Grandparents are Important

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

Trading photos and phone calls

I found it a harsh fact of life that my 12 children were, for the most part, deprived of the experience of having grandparents. We live many thousands of miles away from both mine and my husband's parents, and it was hard to forge a relationship between our children and their grandparents at such a distance. We made lots of phone calls and traded photos, but visits were too expensive to occur with any regularity, so that for both sides, there was a kind of imaginary quality to the relationship.

Both sides felt a keen loss, and even attempted to assign guilt to my husband and me for choosing to live so far away. Logic held no sway in this conversation, since both the absentee grandkids and the absentee grandparents were only expressing their natural pain at the absence of the other. Having grown up surrounded by loving relatives, I saw with too much clarity the exact loss my kids and my parents were forced to experience.

Despite the evident truths of my situation, I found that I was confronted on a regular basis with magazine articles on the subject of meddling grandparents, an obvious source of discomfort to parents from all walks of life. It seemed ironic that such parents had what my family lacked and found it out of control. I wished, instead, for an article on how to make up for the loss of grandparents in my children's lives.

A look at the benefits

Since, in my own head, I continue to review all the ways in which both my kids and our parents are missing out, I thought to share these ideas with others, who might be finding the grandparenting experience less than optimal. Maybe getting a look at the benefits of grandparents will help you look the other way when things aren't going as you'd wish.

Grandparents are patient. They have all the time in the world to read to your child or listen to him stutter through an account of his school day.

Grandparents can help your child connect to his roots through their stories about relatives long deceased. Children need this feeling of being connected to something larger; it helps them feel a part of society.

Grandparents think your kids are wonderful no matter what. Unconditional love is the norm in the grandparent/grandchild relationship. Parents have to criticize to help their children develop good habits, but grandparents don't have such issues.

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