Author: Ken Canfield, PhD

Grandparents: An Untapped Resource

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter set aside the first Sunday after Labor Day to honor grandparents. The official proclamation made a convincing argument for this holiday: “Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. Whether they are our own or surrogate grandparents who fill some of the gaps in our mobile society, our senior generation also provides our society a link to our national heritage and traditions.” According to a 2002 survey by the AARP, most grandparents (56%) see at least...

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Grandparents are Natural Transmitters of Values

What do you value in life? What shining virtues stand above time and progress? What personal qualities do you want your children and grandchildren to carry into future generations? Maybe you’ve given these kind of questions a lot of thought, or maybe not. But you should, because you can have a powerful influence on your grandchildren. This is your chance to make a difference in the next generation, to leave behind something of lasting value for those you love. This can be one of your grandest roles as a grandparent. Teach Them Grandparents have a special window into a...

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Grandparents and Expressiveness

The on the job training of the Parenting Life Course begins with the birth of your child. The last stage starts with another birth and a new, well-deserved title: grandparent. We call this stage Generativity. The rest of the world may try to retire you; but your grandchildren are ready to hire you on for one more stint in that rewarding career known as parenting. Life has become grand again, and much of the pleasure is wrapped up in those little ones who invade your home every so often. They put a spring in your step, a smile on your...

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Anger & Priorities

Herb comes home from errands, and young Mark and Grace are eager to go outside and play. He shakes them loose from his arms and legs for a minute so he can change clothes, and he takes the mail upstairs with him. His five-year-old grandson follows, talking about what happened that day, overflowing with comments that draw from both reality and make-believe. It’s too much for Herb to follow. “Mark,” he says, “can’t you see that I’m trying to read the mail? Let’s talk about this later.” Back downstairs, Herb’s wife is nowhere to be found. So Herb fixes...

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Talking with Young Grandchildren

You can talk, but will they listen? Researchers say that “the amount of language directed to a child [is] perhaps the strongest indicator of later intellectual and linguistic and social development.”¬† Sounds great. But what about real life? Sometimes we grandparents can get pretty monosyllabic and ineffective. We say “Don’t do that,” “Pick up your toys,” “What’s the magic word?” We don’t want to communicate, we just want cooperation. Let’s look at some ways to increase the chances that your grandchild hears you and responds. First,¬†give information more than thoughts or feelings. For example, instead of saying, “I’ve told...

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