Author: Ken Canfield, PhD

3 Things to Remember when Grandparenting is Hard

A Welsh proverb says, “Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.” Many of us have experienced that. Unfortunately, things don’t always seem “perfect” for very long. Every grandparenting story is unique and rich, and some are complex and challenging. There are grandparents raising grandchildren, long-distance grandparents, traditional grandparents, grandparents seeking access to their grandchildren after a divorce or family crisis, single grandparents, estranged grandparents, step-grandparents, surrogate grandparents and even spiritual grandparents. Some of these situations bring real hardships to what should be a joy-filled role. We all know grandparents who are struggling through difficulties—or maybe we...

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5 Grandparenting Tips for Holiday Traditions

Traditions are also very meaningful to just about everyone during the Christmas season. They help us express our family’s uniqueness, they help everyone anticipate being together to celebrate, and they often create memories that last a lifetime. Christmas traditions help to make this season bright, but sometimes other things get in the way. So here are some tips to keep in mind: Lead the way. As grandparents, we should be a unifying presence for the family. That means being proactive about gathering the extended family. Often it’s expected that everyone’s coming “over the river and through the woods to...

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5 Qualities of a Grandparent’s Example

Children need positive, trustworthy, reliable role models. In today’s world, we cannot repeat that statement often enough. In many situations, parents provide the main example for their children. For a growing number of households, grandparents are playing that role. And really, in any situation where grandparents get to spend time with their grandkids—whether or not we are their main role models, and whether we see them daily or occasionally—our modeling influence is very important and can be just as powerful and long-lasting as that of parents. Most often, this happens through the patterns we establish consistently over time. Our...

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Ask Your Granddaughter Questions

Asking questions helps to solidify the bond with your granddaughter in a number of ways. First, it tells her that you value what’s going on in her life. Next, it gives you an opportunity to learn what’s on her heart and mind at any given moment. Her answers will also help you identify areas where she may be receptive to your input. Granddaughters appreciate daily review. They like to be asked questions like: “What happened at school today?” “How’s it going?” “Did everything go well with your friends today?” “Did any bad things happen today?” Daughters feel cared for...

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From Parent to Grandparent

Researcher Arthur Kornhaber says that there are three times when our lives are totally transformed by natural events that are pretty much out of our hands: when we’re born, when we die … and when we become grandparents. For many, grandparenting is one of the most joy-filled roles they have ever had. Tossing a ball with a grandchild, going for a walk, reading a book, putting a puzzle together-these simple things put the bounce back in a man’s step. What’s behind that joy? Well, being a parent is clearly different than being a grandparent; there’s more freedom and less daily responsibility....

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