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Grandparenting Tips - How to be a Good Grandparent

Updated on July 9, 2010
Jacob and Caleb
Jacob and Caleb
Audrie and Lexi
Audrie and Lexi
Tristan and Jonathan
Tristan and Jonathan
Cameron - #7.
Cameron - #7.
Brooklynn - our latest addition.
Brooklynn - our latest addition.
Johnny and I with the whole bunch!
Johnny and I with the whole bunch!

 

Grandparenting is one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. Remember how many times you wanted to kill your own offspring when they were rebellious teens? My mom always said that grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your kids when they went through the teenage years. After surviving three teenage daughters at the same time, and now having eight grandkids, I’m convinced that Mom knew exactly what she was talking about!

 

Before I had grandkids, I used to think grandparents were so silly when they would talk nonstop about their grands and drag out photo albums of the little darlings to share with anyone willing to take a gander. Now I understand. I am one of those people now. I need one of the bumper stickers on my car that reads, “Wanna see pics of my grandkids?” Well do you? I posted a few, just in case.

 

I am now known fondly as “Nana.” I decided before the first grandchild was born that I was much too young to be “Granny,” and “Grandmother” is just too formal. So “Nana” it is. Whenever I have to dole out discipline, which is rare, I’m the Nananator, and at Christmas, I’m Nanaclaus. Most of the time, however, I’m just plain ol’ Nana.

 

Although grandparenting is wonderful, it can sometimes be a slippery slope. I sometimes have a problem remembering that the grandkids are not my kids – they all have parents. I do not have final say-so in their lives, as much as I’d sometimes like to. This can create problems. To be a good grandparent, you must also be a good parent.

 

I’m a big part of my grandkids’ lives, but I try to respect the boundaries and rules their parents have established. If I undermine the parents’ authority, the results would be detrimental for everyone involved. This isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes when the parents are disciplining the grands, I want to rush to their rescue – especially when the little tikes see me as their savior. I’ve bitten my tongue so many times that I have permanent scars. If I ever think the parents are being unfair, I address the issue in private, out of earshot of the grandchildren.

 

When it comes to spoiling grandkids, I’m a pro. Like most young families, my children cannot afford a lot of extras for the grands, so it’s Nana to the rescue! Not that hubby and I are rich, but at our age, we have more disposable income than most young people, and I spend much of mine on the grands. I enjoy shopping online for nice clothes and shoes, like Ralph Lauren and Timberland, that the kids would be hard-pressed to afford. I love seeing the grands dressed nicely when they go to school and when we take them out.

 

And speaking of taking the grands out, hubby and I usually try to do something special whenever we keep the grandkids – just little things that the kids don’t get to do on a regular basis with their parents. This might include taking them to their favorite restaurant, taking them to the movies, taking them to an arcade, or just going out for ice cream and eating it in the park.

 

When it comes to toys, I don’t buy the grands a lot of toys through the year. I do once in a while, but this is usually a special treat. I don’t even buy them a lot of toys for their birthdays. Christmas? That’s a different story! I didn’t earn the name “Nanaclaus” for nothing! Papa and I splurge at Christmas. I start shopping in July or August, and by Christmas Eve, my entire living room and dining room are covered by wrapped gifts. Once they’re opened, my home is transformed into Santa’s workshop…make that Nana’s workshop.

 

Whenever I spend money on the eight grands, I try to be fair. When I’m shopping for clothes, or for toys at Christmas, I spend the same amount on each child – within five or ten bucks. I keep a list of what clothes I’ve purchased for each kid, so if one little boy gets a pair of Timberland boots, I make sure the other boys get Timberlands, too. I don’t want it to ever appear that I show favoritism.

 

I think another important aspect of grandparenting is teaching. Maybe it’s just the educator in me, but I’m always sharing knowledge with my grandchildren. Sometimes it might be a new word, or it might be information about life. It might include morals or doing the right thing. Since all my children are Christians, the grands and I sometimes talk about God and Jesus. I don’t force this down their throats, however, but if they have questions, I always try to answer them. I would love for all of them to grow up to be Christians, but I want the choice to be theirs. I would love them just as much if they decide to be Muslim, Taoist, or atheist.

 

I hope all of you someday have the opportunity to enjoy grandparenting. It’s an amazing experience, but just remember that there are limits you should observe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    • profile image

      Tina Darrock 5 years ago

      I have just joined the nana club to Charlie and he is so adorable. My love for him is so immense. I love that you respect the parents wishes and this is something I will do, as well as spoiling him with lots of nana love xxx

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      I am indeed fortunate, and I thank God for my family every day!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      fantastic hub habee/you are beautiful and surrounded by love

      you are so lucky!!

      I was Amee when I had the pleasure of my two grandchildrens company, those are precious memories for me now

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      You're lucky to have such a great mom, Nancy! Not all grandparents are like that.

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 7 years ago from Georgia

      It sounds like you are a really great Nana. My mom is just like you with my kids. When she buys one something she always buys the other almost the same thing.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      John, I know you will be a wonderful grandpa someday!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Habee- this is one I'll have to bookmark for the future since I'm not even close to being a Granddad yet. But it some great advice and I'm looking forward to the day!!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Garnet, glad you stopped for a read. I hope I'm making memories with my grands!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      12?? That's awesome, Elayne! congrats!

