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My grandkids have “outgrown me”


I’ve been involved in my grandchildren’s lives since they were born. Now they’re teenagers and they’ve seemed to “outgrown me.” I feel like I’ve lost them and am being left out! What can I do?



It's natural for teens to want more independence so they venture out into the world to have new experiences. They may want to spend as much or more time with their friends as with their family, and they also might be interested in working part-time and/or participating in extracurricular activities like sports, band or theater.

But while they may have outgrown some of the activities you used to do together, they have not outgrown YOU.

You are still their grandparent and still have an important role in their lives. Here are some things you might try in order to rekindle your relationship:

  1. Find out what their interests are. Once you know, take some time to learn more about those areas. So, for example, if one grandchild loves making jewelry, see if there's a craft show coming up that you can go to together or print some cute pictures of homemade jewelry to share. If a grandchild is a soccer player, find out who his or her favorite team is and read up on them, and attend your grandchild's games. Being able to share your grandchildren's interests is one of the best ways to reconnect and refresh your relationship.
  2. Think of how you can use your family's traditions to spend more time with your grandchildren.  Or start new ones that make it more convenient for you to get together. It might be a Sunday dinner, picking up a grandchild from school once a week to catch up and grab a snack, or having a board game night once a month.
  3. If you're trying to make plans to do something together and your grandchild's answer always seems to be "No," be persistent and change the way you ask. You can say something like, "Okay, but you are not going to get away from me that easily. I miss you and want to see you. So what's a good day and time for us to do something together?"
  4. Talk to your grandchildren's parents and let them know how you feel. If you live nearby, see if there is one night a week when you can just hang out at their house or help prepare dinner. You don't always have to plan a big activity; sometimes, it's just nice to have a casual conversation and be together.

Grandparents also can experience a bit of an "empty nesters" stage, so make sure you are filling your emotional glass with things you enjoy doing. Spend time with friends, take up an old hobby again, plan a trip and pull out a few old photos to share with the grandchildren. Change can be hard, but it also can open the door to new adventures, for you and your grandchildren.