What is Your GQ? Grandparent Quotient?

Jan 8th, 2009 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

No matter when we senior citizens finally achieve being a grandparent, there are some tests to help identify our capability and capacity for being a good one. My experience is certainly limited in the role and I have never taken courses in retirement to boost my GQ. Basic intuition and sensitivity contribute about as much to ability and smarts as most anything else.

First, a grandparent is not a replacement for the parent. Of course, this assumes all are available to fulfill their roles and to understand the limits of each. If circumstances have created a situation in which the roles are different, that has to be worked out accordingly.

Complexities introduced before and continuing in the 21st century contribute to keeping abreast of inter family dynamics. It ain’t what it used to be, if it ever were that way.

If there still is a “nuclear” family, the dynamics aren’t necessarily simplified. Families who have meals together at home, without interference by television, etc., is an increasingly unusual phenomenon. Perhaps one of the roles grandparents can fulfill is offering an occasional get together around the table for a meal. Assuming this won’t be a forced occasion, but one which can contribute to frivolity and good times, such an opportunity can create fond memories.

Finding something in common with grandchildren (no matter their age) remains a challenge. It is, however, a challenge worth pursuing. Genuine companionship between generations offers a wealth of recollections worthy of posterity.

Adolescence offers its own challenges. When grandparents find ways to contend with that hurdle, then a true, lifelong affection will surely be shared. I think we are there with our grandchildren, although times together are predictably less frequent.

Finding gifts that respect the grandchild and are age appropriate will also offer memories, for the item will likely be one that the grandchild chooses to keep.

Communicating with some frequency becomes more and more a challenge. However, with email, text messaging, cell phones, etc. available some contact can be established and maintained. It is an easy exercise to overlook, but one that needs nurture for the benefit of both parties.

Identifying and reserving some special alone times is also important and necessary. Before long, graduation and off to college, distance and demands will consume more and more of what had been time a grandparent could claim. Try to hang on to some of what soon will be absorbed by the claims of normal growing up and going away.

Check out your GQ once in a while with other senior citizens, learn from them, both what to do and what not to do. Thank your grandchildren for the wonderful contributions they make to your life. Let them know often, with genuine sincerity, how special they are.

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