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4 Ways to Boost Relations with Your Kids (And Enjoy Your Grandkids)

By Anthony Cirillo October 03, 2020 Family

The pandemic has changed how grandparents and grandchildren relate. Some grandparents found themselves quarantined with their kids. Others found themselves close by but locked out, so to speak.

What if there’s tension between you and your kids? How do you make the most of your relationships together? In the end, access to our grandchildren often hinges on the relationship with their parents. They’re the gatekeepers. 

According to the book When Will My Grown-Up Kid Grow Up?, the great news is that 75 percent of parents said that their current relationship with their adult children is better now than when their kids were 15.

A poll of young adults from researchers at Clark University in Massachusetts found that young adults today stay in frequent contact with their parents, with 37 percent of 25- to 39-year-olds checking in on a daily basis and 85 percent checking in once every week. 

Here are some things to keep in mind, courtesy of Grandparents Matter.

Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice

If our youngsters aren’t soliciting advice from us, it probably means they don’t want it or don’t seem to be able to hear it. Put the shoe on the opposite foot. Do you want someone telling you how to live your life? No.

My wife and I have opinions about how our three kids raise our six grandchildren. If we are asked for advice, we provide it.

If you are feeling very strongly about something, ask your son or daughter and their spouse if they’d prefer to hear your thoughts. Accept their reply. Listen more.

The intimacy you once had with an adult child changes once they age and particularly after they marry. Distance is acceptable for this stage of their lives. Don’t take it as a personal affront.

Use Praise and Encouragement

Find positive things to say about your family. It goes a long way toward building positive relationships. Be generous with your affirming words.

Pick Your Battles

Set ground rules for the way to disagree. People are so squeamish nowadays. Choose to not take offense. Or as we say, pick your battles. Sometimes it’s better to let things go than risk being hurt, offended, or angered over the long run.

Consider holding back for the sake of a relationship. This works both ways. Your kids should be expected to try to do the same.

Try Forgiveness

Instead of holding something over a person’s head, let it go. But also recognize that you may be the offender in the situation as well. We all hurt people from time to time and want to heal.

Find new ways to connect and communicate. Regular dinners might be one solution. Find new ways to bond with your children and grandchildren so that you create new traditions.

Assume the best, speak a kind word, dispel negative thoughts. That is the key to growing relationships with our children and grandchildren.

What is your relationship with your adult children? What are you prepared to do to protect or improve that relationship? How often do you stop yourself from offering unsolicited advice? Please share your ideas for good relations with your kids.

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The Author

Anthony Cirillo is founder of Sage Stream, the Senior Entertainment/Education Network and president of The Aging Experience, which helps people and companies prepare for aging before it becomes a crisis. A health and aging expert, professional speaker, and media influencer, he is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives with a master’s from the University of Pennsylvania. Anthony serves as a Policy RoundTable member for Nationwide Financial and Bank of America.

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