Monday, November 28, 2011

Time Is Of The Essence

Many of us are not fortunate enough to spend as much time as we might like with our grandchildren. There are different reasons: living far away or simply parents’ reluctance to share and give up control of their child.

Parents may fear that when children are with the grandparent, they will "spoil" them with too much candy, too many toys, letting them watch unlimited TV and actually letting them do whatever they want. To a grandparent, the ability to spoil their grandchildren may be synonymous with love.

But actually, giving time and a hug is very special.
Telling your grandchild that you love him or her goes a long way, too.
Children will not remember us for the things we buy them, it is much more important to show them we like them and enjoy spending time with them.

Songwriter Johnny Mercer wrote...
"You've got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative 
Don't mess with Mr. In Between."

Remember to have fun, no matter how small a window of time. If it is an hour, enjoy it. Talk to your grandchildren, play games, and get to know what they like and who they are. If they come to your house, having a favorite toy or activity that they know is theirs, and a special place where you keep their treasures will be the first place they run to.

It is never too late to establish a loving relationship with a grandchild. A grandparent we know, even though she lived in close proximity to her grandchild, felt she was not spending enough time with him. When the child turned 14, she spoke to him directly and said, "I don't know who you are and I would like to, so I suggest we have dinner together once a month." The first dinner was a success, and the ritual continued until he went to college, at the final dinner, the young man pulled out his credit card and said, “This one is on me, Grandma." At Thanksgiving dinner the grandson reminded the grandmother that he will be home for winter break, "so save a date for us to have dinner together.”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A New Phenomenon

A psychiatric social worker friend of ours, not aware of our special interest in grandparenting, mentioned to us a new concern. Apparently, many of the grandparents she treats expressed feelings of "grief and deep disappointment" in their grandchildren who were "normal" but "not real standouts." All of them were in excellent schools and getting a minimum of B grades.

Thinking about it, we realized that these particular grandparents must have been part of the highest achieving parent group who held high profile jobs, with large salaries while raising their children. They firmly believed they "had it all" and wanted the same achievement status for their grandchildren. They must have felt frustrated when that child was bright and happy, but not a "genius."

We are constantly being told by experts in our new technological world that just "being good" will not cut it in today's "marketplace." The question for ourselves, the worried grandparents and for you...Can you really have it all and at what price? How much can we expect from a child? What are the limits?

Today's children are under tremendous pressure: school, peer and adult expectations. Between homework, sports, ballet and other after school activities, they have practically no free time to relax. As grandparents, our unconditional love and concern can help. No generation has worked under such an unconditional stress level.


Signing off until next time,

Sue and Ann

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving is the perfect time for families and friends to gather with joy. So, what happens when you plan the perfect feast and everyone is hungry? You sit down at the beautifully set table but your grandchild doesn't want to eat the green beans, hates pumpkin pie, and begins to cry because everyone is begging the child to eat.

Do green beans really matter?
Very often children get overly excited. Changes to their daily routine can effect their behaviors. Do the children really need to sit at the table for the entire meal?

Here are a few suggestions:
In a nearby room, set up for an art activity. You can have paper, crayons, stickers and tape. Puzzles and Legos can be fun. Children can make "turkeys" out of Play Doh, feathers and sticks. A special Thanksgiving video can work, if all else fails. 

There is an old children's song "Over the meadow and through the woods to grandmother's house we go.......".
But which grandmother?
Holidays can be wonderful but they do present problems too.
Some families alternate years and some can blend together.
Some go to one family for Thanksgiving and the other family for Hanukkah/Christmas. This situation is unique to each family and each must come up with their own solution.

Perhaps you have some good ideas. We would love to hear from you. Wishing you a wonderful holiday,

Sue and Ann

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Educated Grandparents Speak Out

Since we posted our first blog last week, we have received a bunch of favorable comments and thoughts from you. This led us to the idea of running small groups for educated grandparents focusing on the myriad of grand parenting issues, both yours and ours.

As educated grandparents we learn from each other which is why we think it is important to get together and exchange ideas and feelings in a small, non judgmental group setting. We have lots of topics in mind but we want to hear from you.

On a less serious note we want to have fun and share grandparent-child interactions.

Here are a couple of examples of our own stories:

Sue’s Story
When Sue’s grandson was three, Sue was babysitting for a few minutes while his mom went to the supermarket across the street. James was crying, in fact he was having a tantrum. Trying to reason with him, Sue took him to the window to show him where his mommy was, and she said, “She’ll be back in a minute.” James looked grandma straight in the eye, shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Then why am I crying?”, and he stopped.

Ann’s Story
For Halloween, our grandson, only two, was going to be   Spiderman. I made a matching Spiderman costume for his beloved duck which he calls “Quack Quack”. When the day arrived, I brought the costume over to Theo’s house and said, “I brought Quack Quack his costume”.   He looked at me and said, “Grandma, don’t you know… It’s a Duck!”

These stories show that our grandchildren are constantly growing and changing and we need to keep up with them. Let us hear from you. What you have to tell us is crucial.

Keep us posted.
Speak to you soon,

Sue and Ann

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Comment From Grammy Sue In Florida

Grammy Sue from Florida commented and said, 
"I just checked out your new blog and will look forward to your 
weekly posts. I will definitely share it with other grandparents I know. 
As grandparents today we do the ballet between acting on our own instincts as parents and observing and respecting the parenting 
wishes of our adult children.. It's tricky sometimes as I'm sure 
you have discovered."

Thanks Grammy Sue from Florida!
Your comment was very relevant. We look forward to hearing more from you and your friends.

Ann and Sue

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Attention All Grandparents

Hi! It used to be so easy being a grandparent!
It just happened and you went with it….but in today’s ever changing family structure it’s just not true! As grandparents we are meeting daily challenges and hopefully dealing with them in constructive and original ways. Have you ever gotten off the phone with your adult child and felt so frustrated because it wasn’t the communication you wanted it to be. Sometimes it seems much simpler and less personal to send a simple message by email or text.

Our names are Ann Obsatz and Sue Bayer and both of us have been in the field of early childhood education for many years. We both have grown children and grandchildren.

While parenting advice is abundant, Grandparenting has been sadly neglected. The relationship between a grandchild and grandparent can be wonderful and filled with pure love and joy, or very stressful.

Let us share grandparenting joys and conflicts.
We’ll work together to come up with strategies and techniques that might actually work.

Words are very powerful. It’s not only what we say but the way we use the words that can make all the difference when dealing with the people we love.

Check in with us often to see what’s new in our ever expanding “Bag of Tricks”.

By the way, if you know any grandparents, please spread the word about our blog.

Sue and Ann.