Growing With the Grands

written by Barb Howe
1 · 24 · 22

It seems to be a universal phenomenon that life changes the moment we become grandparents. I still recall the fluttering of my heart when I caught the first sight of my grandson. My life changed for the better. That moment led to a long list of firsts: the first time he responded to my smile, the first time he said my name, and the first time he toddled into my arms for a hug. I learned to love in ways I didn’t know existed. I learned to enjoy the moments as they happened, before they melted into history.

My advice: treasure the memories of those young grandbabies in your heart while keeping an eye to the future. Embrace the new, different list of firsts: cognitive changes that mark your grandchildren’s journey to the teen and young adult years. Be forewarned these developments are accompanied by emerging independence, individualized personal opinions, and at times, challenging emotional dilemmas. Along with physical changes, older grandchildren are more aware of this world and broadening their experiences. 

  • Have you received a grandchild’s first text message from their personal phone? 
  • Listened while they talked about a first romantic crush? 
  • Mourned together over the first big heartbreak? 

You cannot shield them from the painful parts of life, but you can encourage them with godly wisdom when faced with difficulties. At times, it may feel like they no longer need you. This, in fact, may be the most critical age when they need to hear godly wisdom. As grandparents, your words carry much weight. Resist the urge to give up when they don’t respond as you wish; instead, remain an anchor of stability. Our relationships must adapt to their changing needs if we are to maintain a strong, positive relationship. 

When I sat down to talk with a few friends whose grandchildren are grown, they offered insights that I am now beginning to put into practice with my grandson.

  1. When grandkids reach their teens, start talking to them as you would a young adult, which they are. Listen while they talk, and don’t try to fix their problems for them.
  2. Older grandchildren have longer attention spans and often are more interested in learning their family history that we might realize. Share stories of your life, including how God carried you through difficult times. 
  3. Ask questions that invite a response, but refrain from prying into their privacy. Be patient. They may need time to process their thoughts. 
  4. Address tough topics. We live in a time when Christian beliefs are frequently viewed with disdain while sinful behaviors are glorified. Young people need discernment to navigate the treacherous opinions of popular culture.
  5. Give them freedom to choose how much personal information they are willing to divulge. We all need a certain level of comfort before we share our deepest needs. Accept that you will never know every detail about their private lives.
  6. Most importantly, let them know you are praying for them. Make use of technology to text prayers periodically, or even daily. Pray Scripture with them. Ask what prayer requests they have. Follow up on those requests from time to time. Let them know you care. 

We will always be grandparents. Our role as disciple makers is not done until we reach eternity. I hope that you will join me in praying for grace to build a lasting, positive Christian legacy.

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Author

Barb Howe

Barb Howe edits blog posts at christiangrandparenting.com . She is a contributing author for a Guideposts book, has been published in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr., written multiple memoirs, and published numerous articles and posts for various organizations. "Stormy Encounters" is her first teen/YA work of fiction, available on Amazon in spring 2023. View "Wheels", the book's prequel short story at barbhowe.org.

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Comments

1 Comment

  1. Aloha guy

    These are all things parents and grandparents need to think about and administer to our children daily.

    Reply

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