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Cavin Harper, Grands Matter
Originally posted on grandsmatter.org on June 23, 2016
I hear comments like these about grandparents more often than I would like:
“I’d like to have a special relationship with my grandparents, but they’re so critical. I just don’t want to be around them.”
“My parents are constantly undermining my parenting and relationship with our kids. Why can’t they support us?”
“I really want my children to know my parents. They’ve done such a great job parenting themselves. But they are completely disconnected from their grandchildren, and that grieves me a lot.”
I want to be fair and say that I also hear plenty of amazing stories about grandparents enjoying incredible relationships with their adult children and their grandchildren. Their stories move me to be an even better grandparent myself. Still, there is a lot of pain going around out there.
I believe in the importance of strong, healthy adult-child relationships in families, and I’m sure most of you want to be effective, intentional grandparents who really do matter in the lives of both grown children and grandchildren. So, I’d like to offer six powerful ways you can be a grandparent who matters—the kind that both your grown children and your grandchildren really want to be around. Here they are:
There is a lot more I could say about being a grandparent that matters, but these six simple steps are a good starting point. These six things can help us make sure we aren’t in the way.
Cavin Harper is Founder and Executive Director of Christian Grandparenting Network (christiangrandparenting.net). He is author of Courageous Grandparenting: Unshakable Faith in a Broken World as well as several articles and blogs. Cavin has served in various ministry positions and has operated a retreat center with his wife Diane. They have been married for 44 years, have two children and nine grandchildren, and live in Colorado Springs.
Just as grandma's cookie jar should always be full of good things, this blog will be full of good ideas, information, activities and reviews of things to help grandma . . . and grandpa, mom and dad too . . . pass on a heritage of faith to the children in their lives!
Record 70 million Americans have grandchildren
Oh, the joy of grandparenting!
The baby boom has become the grandparent boom: There are now more grandparents in the U.S. than ever before — some 70 million, according to the latest census. That's a 24 percent increase since 2001.
In fact, of all adults over 30, more than 1 in 3 were grandparents as of 2014.
The same boomers who famously doted on their children are now lavishing attention on the next generation — and with an average of five to six grandchildren per grandparent, that can mean quite a financial investment. An AARP study showed that 25 percent of grandparents have spent more than $1,000 in the past year on their grandchildren. It is spent on gifts as well as vacations. An entire travel industry has now grown around intergenerational travel.
It is all quintessential boomer grandparenting, says Grandparents.com columnist Barbara Graham.
"My mother loved my son, but there was nothing like the level of obsession my friends and I have for our grandchildren," Graham says.
Other than being great news for Hallmark — maybe Grandparents Day will really catch on — experts agree that the more grandparents there are, the better for all involved.
"Grandparenting is healthy for us," says Lillian Carson, author of the landmark book The Essential Grandparent. "Being in touch with the younger generation literally beefs up the immune system."
Is your attitude keeping your from building relationships with your children or young people in your life? Take this attitude quiz from Save Their Future Now to help determine any barriers that might be keeping you from engaging with the youth in your life.
Grandparents are needed today more than ever — not only to support fatigued parents, but also to be trusted allies who provide a much-needed sense of stability, security and unconditional love to kids, whether those kids are 2 years old or 18. Find a few “first steps” that can help you build strong relationships between grandparents and grandchildren. Read this article from Thriving Family for tips on nurturing these special relationships.
Focus on the Family provides this article series on grandparenting and some good ideas on maintaining relationships with grandchildren who live far away.