How To Foster Closeness Between Grandparents And Grandchildren

Some relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren are better than others. While some grandparents are emotionally close to their grandchildren others are not. Family dynamics has a lot to do with this. If the parents have animosity towards their parents they may prevent the grandparents from seeing their grandchildren. In other cases the grandparents themselves may have estranged themselves from their children and grandchildren. Also divorce can impact how often grandparents get to see their grandchildren. Usually the parent with custody shares the grandkids more frequently with their own parents and sadly, the other set of grandparents finds their time with their grandkids greatly reduced.

I remember when I was three my grandmother, who lived in another state, came to stay with us for a visit. I remember her demanding I clean my messy bedroom and me being defiant and stubbornly refusing to. I learned much later in life that my grandmother had accused my mother of not being able to control me or discipline me and was wanting to take me away from my mother to raise me thinking she could do better, however, after a few days with me she had more sympathy and compassion for my mother and let the issue go. Yes, I was THAT child. I never had any other memories of my grandmother other than that experience as she was killed by a drunk driver a few years later and I never had any other interaction with her.

In contrast, my step grandmother, whom my grandfather married after my grandmother died, was the epitome of the warm, loving grandma who dotes on her grandchildren. Even though she also lived hundreds of miles away we always kept in touch and I even would fly out to visit her occasionally. I still have memories of the hot cocoa made from scratch and the hugs she always gave me.

Even though living in close physical proximity allows for more in person connection between grandparents and grandchildren there are things like Skype and face time phone calls. Frequency of contact, whether in person or through technology, can help build a relationship between grandparents and grandchildren.

Practicing tolerance and allowance for the younger generation’s points of view and values can go a long way with fostering the relationship. Each generation is more progressive than the last. Expecting your grandkids to have the same beliefs and values as yourself is not realistic and can only alienate them. Sharing your core values and beliefs are something you should always continue to do though. Having multiple points of view to consider is wise for everyone to learn and grow from.

Showing them unconditional love though is ultimately the strongest way to foster closeness between yourself and your grandkids.