Talk about stuff that matters. When you have an opportunity to spend time talking with your teen grandchildren, make the most of it. Ask about their interests and favorite activities. Ask about their likes and dislikes. Find out what types of music, sports, television shows, etc. they like. Find out about their goals and dreams for the future. Tell them about your life experiences, both current and past. Ask your grandchildren to show you their school, favorite store, or hangout.
Go places and have experiences together. Go to movies, theater, museums, or sporting events. These kinds of things are not only fun, they also give you and your grandchild something to talk about with each other. After you’re finished with whatever it may be, you can go out for a meal or sit down for a snack to discuss the experience. Ask for your grandchild’s opinion and listen to what he or she has to say. Ask questions that show the child you are truly interested in his or her opinion. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you go to see or do together is something your teen grandchildren will enjoy and want to about talk with you later.
Spend alone time together. The one-on-one moments you share with your teenage grandchild will be special to both of you. Having a lot of other people around, even the child’s parents, can change the dynamic between grandchild and grandchild. Try to make arrangements to spend time alone together.
Connect as human beings. Keep your conversation natural and relaxed. Let your grandchild get to know you as a real person with real feelings. Don’t concentrate only on the positives. Talk about some of your losses as well as your victories, and share how you deal with difficult times.
Teach and learn from each other. Older folks can share a lot with their grandchildren, including experiences they've had, life lessons they’ve learned, values and principles they hold dear, and personal observations of historical events they've witnessed. Young people have plenty of knowledge to share as well about things like new technologies, changes in culture, and evolving outlooks. If your grandchild is very interested in something or knowledgeable about a topic, ask to learn more about it.
Remember what it was like to be a teen? Time has a way of changing our perspective of those days. It's easy to forget how it really felt to be that age, and some of the challenges of the teenage years can get glossed over. In reality, the road between childhood and adulthood is usually filled with hills and valleys.
The social pressures on teenagers today are probably stronger than ever before. Advances in technology and instant channels of communication have made it almost impossible to escape from the struggles of peer pressure. Today, other people’s opinions and comments follow kids around everywhere they go on their phones and computers.
A grandparent can play a very important role in a teen’s life. Having the unconditional love and acceptance of a grandparent can help make the challenges of the teen years easier. There’s nothing quite as comforting as having someone love and appreciate us with no strings attached. That feeling is one of the most significant gifts grandparents can give to teens. Even if our teenage grandchildren don't show it right now, our relationships with them and the experiences we share together are having an impact and will probably become some of their most deeply treasured memories in the future.
It can be hard to know how to bridge the generation gap in ways both grandparent and teen grandchild can enjoy. But it is possible. Here are some suggestions from grandparents of teens.
Look at old photos together. Nowadays, people tend to keep photos on their phones, but there is nothing like sitting with a photo album and looking at photos with someone you love. Flipping through the pages inspires conversations. Make photo albums filled with images of your favorite moments with your grandchildren. You will enjoy them and so will your grandchildren. Life goes by so fast these days for people of all ages. It’s nice have an opportunity to take a look back at the past.