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Posted on July 6, 2012 by Christine Crosby in 

Grandchild-Grandparent Intergenerational Discussion: Are Grandparents “With it?”

Grandparents, Are You “With It?”

By Justin Goodman   (Twelve years old)

Has your grandchild ever asked you if you were “with it?” Or if you are “HIP?” Do you even know what “HIP means? Well, “Hip,” means what, in days past, grandparents used to define as “popular.” And for teenagers today there is another term they use to define being “super-popular.” That’s being “Cool.”

Being seen as a “Cool” grandparent by your grandchild is a compliment because your grandchild won’t think you’re “out-of-it” and can bring you into, and share their world more easily.

On the other hand, as much as a grandparent may want to see their grandkids, the feeling may not be mutual because the grandparent may be “out of it.” In other words not be on the level of “coolness” or “hipness” needed for the grandchild. Although the grandchild may love a grandparent very much it’s possible he/she won’t seek out Grandma’s or Grandpa’s company as much without some common interests.

That’s why it is so important that grandparents get “with it.” Even when a grandparent and grandchild have few common daily life interests they always have love and commitment in common. Sometimes, when the generations are far apart, a grandparent may show the grandchild that, although they might not be as “cool” as their friends, the love and support grandparents they offer in the important things in life can still be a lot of fun.

So, if you are Hip” or not, take your grandchildren out for a fun day. Going to baseball games, movies, hikes, shopping, camping out, and sightseeing together can be a lot of fun. Certainly your grandchild will find it “cool” when you watch your grandchild’s favorite movie together while you both munch happily on a big bag of popcorn.

Grandchildren feel it’s “cool” when grandparents honor their grandchild’s wishes. For example, when a grandchild says that he needs some space because something like he/she just got “dumped” by their boyfriend or girlfriend. Grandparents should allow their grandchild to work through the hurt alone, yet be there if the grandchild asks for support or advice. That’s really being “cool.”

What grandchildren need most is love from their family. As a grandparent, just let them know you are there for them to listen or to go out and have a great time. When you show your love and respect your grandchild will know that he/she can trust you. Just by showing love your grandchild will know you are truly “hip” to his/her needs, and “cool,” as a person.

A Grandfather Answers: To Be (or Not to Be) “Hip?”

Carlos O’Flaherty

 What an odd thing “hipness” is. When I was in my late teens and on I lived in NY in the Village. I stage managed off off Bwy theater, knew Alan Ginsburg (slightly), went to film school and made a few “Z” films and couldn’t have been more hip (I pass on W.S. Burroughs extreme lifestyle). Grandchildren aren’t impressed by any of this unless your name is Spielberg. Everyone else is riding below their radar.

We as grandparents aren’t sterling examples of what should be. Once we were our kids. One of the characteristics of becoming an adult is Post-Adolescent Amnesia. This is when the young adults deny any recollection of having sex or knowing anyone who smoked marijuana.

As grandparents it seems that we forget the divorces, the arrogance, the arguments, the pettiness, the lust for revenge, the extreme behavior that we engaged in. The kids have sort of survived the outright torture and confusion that were visited on them (not necessarily by you or I). It’s not really productive to dwell on this too much, a little forgetfulness will serve us well.

We have a different perspective now. The passion and hormones have receded to a dull roar, a little history and perspective have given us a little “wisdom” in maturity. In the background we see are the same unfortunate things happening to the grandkids. Parents do irresponsible things: desert, have live-in companions (who may not have the same interest in the child’s welfare as you do), and make lots of mistakes. So you can’t be too hard on the kids even though it seems a size ten shoe would fix a lot of things. After all, this is your genetic investment in the future.

Some of us are pooped and just want a quiet garden in a quiet place. Some of us think kids playing, arguing, crying, learning is the sweetest music in the world and can’t get enough. Still others, having their druthers, would druther be in Philadelphia with the W.C. Fields the fat actor with the red nose. But, one kid has split, the other leaves the kids alone and unsupervised because they’re still kids themselves or just haven’t gotten the brass ring yet.

What ever it is, the kids don’t have supervision, they’re running around the neighborhood and it doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way that wind is blowing. So, we pull up our stomaches and get ready to fight to protect the kids. They kind of tug at your heart anyway and for a change you have the time to spend with them. Then there are the other grandparents. The morons who boast that their kids never went to college and look how much they make.. It’s enough to make my eyes go out of focus, that’s what.

Now it’s a different game. The other grandparents have their interests to protect. The kids are just “doing their thing” and the grandkids are just pulled and pulled.. For me it sounds like history repeating but now I’m the grandparent.

Fortunately, most of the other kids are doing ok. Bright happy kids with every moment of the day filled with soccer or trumpet or violin lessons. I’m not even sure the kids realize there is trouble to get into. “Free time” is an abstraction: they have heard of it but it has real meaning to them. Their parents find time to make this happen.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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