Have you ever heard that it takes a village to raise a child? Your teen is no exception to this idea. As your teen grows and learns, she is influenced by her teachers, by peers, by you and by popular culture. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests preparing for the teen years by providing a safe and loving home environment. If grandparents are part of your teen’s extended family or home environment, allow them to step into a role model position to help support your teen’s development and well being.
Grandparents Aren’t Parents
Sometimes, teens simply don’t want to talk to parents about personal issues. Before you allow this to hurt your feelings, try to remember being that age. Did you want to share every hope and fear with your parents? Probably not. Sometimes a grandparent is the perfect person to offer to listen and support teens. Not every conversation has to be about a big issue. A grandparent can also be a fresh sounding board for your teen to talk about her day.
Grandparents Raised You
Grandparents have a special insight into something that likely mystifies your teen: Your own teen years. While you might not want to share tales of your crazy haircut or curfew breaking, they can be important stories to help your teen piece together a full picture of who you are as an individual. Grandparents help teens fill in the blanks as they start to understand that their parents are humans too.
Grandparents Were Teens Once, Too
While grandparents grew up in a different day and age, some aspects of being a teen are universal. As role models, grandparents can talk to teens about the everyday stresses involved with friendship, dating and school. While their lives may seem quaint and far away now, issues like having a crush or not fitting in will always be universal.
Grandparents are Fascinating
Teens may be likely to connect with grandparents over stories and history that are unique to that grandparent. If your teen shows an interest in a grandparent’s hobby or history, provide time for your teen to spend quality time and ask questions. Grandparents can serve as role models regarding hobbies, potential careers and sports. Remember to keep this time between your teen and his grandparents sacred. Don’t pry or ask too many questions.