In the youth-focused culture of America, the elderly face a loss of social relevance. Within families, a growing generational gap has left many people over 60 distanced from their adult children and their families. As grandparents, they often find themselves without much of a role in their grandchildren’s lives.
The most painful part of these developments is that grandparents often find that their grandchildren see no reason to treat them with special consideration. Many parents are distressed over the way their children no longer consider their grandparents to be important or worthy of respect. If you have such concerns, what are your options?
1. Turn your parents into caregivers
Bringing your parents into your children’s lives as early as possible is an excellent way of giving your children some history to look back on. It can be hard for a child to not feel respect for the people who helped raise them.
2. Give your parents authority
It can be hard for a child to believe that their grandparents really matter if they see that they have no authority to enforce discipline or make decisions. You should give your parents a little power, if only to demonstrate to your children that you trust and respect their judgment. They will soon begin to feel respect, themselves.
3. Openly agree with your parents
Think of areas where you and your parents do agree, and try to bring them up in front of your children. When your children see you agreeing in some areas and disagreeing in others, and yet showing class, restraint, and respect at all times, they will begin to treat your parents in the same way.
4. Disagree respectfully
With each successive generation, people tend to find less and less to agree over with their parents. While it is completely acceptable to have different opinions, though, it is not okay to express your opinions in a negative way.
Whatever differences you may have, make sure that your children see nothing but mature disagreement. This will help your children understand that their grandparents are special enough to always deserve respect.
5. Help them love the grandparents
Whatever level of respect your children may have for their grandparents, it only matters if they are part of their lives. Without the chance to regularly meet their grandparents and build a relationship, their feelings for them becomes largely theoretical.
Make sure that your children do have enough opportunity to spend time alone with their grandparents. Make your parents an important part of every significant event in your children’s lives. You’re your children see that their grandparents are invested in them, they will naturally begin to have real feelings for them, respect included.
6. Introduce your children to family history
The better your children see how they are connected to their grandparents, the more they will want to accept them into their lives. Share funny stories about your parents, stories about the important things that they have done, the great times that you have had growing up under them. The idea should be to make your parents’ family connection to you and your children as real and as three-dimensional as possible.
7. Be seen taking trouble to see your parents
If your children never see you looking forward to visiting your parents and taking some effort for it, they will begin to wonder how important they are to you. Make sure that your children see proof of the place that your parents have in your life. If you happen to live far away from your parents, make sure that visiting your parents is a prominent and regular family event.
8. Give your parents all the help they need
Whatever kind of assistance your parents may need, be there for them, along with your children. Your concern for your parents should be easy for your children to see and learn from.
9. Make sure that your parents are respectful of you
If your parents openly disapprove of the things you do, talk to them about not airing their views in front of the children. Children begin to lose respect for anyone who does not treat their parents with respect.
10. Make sure that everyone’s on the same page
Many grandparents consider it a right to be allowed to spoil their grandkids. If your parents are over-indulgent and not as assertive as they should be, talk to them about it. Explain to them how assertiveness is often the far better way to gain respect.
Respecting grandparents is highly important and it is even more critical that your children realize it and show their respect towards their grandparents.