AS A FATHER, more and more I realize how fortunate I was to meet my grandparents before they were gone. I met my mother’s parents and saw them frequently as we lived in the same geographical area. My father’s parents lived in another country so I only met them a couple of times. Although my relationship with them was scarce, I still remember these visits and the memories will always stay with me. My father had foster parents and they were a staple in my life for my formative years and our history is rich. Every birthday they would take me to a meal of my choice. This was a birthday present I would always anticipate year after year. Grandparents are something that all children should get to experience period.
The values of grandparents:
Acceptance. In many instances grandparents have recognized mistakes and pitfalls that they made with their first generation. Grandchildren are an opportunity to do things differently and simply accept this generations of humans for who they are. Parents learn about unconditional love and grandparents can be really good about demonstrating it!
Safety. Grandparents have obvious experience in the care for children. I am alive and if you are a parent currently reading this, your parents were a success too! Grandparents are a little “old school.” They let children explore differently and have simple failures when sometimes it can be hard for parents to step back and let natural consequences happen.
Spoil. I grew-up in a home that did not have a television. My parents still do not have a television in their home but our boys see plenty of videos on the computer in their home. I still have no idea when this transition to screen time being OK happened and when this disconnect took place. Grandma and grandpa sometimes get relaxed about things they were strict about when we were kids.
Time & Presence. My partner and I are conscious about being fully present but often times we are juggling multiple things in our family life when we are with our boys. Grandparents know how quickly time in these young lives passes and know how to be fully present in the lives of their second set of kids.
Yes, I know that all families do not have the luxury of having grandparents alive and involved in the lives of their family. If you do have grandparents alive - and regardless of what scar tissue is present from your youth - prioritize your children spending time with them. If grandparents are not alive or present find people of your circle of life that your children can treat as grandparents. Yes, your child needs you but they also need the input of someone else that thinks they are special and will adore them in a different way than you do.