including experiences they’ve had, life lessons they’ve acquired, values and principles they hold dear, and personal observations of historical events they’ve witnessed. Young people have plenty of knowledge to share as well, about things like new technologies, changes in culture, and evolving outlooks. If your grandchild has a special interest, ask to learn more about it.