Many of my readers, who are grandparents, have emailed me about their teenage grandchildren! The topic of coming alongside your grandchildren to help raise them weighs heavy on your mind. That was why I was so glad when 4mom.com approached me about writing a guest post on grandparent relationships! So thank you to 4moms.com and Rae Steinbach for this guest post.
You adore your grandchildren, but now that they are older, it feels as if you have started to drift apart. With such a wide age gap, it can be a challenge to connect and find things to talk about. Gone are the days of watching them rock in a swing for infants; now you’re dealing with nearly grown up individuals struggling with their first relationships, exams, driving, and more. So much is going on in their lives that doesn’t involve you, yet you would like to stay involved. What can you do? Here are 9 meaningful ways grandparents can connect with their teenager grandchildren!
9 Meaningful Ways Grandparents Can Connect with Their Teenage Grandchildren
Connecting with your teenage grandchildren often starts with reinforcing how much you care. Here are some tips to help build your relationship in a way that you both benefit.
Connect with Grandchildren on Social Media
It’s a fact: today’s society revolves around technology. Surveys have shown that the average age for children to get their first cell phone in the United States is 10. Growing up with technology at their fingertips means that most teenagers are extremely adept at using phones, the internet, and social media apps. You might not be, and that’s to be expected. However, if you want to impress your grandkids and tune into their lives, it helps to learn about the tech they are using and maybe even create your own social media accounts.
We’re not saying that you have to start posting everyday on Instagram and Tiktok, but you can at least follow your grandchild to see what they are up to (with their permission of course). It seems like an unnecessary chore to keep up with the ever-changing technology of today, but it will make you feel more engaged in the world your grandkids inhabit and give you both something to talk about.
Spend Time with Teenage Grandchildren One on One
You see your grandkids at family gatherings like Thanksgiving and birthdays, but it’s hard to connect on a deeper level when there are so many other people around. When was the last time you spent time with your grandkids one-on-one? Perhaps try scheduling a lunch with them every week or every two weeks where you can catch up and treat them to their favorite meal. A lot of teens are on a tight budget, so they will likely appreciate both the tasty food and the company.
Grandparents Should Be Themselves When Bonding With Grandkids
You may have a few years on you, but you haven’t lost your sense of humor! Don’t be afraid to let it show — your grandkids want to know the real you. They are old enough now to appreciate your jokes, so why hold back? By being your authentic self all the time, they are more likely to be themselves and open up to you about things.
Share with Teenage Grandchildren A Skill
While you might not be an expert on social media, there’s probably a hobby that you are really good at that you can teach to your grandchild. From knitting to woodworking, golf, or gardening, there are lots of fun activities you can share with your grandchild that will help them get to know who you are and what you enjoy doing. Ask them what they would like to learn and every time you see them, encourage them to keep trying. They will take their new skill with them the rest of their lives and may even teach it to their grandchildren one day.
Grandparents are Great Support Team Members
Being a teenager is one of the hardest periods while growing up. Your grandchild is suddenly facing standardized tests that will help decide their future endeavors, the prospect of having to leave their home, and learning what it means to be an adult. While they are not fully grown yet, look for chances to help them out when they need guidance or support. This could include helping them with driving practice, taking meals over to them on study nights, or teaching them how to do repairs around the house.
Connect with Teenage Grandchildren Over School
High school curriculum has changed since you graduated, but it’s likely that you have read the books on your grandkid’s syllabus. From The Odyssey to The Catcher in the Rye, there are a lot of classics that every high schooler must read today. Connect with your grandchild over your interpretations of these well-known books and see if they need any help with their essays for class.
Grandparents Can Bond with Teens by Sharing Stories
Your grandkids don’t know everything about their parents, but you do! Share some funny stories about what their parents were like growing up, from the trouble they got into as children to what they used to wear. You’re sure to get some laughs from the crowd as you share these well hidden secrets. You can also share anecdotes from your own upbringing, particularly if you had an experience that was similar to what your grandchild is going through. It can be very comforting to know that you have already gone through the same struggles with prepping for college, or that you faced similar boy drama.
Grandparents Can Focus on Love for Teenage Grandchildren
Times have changed and the cultural norms of your upbringing and that of your grandchildren could not be more different. You may not always agree with how they dress or are choosing to live their life, but this is their life and they deserve to make their own choices, just as you made yours. If you always extend open, non-judgmental arms, then they will be more likely to seek you out for advice, friendship, and comfort. Let them know that you are always there for them, no matter what.
Grandparents Should Attend Teenage Grandkids Important Events
Is your grandchild going to be in a play at school or do they have a big soccer game coming up? Make sure you are front and center, cheering them on, with flowers or foam finger if appropriate. Make them feel loved and your efforts will come back to you. Definitely don’t miss important ceremonies like graduation. The biggest thing you can do for your grandchildren is be there for these unforgettable moments in their lives.
9 Meaningful Ways Grandparents Can Connect with Teenage Grandchildren
While there may be moments where the age gap is obvious, most of the time teenagers really appreciate their grandparents. Grandparents can be that person that sees them, has time to listen and who can bridge the gap between parents and teens. So make sure to keep trying different ways to continue to build the relationship with your teenage grandchildren!
Comment below and let us know what has worked for you!!
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