Author: Ken Canfield, PhD

Show Your Granddaughter a Relationally Healthy Grandfather

Imagine you could fast-forward your teenage granddaughter’s life fifteen or twenty years. She’s thirty-five, and you get to see her coming in the door from grocery shopping with three young kids. Clearly, the outing has been stressful. Her husband is lounging on the couch. The sink is piled high with dishes and toys are still scattered all over the living room floor from the day’s activities. First thing out of her husband’s mouth is this: “About time you got home. What’s for dinner?” None of us wants our granddaughters to live in a marriage relationship like that, do we?...

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Characteristics of Growing Grandfathers

As a child, John didn’t have relationships with healthy men in his family of origin. He had virtually no relationship with either one of his grandfathers. One left home and disappeared before John was born. The other suffered from untreated alcoholism. When he was drinking, he was rude and demanding. And when he wasn’t drinking, he was cold and distant. Unfortunately, John’s father also became an alcoholic. After many difficult and embarrassing situations associated with the alcoholism, his father died when John was just eight years old. Although his mother re-married when John was twelve, his step father never...

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Grandparent Advantages

Grandparents, what are your secrets to success? Well, we’re all unique, but there are some traits that many of us have in common, and they are worth affirming. And I hope a lot of parents are also reading, because your children’s grandparents have some advantages because of their unique position in your kids’ lives. Grandparents can do things for a child that no one else can really do—and that’s good. Grandparents provide a connection to heritage; a link to the past for your children. And from a more practical standpoint, we provide some benefits because of our unique perspective...

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Generativity: At the Nursing Home

There are some special and unique characteristics about the stage of life that we grandparents are in. As a researcher, I call this stage “generativity.” As a grandparent, I just call it a great time. But thinking about generativity, I recall many trips with my kids to see my friend Norm. He was an older man who was administrator at a nearby nursing home. He’d herd all the kids into his office and close the door so he could have them all to himself. The kids didn’t mind because he kept a jar of chocolate candy kisses on his...

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5 Tips for Knowing Your Grandchild

The first step to helping your grandchildren reach their highest potential is simply for you to get to know them better. And the number one way to get to know them is obvious, but some of you may be missing it. 1. Simply ask questions. Go out for a frozen yogurt and ask about her friends at school, and what they like to do together. Always be ready with an interesting question about what they like, their hopes and dreams, or “what would you do if …” kinds of questions. 2. Whenever you can, spend time on your grandchild’s...

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