Author: Ken Canfield, PhD

Raising Grandchildren

This is a salute to a special kind of grandparent. Recent research shows that the number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren full-time is rapidly rising. Some 2.7 million grandparents are serving as primary caregivers for grandchildren under 18 years of age. Some other qualitative studies have reported that many grandparents express regret about having to care for their grandchildren, but they do so anyway. They step into often troubled situations and become important role models for those children. No one ever plans to raise their grandkids, but sometimes—because of divorce, death, or other difficult circumstances—it happens. If...

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Grandparent Involvement: Extending the Benefits

A wise man once told me, “If you want to see how well you raised your own children, look at your grandchildren.” Being a grandparent is becoming more complex these days, and I’m happy to see that many grandparents are making the effort to keep in step with their grandchildren. Grandparents have important roles in transmitting wisdom and values, providing a link to the past, and being an extra source of support and guidance for grandkids. Sometimes kids need to hear it from someone other than their parents, and grandparents can fill that role to perfection. I hope you’re...

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Your School-Aged Grandchild: Exploring the World Together

Helping to raise young school-age kids is really an amazing time. Your grandchild is out to see what life has to offer, to understand the world and become a citizen of that world.   The most obvious change in his routine is going to school, but that’s only part of a larger process. Your grandchild is an eager learner. Whether it’s what type of sneaker is cool, why Susie is so popular, a move on the basketball court, or how to make change for a dollar, he wants to know.   When our grandkids are in this mode of...

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The Emotional Needs of Grandchildren

Don’t all grandchildren love playdough? Mine sure do. They love to roll it, shape it and mold it. They love the colors, the pliability and the texture of this clay-like substance. With a few lumps of playdough, you and your grandchild can create something of beauty which adds a spark to their imaginary world. It’s an inexpensive way to spend time with your grandchild, getting in tune with his world and producing a piece of art he can be proud of. There are ways in which your grandchild’s emotional development can be shaped like playdough. Taking time to notice,...

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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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