The Importance of Grandparents In Raising Older Kids: We Need You More
The importance of grandparents grows even more when you are raising kids. It’s so nice to have the grandparent’s help.
Growing up, my friends’ families vacationed at Disneyworld or sandy beaches. But, not my family. We went to Colorado Springs.
I loved our vacation spot for one big reason: my grandparents lived there. When we’d visit my grandparents, we’d also get to spend time with all of the extended family – aunts, uncles, and about a billion cousins. (It’s been joked that if you find yourself in Colorado Springs needing a ride, just stand at the corner and start hollering the family name. Some “Stegner” will be near to help.)
In contrast, raised as a military kid, my immediate family’s roots never ran deep. Just as soon as I’d familiarized myself with the neighborhood, settled into school, and made friends, we picked up and moved. (Again.) Even though I loved the adventurous life of an Air Force family, I was also drawn to the stability of a giant family (with grandparents!) who shared a town. To me, Colorado Springs was sacred.
When my husband and I were trying to decide where to put down our own roots, I wanted to recreate that Colorado Springs experience. So, we weighed the options: live in Illinois (my parents) or Minnesota (my in-laws and their extended family).
In raising older kids, I’ve never been more grateful to live close to a set of grandparents. (And that the other set – my parents – visit often.) What a blessing both sets of grandparents are to us…an epic blessing.
I’ve found in raising tweens and teens, we need the grandparents more than ever, and here’s why:
No one else loves the kids like the grandparents
There’s a short list of people who truly love your kids as selflessly and wholeheartedly as you. The grandparents are on that list. With them, you can unleash all of your braggings about your kid and the grandparents actually want to hear your lack of humbleness! It’s lovely to share such love for tall, gangly humans with crackly voices and acne with someone else. (You complete us, grandparents. You. Complete. Us.)
Grandparents help with all the taxing around
Our family loves being involved; it’s fun to watch our kids learn and flourish in activities. However, our schedule stretches my husband and me as thin as paper. So, it’s ah-maze-ing when the grandparents dive in and cart our kids around to soccer games and basketball tournaments.
Similarly, I have a friend whose dad does all the boy scout activities with her son – it’s their special thing. And another friend whose son’s grandpa is in charge of his music lessons. Then there are the grandmas who help working parents with sick kids and take-your-dog-to-the-school-picnic day.
Grandparents who jump in and help out – let us all rise up and call you beloved. (I’m so serious.)
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To keep your tweens/teens trust, you can’t talk to just anyone about them
I used to talk about my kid’s silly words, tantrums, and diaper blowouts with the moms in my MOPS group. (Mother of Preschoolers) But, now I can’t. My kids tell me things they don’t want laughed about or spread around like wildfire. But still, moms need a safe, nonjudgmental place to unravel our parenting thoughts. Grandparents provide that safe place.
Grandparents are important because more people cheering your kid on the better
If just even one of the four grandparents show up for a game or concert, my kids feel like a million bucks. The more people who love my kids and cheer them on the better!
It takes a village – grandparents say your wise words but sometimes better
I can tell my kids a thousand times that they need to read because it’s vital to their education and I get crickets. But when grandma buys them a new book and encourages them to enjoy it, all of a sudden reading is the best thing ever. Those important life lessons we so desperately want our kids to learn…sometimes the grandparents can drive home the point from a new angle or using a different style and it works. I’m pretty sure that’s called everyone is winning.
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Because moms need the grandparent’s encouragement too
There’s something life-giving about hearing your mom, dad or in-laws say, “Good job!” or “I’m grateful for you!” or “I love you!” Or notice that you could use a dinner out. (“Bring the family – we’ll pay!”) Or bring you a glass of peach sweet tea for no reason. (Awwww…you noticed me!) Grandparents, your kind words mean more to us than we sometimes even realize.
Sometimes confiding in a grandparent is easier than the parents
Mommas, yes, we want our teens to tell us everything. (Ah…sweet, utopia…) But, sometimes, there’ll be moments, when they need to talk to someone other than us. (Or instead of us.) So, it’s nice to have trusted adults who will help our kids gain perspective, feel cherished, and know they’re loved. Both kids and parents benefit from a wide support group.
You help your kids build cherished relationships
My kids love that when their nana and papa come to visit. They explore museums, putt-putt golf, and make an abundance of chocolate chip cookies. My kids talk about the visit for months.
My in-laws (who live in town) are a staple in my kids’ lives. If my kids haven’t seen their grandparents in a few days, they bug us to see them. They even online shop with grandma over the phone. (“Mom, the amazon price has dropped, can I call grandma and let her know?”) (I’m not even kidding.)
By interacting with their grandparents, my kids are learning to engage with people and build cherished, healthy relationships. (My kids also learn to love unconditionally, because we’re family. We’re not perfect, but we always come back to loving each other.)
If your kids have grandparents around, consider yourself lucky
Most of those Colorado trips I remember so fondly ended up being just to see my grandma and the rest of the extended family. My grandpa died from Parkinson’s disease young. (I was only 12.) Similarly, I have dear friends whose parents are gone, or never visit, or are too busy living their own lives. Also, I have friends whose family drama has cast a dark shadow and the relationship isn’t there. So, I don’t take for granted two sets of active, healthy grandparents. And if you are in my boat, I bet you don’t either…
To the grandparents (from us)
To the grandparents who love us so well – thank you. Thank you for being our “support staff.” (As my parents call themselves.) We cherish all the encouragement, listening, and rides for our kids. I know we often forget to tell you, so we’re saying it now: thank you.
Thank you for loving us so well. You are a sacred part of our lives and the moments spent with your grandkids – they will always be remembered.
Just like you. You are deeply loved.
The importance of grandparents is huge, but so is being in a community of moms raising tweens and teens…
You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.
You are parenting tweens and teens.
It’s a fantastic life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.
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Read the full series on not just the importance of grandparents, but also on building your family’s community:
I was always the girl who moved. After I just unpacked my things into a new home and made it my own, found a church and started making a connection with my faith family, met the neighbors and began to enjoy living by new people, formed my friend group at school together and started to grow close to them – just when I would grow roots, my dad would get his orders.
As the daughter of an Air Force rescue helicopter pilot, I grew up moving every few years. (And sometimes few months, as we’d be in transition waiting for my dad to finish training or for a house to open up on base for us to live.) Moments were hard, but also, the life of a military kid was a great gift.
I learned so much, especially about the importance of community. I became a joiner.
Moms, there will be seasons for all of us when friendships feel hard, but still – we fight for community. We continue to work on building our friend group around us through church, neighbors, moms we meet through our kids, work, and more.
Because we need good people in our lives and people need us! Be encouraged by reading more articles on building your community:
The Importance of Grandparents and Building Your Community Series
The Power of Encouragement: Moms Need It More Than You Know
In Raising Older Kids: This Is Why You Need The Grandparents EVEN MORE
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.