Become Their Confidante
To a tween or teen, especially, there's nothing like a grandparent. You're there for her when she needs you most, and you are a crucial adviser about everything from homework to making friends. But building that trust can often feel as arduous as the search for the Holy Grail.
(page 2 of 2)
5. Keep Your Principles
You can let your grandchildren know that you dislike their behavior while still loving them and helping them find their way through life. "When a grandchild sees the love reflected in your eyes,
they'll know they can trust you with what lies within them," Siegel says. "This is especially important when it comes to their self-esteem and self-worth."
6. Follow Your Own Advice
Offer mottos to live by, and live the message. "Show them that it's good to do what makes you happy and that troubles are life's redirections, and something good will come of them," Siegel says. "Make it clear to them that success does not make you happy, but being happy makes you a success, and put that forth in your actions."
7. Be a Mentor
Try to relate their interest to yours on the same subject, says Joe Cariello, 62, a grandfather of five who lives in Hudson, Ohio. So, if you like to do puzzles, do one with your grandchild; if you are knitting a sweater, get your grandchild started on a knitting project and work on it together. "Kids are like sponges, and they do pay attention to how you react and treat them," Cariello says.
8. Focus on the Plus
Always emphasize the positives, especially with younger, impressionable grandchildren. "Children's brain wave patterns, up to the age of 6, are like those of a hypnotized individual, so avoid repeated negative messages like 'You embarrass us' or 'You'll never be a success,'" Dr. Siegel says.
9. Have Fun
T. Scott Gross, a 56-year-old grandfather of two who lives in Kerrville, Texas, is known by his grandkids as Mr. Science. "I am always there with a fun lesson," Gross says. "Rockets teach physics, the telescope teaches astronomy and Diet Coke and Mentos teach chemistry." And isn't having fun what being a grandparent is all about?
For more from grandparents.com;