You remember those over-the-changing-table daydreams. It wasn't too long ago that you were there yourself. The difference is that now you're likely in a much better position to help your grown
children make that once-in-a-lifetime family adventure to Europe go from glossy travel brochure tacked to the refrigerator to reality for their offspring.
Parents may not openly or readily share their secret desires and dreams with grandparents, says Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author of Little Things Mean a Lot: Creating Happy Memories With Your Grandchildren. Many adult children fear being seen as greedy or taking advantage of their parents. Others don't want to be judged -- or subject their partners to judgment -- by their parents or in-laws for not making enough money to be able to easily afford the big-ticket items they want.
On the flip side, as grandparents, you may not be comfortable sleuthing around in your children's "wouldn't it be nice if ..." wish lists. Not to worry. We figured as much and did a little digging on our own. Here are some fly-on-the-wall glimpses of things parents really want for their kids but won't ask for.
Along with her European travel wishes, Beth would like to see her kids hit the campsite. "Learning how to be on your own in a protected environment is gaining an important skill for later in life
-- like college," she says, herself a veteran camper of residential Girl Scout and 4-H camps. It's a safe place to learn independence and test boundaries. "I'd like my girls to experience
sleep-away camps so they not only have the experience of camaraderie, but also learn in a safe environment how to be away from their parents."
Camp tuitions vary widely, ranging from $325 to $780 per week for sleep-away camps and going as low as $75 per week for day camps, according to the American Camp Association. If you'd like to surprise your grandkids with a trip to the tents, the American Camp Association's database will allow you to search some 2,400 camps by camper age, location, cost, and activity.
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