Grandparents improving society one child at a time

* Modern family dynamics include members living on multiple continents, connected only by online interactions and limited to the occasional “bucket-list” holiday adventure. It isn’t easy to maintain a personal connection with younger generations, with mobility and technological skill limitations, pandemic implications and travel restrictions all playing a role in this issue. Many of us have found non-blood family members who become our ‘grandparents’ or ‘parents’, that longed after ‘older sister’ or ‘big brother’. So whether we are connected by blood, or not, we all need to look at the kinds of connections we are making and the roll we are playing in aiding future generations. 

How Grandparents Can Play A Proactive Roll In Improving Society.

Today’s article was submitted to us by Marc Joseph who resides in Arizona where he and his wife Cathy enjoy spending time with their family. Marc is the author of The Secrets of Retailing “How can I help these stores stay afloat?” retail expert  He also writes in the children’s genre under the pen name: Gramps Jeffrey. Drop by his site at:  …Shout out to Lisa Pellegrene of Publicity With Purpose for sending today’s guest our way. 

Thirty percent of grandparents are classified as being remote, according to an often-quoted study by Cherin and Furstenberg. The remote definition is that almost 1 out of every 3 grandparents rarely see their grandchildren… and most of that contact is made on birthdays and holidays.

This same study says 55% of grandparents are defined as “companionate” where they will do things with their grandchildren but have little authority or control over them. The last 15% of grandparents are defined as “involved” where they take an active role in their grandchild’s life.

We may want to rush to judgement and say “what is wrong with our baby boomer generation?” that they are not involved in wanting to raise this next greatest generation. But many of these broken relationships may not be caused entirely by the grandparents.

While grandparents are crucial in a grandchild’s development, grandparents can also cause a strained relationship with the kid’s parents. They can facilitate dividing spouses and can cause generational anxiety. Issues such as giving unsolicited advice by telling the parents what to do; and disrespecting boundaries by dropping in unannounced, are just some examples of how grandparents can cause family strife without realizing it.

Now, just like when we were raising our own kids, a bit of head-butting happens when you simply don’t see eye to eye in the best ways to raise and care for children. But too many times grandparents go way far over that line, which does give our children the right to distance the grandchildren from the grandparents. Examples that push grandparents away include:

1. Undermining the parents’ authority by challenging what a parent is teaching their children.

 Grandparents question the parents’ values and family structure.

2. Tendency to play favorites and manipulate siblings.

3. Transactional control of the kids through money, gifts and vacations.

4. An overall lack of empathy, known as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, which is so crucial in very young children.

5. Grandparents who demand that a grandchild comply and respect them.

We cannot lose site that grandparents help teach kids values, help strengthen their moral compass and help advance their language skills. We also know that the more social support grandparents can give to parents, the more bandwidth this gives the parent to just be a good parent. 

Kids assume that whatever environment they grow up in is normal. So, if they see positive and respectful interaction between their parents and grandparents this is the values they learn. If they see their parents push away their grandparents, this is what they will think is normal.

We must now ask ourselves, what kind of grandparent are we really, or what kind of grandparent do we want to become. How will our grandchildren remember us?


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