Martin Hodges of Square Sunshine raises an interesting question today: "Am I a Grandsharent?" Martin is playing off an article on "sharenting" in the UK's Guardian. Sharents blog, tweet and Facebook about their children, often revealing information that might embarrass their children at a later date. Another concern is that the identity of children might be compromised.
Grandparents can also be guilty of oversharing on social media. Martin's solution is to give his grandchildren pseudonyms and to refrain from posting pictures that show their faces. It's a good compromise. Many grandparent bloggers use the pseudonym solution, but few are able to resist posting pictures of those cute faces. I have posted pictures of my grandchildren, with their parents' permission and without identifying them. According to an AVG study cited in the Guardian article, a third of British children have had their pictures posted online, and it's a rare child who doesn't have a "digital footprint."
Refraining from posting embarrassing information can be even trickier, since grandparents tend to think that everything their grandchildren do is newsworthy and totally adorable. Tread carefully if you have grandchildren who are teens and young adults, because their social status tends to be closely tied to social media. Avoid these 10 Facebook no-nos, most of which also apply to the newer social apps.
What are your suggestions for using social media? Leave a comment below.
I can't help but smile when I hear a happy father-to-be say, "We're pregnant!" No father, no matter how attentive, can share everything that the mother's body will go through during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. Still, I give young fathers props for wanting to be a part of everything. When I first became a mother, fathers were still barred from delivery rooms. We have come a long way with babies, and most of the changes are good ones, even if attentive fathers mean that grandmas aren't needed as much.
I thought of six ways that childbearing has changed in the last couple of generations. Can you add others? Leave a comment below.
What Grandparents Need to Know:
All grandparents are eager to become part of their grandchildren's lives, right? Evidently not. Do a search for "uninterested grandparents," "uninvolved grandparents" or "disengaged grandparents," and you'll get thousands of hits. Most of them lead to chat rooms where parents sound off about grandparents who won't babysit and never call. You'll see grandparents labeled selfish and narcissistic.
There are selfish and narcissistic people in this world, and surely some of them are grandparents. Still, there are other factors that cause some grandparents to be standoffish and some ways that parents can promote closer relationships between grandparents and grandchildren. Take a look at these six factors behind uninvolved grandparents. Do they remind you of anyone you know? Leave a comment below.
For Mother's Day, three of my granddaughters created silhouette portraits for their mom. They had help from a friend, but this is a project that some grandchildren and grandparents could handle on their own. There's a low-tech method and a higher-tech method using a graphics program. Either way, it's possible to create a gift that will be treasured for a very long time.
Photo © S. Adcox
I've reviewed over 50 grandparenting books on this site, and almost all of them were written by grandparents. Sometimes it's good to get advice from the other side of the generational aisle, and that's one reason I liked Grandma's Short and Sweet Survival Guide, written by Erin Joseph. On her website, Joseph describes herself as a "busy full-time mommy who is knee-deep in child rearing," but she is still willing to answer questions from grandparents. Just send her a message on her website. Of course, you can always post a question or a request for help in the Grandparents' Forum, but most of those who visit are well out of their child-bearing years. If you'd like an opinion from someone who is still in the baby-feeding, potty-training, crazy-clutter-making stage of life, just ask Erin. She'll be glad to answer your question, just as soon as all five kidlets are in bed.
We don't have a lot of grandmothers in my family, which makes me sad, but makes celebrating Mother's Day a bit easier. Managing to celebrate when your family includes multiple "moms" can be difficult, as this Chicago Tribune article points out. Personally I think that those moms who are still in the trenches should get primary consideration on Mother's Day, but I hope that they include grandmothers in their weekend plans. That may mean lunch or dinner with a grandmother today. In fact, I think we should start celebrating Mother's Day weekends instead of trying to cram everything into a single day. It's true we have Grandparents Day in September, but although it's a real holiday, it hasn't really caught on with many families. Most grandmothers will appreciate being remembered this weekend as well.
How does your family manage to honor all the moms on Mother's Day? Leave a comment below.
When my grandson arrived at my house and immediately started asking to make a homemade bubble solution, I was skeptical. But this is the young man who loves science experiments, so I try to indulge him. We found a recipe that didn't call for glycerin -- that would have meant a trip into town -- and he created some gigantic bubbles using a blower we improvised from a wire coat hanger. Here's how to do it: Mix 2 cups water with two-thirds cup of dishwashing detergent and one-fourth cup white corn syrup. Pour into a large flat container like a pizza pan. My grandson adds these tips for success: When removing the wand from the solution, use a rocking motion to keep the bubble from breaking. Move the wand backward so that the bubble doesn't strike your knuckles and break. Use a slow flip of the wrist to separate the forming bubble from the wand. Oohs and aahs are certain to follow.
Photo © S. Adcox
More Things to Do:
The "grandmother hypothesis" embraced by some anthropologists states that some human advancement can be traced to the emergence of grandmothers. As humans began to live longer, some lived to grandparenting age. Grandmothers shared the burden of child care and enabled parents to devote some of their energies to improving their lives instead of merely maintaining. As a result, civilization leapt forward.
Today, even longer lifespans mean that grandmothers can be around to help out with the grandchildren and still have useful years left after the grandchildren are independent. This development raises the possibility of our civilization taking another leap forward. What would our world be like if every grandmother embraced a cause and devoted just a part of her energies to that cause? We could have less disease, cleaner air and water, better mental health and higher literacy rates. We could have better laws and less corruption.
All the grandmothers I know do great things for their grandchildren. They nurse them, support them, teach them and applaud them. But perhaps grandmothers should be giving equal time to nurturing the world that their grandchildren are going to inherit. I'm as guilty as anyone of ignoring the big picture. For one thing, it hasn't bee a very pretty picture recently. But a powerful dose of grandmother power could make a difference.
One of my problems is that I am attracted to too many different causes and I end up not doing enough for any one of them. Do you have the same difficulty, or have you firmly committed your grandmother (or grandfather) power to one cause? Leave a comment below.
I felt ashamed, although I hadn't done anything to be ashamed of. My baby granddaughter had begun to scream whenever I tried to approach her, something that never happened with my other five grandchildren. It's true that I didn't see her often, but I was hardly a stranger. To add insult to injury, she displayed no such reaction to Grandpa -- Grandpa, whose grandparenting chops were infinitely inferior to mine.
It's not unusual for a grandchild to reject a grandparent, especially from 6 to 12 months of age, but that doesn't make it any easier when you are that grandparent. In my case, what did the trick was spending time with my granddaughter on her home turf, just playing with her on the floor and not attempting to hold her. Either that strategy worked or she simply outgrew that stage.
For years, however, visits with us were more difficult for this grandchild. The other grandchildren typically charged in the door as if entering Disneyland. This one clung to parents. I developed the technique of placing a basket of toys by the door, or having paints and paper ready on the kitchen table. She needed something to distract her from the possibility that her parents might be leaving.
Today, that grandchild is 9 years old, and she charges through the door like the others. I suspect that it's the likelihood of seeing her cousins that fires her enthusiasm. I'm just happy that there are no more tears.
Have you ever been rejected by a grandchild? What worked for you? Leave a comment below.
"You want me to do what?" Grandchildren who have never been fishing may be hesitant to grab a wiggly worm to put on their hook. In my family, however, if you go fishing, you bait your own hook.
What activities have your children or grandchildren been reluctant to try? How did you overcome their reluctance? Leave a comment below.
Photo © M. Schneider