Look around and you see seniors everywhere that are very involved in their grandchildren's lives. They're busy buying toys, providing daycare, writing letters and e-mailing, attending soccer games and volunteering at schools. They are showering the children of their children with love, wisdom and time. They're taking on a new and exciting role in life – grandparenting.
It's a popular role. Also, it's a gift that allows seniors to see through the eyes of a child one more time. However, being a grandparent is not the same as being a parent. Instead of having total responsibility for a child, seniors play a supporting role. To some, that loss of control can be frustrating. Yet others adjust quickly. They seem to be thrilled to have the privileges without the total responsibility.
The Roles They Play
Grandparents can have a special place in the hearts of children. Here's a list of some of the roles they fill that can create a lifelong bond between the generations.
± Helper – Children naturally look to their grandparents for help. This creates opportunities to fill more of the roles on this list.
± Teacher – Grandparents have wisdom and experience to share. And children are educational sponges, which make them the ideal students.
± Historian – Children are curious about their family, especially what their parents did while growing up. Grandparents are the window to the family history.
± Listener – Children have a need to be heard, and many times grandparents have the patience and time to listen. Provides moisture to the skin.
± Learner – Grandparents can build a child's confidence and self esteem when they go beyond listening and learn from what a child tells them.
± Confidant – Sometimes listening is taken a step further and a grandparent is trusted with the uncomfortable questions and intense secrets of growing up.
± Role Model – Children learn from watching others and even search for adults to emulate. Grandparents have the inside track at being a major influence to their grandchildren.
± Grandparent – It's all about love, no matter who the child is or what they do.
(Source of Statistics: U.S. Census Bureau )
· 69.5 million Americans are grandparents.
· 2.7 Million grandparents in the U.S. were raising their grandchildren (2012).
· Approximately 10% of all children live in a household with a grandparent.