The Grandparent Advantage: Staying Close and Connected with Your Children and Grandchildren
Last fall I discovered a wonderful non-profit organization in Palo Alto, California called Hand in Hand. Their primary focus is nurturing the parent-child connection. Their mission is to foster healthy parent-child relationships that will last a lifetime. Until recently, their focus has been on young parents and their children.
Beginning February 1, 2010, Hand in Hand is launching a new class for grandparents called Hand in Hand parenting: Staying Close and Connected with Your Children and Grandchildren.
The six-week series will help grandparents understand their grandchildren, read their behavior, predict difficult moments, and respond with essential tools that build connection in families. Patty Wipfler, the founder/director of Hand in Hand, will teach the course. She’ll examine the relationship with your adult children and grandchildren. The class will be interactive and help you connect with other caring grandparents. Grandparents, step-grandparents, and others with a “grandparent-ly” role in children’s lives are welcome to attend the series.
I got a taste of what this new class will be like after recently joining one of Hand in Hand’s free monthly teleseminars. Wipfler shared some great tools for strengthening the bonds with my grandchildren and equally important, with my children. What impressed me the most about Wipfler is her tremendous empathy for today’s young parents. She has two sons and three grandsons and has worked with thousands of families since 1989, teaching them strategies for building good communication skills.
During the teleseminar she explained how much pressure today’s parents face. They feel isolated, guilty, exhausted, and confused by all the different parenting philosophies proposed by today’s “experts.” In addition, parents want to look like they have things “under control” so it’s difficult for them to tell us grandparents how insecure they may feel. When we offer to do something as simple as wash the dishes, our gestures can be misunderstood by our adult children as a judgment that they’re not doing a good enough job, causing tension to build.
Here are some highlights from the teleseminar that will be covered in The Grandparent Advantage:
- Remember to express appreciation to the parents of your grandchildren.
- Create a “special time” with your adult children just as you do with your grandchildren.
- Listen without judgment and don’t be a problem solver.
- Find another grandparent to share your feelings.