I have to say that I think my son is one of the luckiest kids I know. Besides the obvious of having an amazing Mom and Dad he gets to live right next to one set of grandparents. Our house is right beside my parents and the house that I grew up in. We both live on acreage and my son loves the opportunity to be able to pop over for chocolate covered granola bars anytime that he wants to. In his teen years I’ve noticed that he’s developing a really cool relationship with both sets of grandparents.
My hubby stayed with his nonna a lot when he was little. Both his parents worked so she was the caregiver. They were close all through his grown up years. Me, I had more of a regular relationship with my grandparents. Go for tea, holiday dinners and the odd camping trip. I really wanted my son to have a great, close relationship with both sets of grandparents. I think of all the great things that he can learn from them. Things that would make their times together special. My parents could teach him how to take apart an old car and put it back together or build something and work as a team. Desi’s parents could help him with how to get his first job, or grow a garden. All could teach him the meaning of hard work. I also had hopes of them cultivating a special bond throughout the years and he could at any time be able to confide in them if necessary. Another person on your teens team is always a good thing, especially if they come equip with tons of life experience.
One thing that we are focusing on these days is making sure that our visits aren’t always spent on the phone or the computer and that there is actual visiting and talking going on. In writing this post I started doing a bit of digging on what the stats looked like and I was a bit shocked.
Researchers found that although 65 per cent of youngsters do see their grandparents every single week, 37 per cent claim this is only because their parents want them to. And while 39 per cent talk to their grandparents on the phone, Facebook or Skype at least once a week – 16 per cent once a day – conversation is rarely focussed on what the grandparents are doing or have done in the past. Four in 10 kids have no idea what their grandparents proudest achievements are, while 30 per cent don’t know if they have any special skills or talents. And 42 per cent don’t spend any time talking about their grandparent’s history – and are therefore clueless about what their grandmother or grandad was like when they were younger.*
So I think that its up to us parents to really make sure that we keep this in mind when we have our visits. We know more of what our parents past looks like, but we really have to encourage our kids in this age of technology to put down the phones and actually talk with their people and understand them, their successes and struggles and look to them for wisdom. Not everything can be learned from google or the gram. Plus you never know, it may spur on some research next time they turn on their phone, they may want to better understand the stories and history that they learnt from their grandparents.