Posted by: Frank Walker LMFT | August 8, 2013

A Good Grandparent… A Review.

Here the entire  list of what I feel a good Grandparent needs to be.

I’m interested in your responses and ideas so let me know your thoughts.

A good grandparent

  1. Is first a good parent.
  2. Is part of the family system.
  3. Is a refuge for the kids and parents.
  4. Respects the parent’s rules.
  5. Is wise.
  6. Is not afraid to be playful.
  7. Takes the time to listen
  8. Doesn’t give advice unless it is sought
  9. Asks questions and listens
  10. Has a piece of candy in their purse or pocket

A good grandparent…


Is first a good parent.

When grand kids arrive you sometimes think you get to have a “do over”.

Please take care of the business you never finished with your birth kids before you move on with the new members of your family. Apologize, reconnect and make good out of the bad things that happened to you in your parenting of your own kids. You weren’t perfect and neither will your kids be but you need to make things right as you do this thing called Grandparents. If you did it right the first time then God bless you.


Is part of the family system.

You are part of a growing family system. You may not be the commander anymore but you have an important part of this growing family. Take part and be a part of the system that you had a big part of making. It takes generations to grow a child up be an active part in the nurturing of your grand kids.


Is a refuge for the kids and parents.

Be the place where your own kids and their kids can come and relax and be who God made them. Take the kids away for awhile, give the parents a time for themselves. They need it and it will go a long way in building their marriage. Your little kiddos need the time away also. Be that kind of grandparent that the kids love to go to. Listen; tell stories build the family legacy. Make memories.


Respects the parent’s rules.

Yes grandparents have some leeway. But recognize that there are rules that your kiddos want their kiddos to maintain and it is your duty to support them. It gets complicated sometimes but you are not in charge, they are. Hopefully your good parenting was handed down to these new parents.


Is wise.

Being wise carries a picture of an old man or women spouting off wise riddles that everyone is supposed to be amazed by. Sounds great but much of the time the younger generation thinks they know it all already. But that doesn’t get you off the hook from this wisdom thing. You must seek wisdom. That means learn from your life and mistakes and form some answers to life from your years. It also means you have to create an open personal space that allows people to seek your advice and wisdom. So don’t go around telling everyone with hearing what’s wrong or right. Don’t ever say “Well in my day blah, blah, blah”. This is your day; most people don’t want the stories. They want you here and now with whatever is on hand. Be approachable. Be the kind of person that people seek out. When you are sought out, be wise.



Is not afraid to be playful.

OK this is going to contradict number 5. Grandparents can have fun and be funny. We can joke around and play games. Kids need to see that growing up can be fun. We are the people that can show them the fun and glory of life. Their parents are too busy sometimes and too stressed. It goes both ways. Having fun with the kiddos can help you stay young. If not young in your knee joints at least young in your heart. Be that playful Grandparent. Make found memories for your grand kids.

Takes the time to listen.

We live in an age of noise and verbiage. A Grandparent has or should have the time to sit and just listen to the grand kids  If you listen first then the kids will be open to your wise counsel. You need to have some wise counsel but don’t give it until first you are willing to listen. The kid’s parents are often times out of time and out of energy from the work it takes to be parents. Grandparents have the wiggle room to give the time needed to listen. Remember there is more to this listening thing than just being there. Be there to hear, see and feel what is being expressed by those dear ones.


Asks questions.

You are three generations apart from your grandchildren. They have a different world view and a new understanding. Watch, listen and ask questions. A good example of this is the new media they have been born into. We are digital immigrants, kids growing up now are digital natives. Gain a clear understanding of your grandchildren by asking questions. Maybe they will help you program your TV remote.


Doesn’t give advice unless it is sought.

This is a biggie. You are wise because of your years of experience and learning. But that does not give you the right to pressure your children and grandchildren with all you know. Good grandparents are sought out for their wisdom. They don’t give an opinion just because they have one.


Has a piece of candy in their purse or pocket.

I don’t carry around candy. But I had a grandfather that did. The whole idea of this thought is that grandparents are there to bring sweetness to life. Being a grandparent is a gift to give and should be the icing on the cake of a life well lived. Be that person that the kids will come to because you are a treat to be with.


A good grandparent

  • Is first a good parent.
  • Is part of the family system.
  • Is a refuge for the kids and parents.
  • Respects the parent’s rules.
  • Is wise.
  • Is not afraid to be playful.
  • Takes the time to listen
  • Doesn’t give advice unless it is sought
  • Asks questions
  • Has a piece of candy in their purse or pocket



Thank you

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