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Ways to Relate to Your Teenage Grandchildren

During the different stages of being a grandparent, you may go from getting great big hugs to a casual nod, scant eye contact and a request for the Wi-Fi code. Welcome to grandparenting a teenager.

You might complain about your grand-teen’s constant connection to headphones, apparent inability to hold an intelligent conversation and utter lack of interest in all things family oriented, but do try to remember when your own kids were that age – it’s not an easy time for anyone.

Instead of bemoaning the lack of giggles and bedtime stories, consider ways you can bond with grandchildren on their terms. For example:

  • Ask your grandchild to teach you how to play one of his video games. The task may amuse him, and it could give you an opportunity to spend an hour or two bonding — not to mention help you understand why he’s so into them.
  • Offer to take your grandchild shopping. Tempt her with a fixed-dollar budget and let her choose where she wants to shop. You may not like her choices, but try to let it go and enjoy the day.
  • Ask the grandkids about their favorite restaurant and then take the whole family there. Aga­in, you may not like the venue, but the point is to find out what they like because they’re more likely to talk to you about it.
  • Ask for help. Consider a task that falls in their wheelhouse, like showing you how to do something on the computer, download and use an app on your cell phone, pick out clothes for a special occasion or bake brownies together. The point is not to force them to do some odd job for you; it’s to give them the opportunity to take responsibility, experience the good feelings that accompany helping out and share quality time.
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