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Grandparenting Teens

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 12/28/2020

The Power of Story, Part 3 show art The Power of Story, Part 3

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Emily wraps up the third episode on "the power of stories" with a chat with an executive from Scholastic, Inc.--the source of all those books sold to grade-school students from newsletters and book fairs. Their conversation took place just before World Read-Aloud Day, which framed their talk about grandparents reading aloud to their grands. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's Essay): The Genetics of Reading   When I visited the home of my maternal grandparents, I don’t remember seeing a book in any room of the house. It was a stark contrast to our own house with books in each room and a...

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The Power of Story, Part 2 show art The Power of Story, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing the theme from last episode, Emily speaks with a 93-year-old grandfather, author, and active advocate of capturing and then "unleashing" grandparent stories. His creative partner in their website adds helpful details about a program that helps grands become powerful and prolific story-makers. SHOW NOTES Jerry and Deanna's website is grandparentsunleashed.com, and  Jerry's book is The Grandest Love, available .

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The Power of Story, Part 1 show art The Power of Story, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

How well do your grands know your story? Emily travels (virtually) to Trinidad to speak with Felicia Chang, a professional in the area of capturing the personal stories of our families, with a special emphasis our elders. Your story has worth and power...and is of priceless value to your grands. EPISODE NOTES Felicia Chang's TEDx Talk about how the stories of our loved ones connect us all is . Her business has a and a . This is Felicia with her dear grandmother, the subject of her movie and the inspiration of her view on capturing stories.

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing last episode's theme, this time Emily talks with a grandparent in the US and a parent in France whose extended relationships span oceans, languages, and cultures. Adventure seasoned with selflessness is the recipe. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay)   “We’re moving to Brussels.” Those words shocked me even though I was twenty-one, living in my own apartment and working on my graduate degree. My parents called from NH to inform me that my dad had taken a job in Belgium. “Where is that?” was my immediate reply. (I was in grad school for English Lit, and obviously...

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Back in Season 2, we did an episode on Long-Distance Grandparenting which proved to be a popular subject. When the distances are really long--international--you'd think it would be harder. The pandemic has made distance less of a factor that it once was, so experienced global grandparents can teach lessons almost all of us can apply. EPISODE SHOW NOTES Learn more about Emily's guest, author Helen Ellis, at https://www.distancefamilies.com. Her book will be out in April, 2021. 

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Grandparent Educators, Part 2 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Some grandparents have the time, talent, and access to become directly involved with their grands' education. Emily talks with two grandparents and a teacher who have done or seen this firsthand, which may give you ideas on how to approach this in your extended family. SHOW NOTE Learn more about Emily's third guest, Sandra Williams, from her and her book, .  

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Grandparent Educators, Part 1 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Grandparents can play a range of roles in their grands' education. In Part 1 on this topic, Emily talks with a retired teacher whose journey through racial segregation in the 1950s shaped her commitment to supporting the schooling of her descendants. Emily's essay is a revealing self-portrait of a third grader, a pen pal, and a missed opportunity Emily's guest Kaaren Rodman provides details on her family's scholarship: "Our family has set up a scholarship that is awarded through the Indianapolis Urban League. Mike and I did smaller grants for several years in the 90's, one for each set of...

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Grandparent Love, Part 2 show art Grandparent Love, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

The centerpiece of this episode is Emily's interview with best-selling author Barbara Graham, who has written about the collected experiences of gifted and famous grandmothers. There are lessons to be learned from her work... and from Emily's essay about loving our grands well with the time we find. Learn more about Emily's guest and her work at .    The Stretch It Takes: Competing With Time (Emily's Essay)   If there’s one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that time looks and feels different to different people, depending on their age and their...

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Grandparent Love, Part 1 show art Grandparent Love, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

To begin Season 4, Emily talks with two members of her network on how to put our love for our grands into action--with purpose, and intentionality, and clever ideas.  The payoff is a richer relationship, even when it's largely a long-distance one. To learn more about our two guests visit and .         

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Spotlight on Emily show art Spotlight on Emily

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

While we take a break between seasons of The Grand Life Podcast, we're inviting host Emily Morgan to the guest's chair for a change. With husband and producer Mike, she covers choosing content, finding guests, and balancing the living of The Grand Life with her podcasting about it.

