Grandparents and Tweens: A Special Bond
Photo: Liane Cary/Age Fotostock
Chances are, your child’s relationship with her grandparents has always been special. But during the tween years, this bond can become even more precious. Tweens often enjoy some of their growing independence from parents and siblings in the safe company of grandparents.
Grandparents tend to see each grandchild as an individual, separate from any family label like the “noisy,” “brainy,” or “clumsy” one. This advantage may help them better understand any difficulties your tween may have. A grandparent is an alternative adult that can offer your tween perspective and support.
Grandparents can also widen a tween’s horizons. They can chat about their past, jobs, and family history and introduce personal passions such as a specific sport, music, theater, card games, or cooking. This is a key developmental stage for your child, who will be ready to learn about different personality types, values, styles of humor, and ways of living. Grandparents are ideal for this and can be great teachers!
If grandparents don’t live close by, try to allow for private phone calls or special one-on-one time between them and your tween when they do come to town.
TIP: Help make the time. Busy tweens won’t necessarily seek out contact on their own. But if you sense that your child values his time with his grandparents, encourage this by suggesting a visit, shared holiday, or overnight stay.
Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer is an advisor on children’s learning and development and the author of Talking to Tweens and Making Friends.
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