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Touching HUB--My grandparents raised me; My Grandfather loved to hike and look for snakes (He was Southern) and he loved to explore and look for lost gold mines, etc.--guess what I am doing today? Hiking near an old Silver mine with my significant other "bitter half." Love the photos!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I feel the same as you do about my grandchildren habee. We have been blessed with twelve and they are each so wonderful. I started out trying to spoil them rotten and then as each one came, I realized I might well go broke if I keep it up, so I became a bit more conservative. Nothing makes me happier than shopping for them though, than being with them. Great hub!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Judy! Glad you enjoyed the hub!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Right, Buckie - the most important "rule" is to love them to pieces! I know you and Bob would be wonderful grandparents!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Funny, Sherri! They didn't have matching Christmas pj's in Cameron's size, so he got the prison stripes!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      David, it's so good to see you!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sure, Eth! I'll start the paperwork!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you very much, Wendy!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      A gaggle, Chris?? I love that!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Mike, you're awesome! Do you have grands?

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Laurel, that's wonderful! Congrats!

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Holle, you are the best Nana! I only have one grandchild and he just graduated from high school! I was always Grandma, at the beach, when he was young. Ha!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Congrats, Laurel! How exciting!!!

      Holle - what a bunch of cuties!!! You are blessed and then some more. I practice on the neighbor kids! And my dogs of course. One of these days....

      Your points are all great ones - and you are one classy lady so I know you get it right! Some grandparents are so mixed up but I guess in the long run, if the love shines through and the kids have good memories - that's all that matters!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      My first grandchild-already named 'Quinn'-is due in about 58 days! I'm determined to follow the same philosophy that you've laid out in this hub-respect his parents' wishes before my own.

      But I do look forward to spoiling them whole-heartedly when the time is right!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Nifty, sounds like you know the drill! lol

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, HH - you are too kind, my friend!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Katie! You're the best!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      sheila, I love to see all the cousins playing together!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Deb - 17??? That's amazing!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      LL, I love the story about your student!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      So true, Bayou! Grandkids make getting older worth it!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you so much, Rema!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Love the photo of you and Johnny and the kids in their jammies. And so how come the tiniest is wearing prison stripes? :) and LOL!

    • Russell-D profile image

      Russell-D 7 years ago from Southern Ca.

      Lois Wyse got it right with her final book, "If I knw How Much Fun Grandkids Were, I would Have Had Them First." My soon to be released children's book, "Pop-Pop's Magic Chair" (E-Catalogues World Wide) tells the story of my Grandson and how before age 1, he and I would "read" books together till he reached age 6, when he no longer needed Grandpa's help. I'll let Hubbers know the release date, but if you want the inside of the self-publishing process, my series runs weekly under Russell-D. David Russell

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Bpop. You're pretty amazing, too!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Dolores, I'm sure you'll be a wonderful grandma!

    • E M Smith profile image

      E M Smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I bet you and johnny and great grandparents. Fancy adopting me?

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 7 years ago from Maryland

      Your grandbabies are adorable!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      wow.. you got a gaggle of grandkids!! LOL

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      You sound like a terrific grandparent, and your love of family shines once again in this hub. I love the Nananator and Nanaclaus--that is wonderful and will remain a great memory in the years to come.

      Thanks for sharing this, Habee--I love reading about your family and looking at photos!

      Mike

    • nifty@50 profile image

      nifty@50 7 years ago

      Great hub habee! The best part about being a grandparent is you can spoil the heck out of them, and send them home with their parents to deal with lol! I always enjoyed going to my grandparents house to cut up with all my cousins ( rules were a little bit relaxed there)!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That picture, you must be in seven heaven. Gosh I envy you. Tht big girl looks just like you. FAntastic article with lot of great tips. As always - you are great.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      WOW that's one big happy family, great tips and advice on being a good grandparent, I will def share this with my family and friends on facebook and myspace plus a high rate. :)

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      All of your grands are so cute! Liked the advice you gave grandparents, too. For me growing up, the grown-ups visited, that's the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the cousins played in another room. Can't remember any special one-on-one time with my grandparents, but I certainly loved and respected them. My favorite memory of my grandmother is watching her and my father walk around our yard looking at the flowers and bushes he'd planted. I liked seeing mother and son enjoying eachother's company.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Habee, Delightful hub! Wonderful advice for granparents! I love my grandkids and I am so Thankful that our adult children take such good care of them. We make sure they have a GREAT time whenever they stay with us too! With so many their visits are quite frequent! Every month there is a birthday... We now have 17 grandchildren and one on the way! I get many "Can we come and stay calls..."

      "To be a good grandparent, you must also be a good parent." YES! Habee you are a great caring Nana!

      Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, PEACE & Blessings!

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 7 years ago from New York City

      Love the name Brooklynn! Ah, lucky are the children with a wonderful Nana. It seems to elevate them to another level when they are so young. One of my students told me that he has his proud walk because his grandfather used to walk him to school and he walked alongside him and followed his walk. How lovely is that?

      And my summers on my grandmother's farm 50 years ago where I was allowed to think all those chickens I was feeding were pets. True, I was never the same when my favorite one went missing and chicken was served for dinner. Ah, but the beauty of grandparents and knowing them - we have so much experience and wisdom and patience to offer. I'm awaiting grand number 4 next year.

      Lovely hub. Thanks so much for great tips that are personal - the best kind. Rated up of course and more!

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      habee....one of my favorite topics! Thanks for including pictures.

      Being a grandparent is much more relaxing than being a parent was! I love spoiling mine with hugs, goodies, and just about anything else that they can talk me into!

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 7 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Habee,

      wonderful pics and an excellent hub. Your grand kids are very cute! God bless!

      Regards,

      Rema.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Habee, your grandchildren are amazing and so are you!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Well, Nana, you sure look like you have a great time with the grandkids and are lucky to have so many. I don't have any yet, but have promised myself that when that day comes, the mother is in total charge. What she says - goes. Even if I am the one that's right. haha.