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More Episodes

Being a parent of teenagers is a challenge you have to experience to appreciate. When we grandparent teens, our wisdom and experience should make us better at it... but do they? Emily talks with a teen, two parents, and a grandparent to explore this dynamic, which is both familiar and new all at once. The Stretch It Takes is a guest essay from grandma and business consultant Pamela Dennis.

EPISODE NOTES

Grandma Judy's help and ideas on grandparent camps is at https://www.grandconnections.net and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/grandconnections.

THE STRETCH IT TAKES (guest essay, Pamela Dennis)

We were the “let’s do crafts” Gramma and the “let’s go catch a snake” ‘Ampa to our first two grandkids. We had sleepovers and times at Martha’s Vineyard -- without parents-- collecting shells, fishing, and having lobster races!  For our second two, far away, we flew out for visits to cheer at soccer and lacrosse games or to attend their in-home music recitals. Being a grandparent to young children was carefree, exhausting but gratifying, and created a deep connection.  

How it changes when they are teenagers. It can feel like a stretch. I ask myself:

  • Why don’t I feel as close?
  • Am I still relevant in this child’s life?
  • What can we still do together?
  • How do I make a difference that matters to them?

I decided to explore these questions with my grandkids who are between 13 and 23 and my sister, also a grandmother to teens.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. Deep down they are the same kids, needing to feel unconditionally loved, but now also needing to feel respected as individuals who are exploring who they are, what they believe, where to go next – without being judged.

You didn’t judge them when they decided on the color to paint the garden rock and now you don’t judge them for the color they dye their hair or if they get a tattoo. Back then you encouraged them to “try it at least once” whether a vegetable or activity.  Our stretch now is to empower them to make their own decisions: what college, what car to buy or whether to break up with a boyfriend.  Maybe we don’t’ hug them on our lap anymore; instead the hug looks like listening and empathizing with their anxiety. The stretch is to do more paraphrasing, less telling and more just ‘checking in’ on how they are coping with it all.

  1. Your experience, perspective, and wisdom matter! Funny how they didn’t matter with your own kids, but now that you are almost pre-historic, their kids want to hear ‘what was it like for you when….?”

I tested my 15 year old granddaughter, “but It’s such a different world now.”  Her reply was, that while it’s different in many ways, “love is still love when a boy breaks your heart. I want to hear your experience and perspective.”  

  1. Technology matters, but not as I imagined. It’s both an enabler and a symbol.

While we don’t all have to do Snap Chat and Instagram, knowing how to connect to grandkids using their modes vs ours, says you are reaching out to relate with them in their world. Granted it’s not as rewarding to us as a phone call, but it fits their time demands and frankly, their attention spans. By the way, it improves your “street cred”!  My grandson once bragged to his friends that his grandparents knew how to text!  And another teen said to his sister one evening (overheard by their grandmother)  “I bet mom doesn’t even know what a meme is, but ha ha Grandpa and Gram do!”

  1. Finally, don’t buy into the myth that teens don’t want to do things with their grandparents. When we took our 16-year-old to Paris and London for 2 weeks, a friend asked, “Why would a 16-year-old want to hang out with you two old people?” The teen remembers it this way,

Being with my grandparents has always been a special occasion, even if it’s just coming over to make crepes for breakfast. That trip introduced me to my first crepe on a street in Paris so it’s a special memory we share now.  I always learn something with them and from their experiences.  I may have helped them in the underground metro, but they helped me want to see the worldWhere are we going next?”

When I asked our grandson, who had just returned from an Air Force deployment what made him want to ‘hang out’ with his grandfather (especially now that he’s newly married) he texted a touching note.  He wrote,

“I believe the bond grandpa and I formed from when I was a baby keeps us close today. Throughout my childhood he was always there, influencing my hobbies, teaching me to shoot, fish, golf, and build things.  His wise words, cheesy jokes, and good attitude toward life, stays in my memories and motivates me even today: joining the military, drinking Fat Tire, eating greasy burgers in dive restaurants.  I look forward to hanging out and making more memories when I’m on the golf course with him again.” 

Now with the Corona virus, their world is upside down with great anxiety and stress. The stretch for us is to keep that relationship strong for their emotional health -- and for ours!

© 2020 Pamela Dennis