Relating to your grandchildren isn't always a simple task. You're likely several decades older than them, meaning you have both more life experience and different life experiences.
The good news is that it's possible to find ways to relate to your grandchildren and build a bond between you. Relating to your grandchildren can be fun and enjoyable once you figure out how to connect.
Your grandchildren are from another generation, but that doesn't mean you can't connect and have a positive relationship. Here are six ideas to help you better relate to your grandchildren and build a better bond.
One of the first ways to break the ice and start to understand your grandchildren's generation is listening. Listen to what they're talking about. Don't just nod and smile if you don't understand; tell them that you need more information and really take the time to delve into their interests.
One of the fun things you can do as a grandparent is showing your grandchild "new" things.
Show them the phone you used when growing up so they understand that you didn't have the same options they have now. Explain what it was like when you were a child compared to what it's like for them. Are there more people now? What about how you interacted with your friends is different from how they do today?
When you show your grandchildren new things and discuss your history, they better understand your life. You also learn more about them because it's easier to see what they do or don't know because of when they were born or the experiences you don't share.
If you feel out of the loop regarding your grandchildren's activities and interests, part of the problem may be not spending enough time together to be up to date on the latest trends or technology.
Spending meaningful time together means taking an interest in what your grandchild wants to do or show you. Are they trying to invite you to play a video game? Give it a try. At the very least, you'll experience what it's like to use the gaming system or to discuss the game with them.
Are they interested in a specific food, or do they have opinions you don't understand? Explore those topics and keep the time together as positive as possible.
If you live far apart or can't meet up regularly in Frisco, consider using a video call to speak with one another. That way, you'll see each other and be able to interact more easily.
Sometimes, people don't understand each other because both parties ignore what the other is going through or refuse to try to understand. As the adult in this situation, it's very important for you to be empathetic to what your grandchildren are going through.
You may think, from your perspective, that your grandchildren have it easy today. However, if they're upset about being bullied or struggling with a test, that's something you can be empathetic about. Even if you don't always agree with your grandchildren, you should keep in mind that they are experiencing new things all the time and may be going through difficult situations for the first time.
Being empathetic will help them open up to you, and then you'll better understand how they feel and what they need.
This may go without saying, but with your grandchildren, stay respectful. Your grandchildren should be respectful of you, too, but remember that they may be young or may make mistakes. You may make mistakes, too.
The important thing to do is be apologetic if you do something offensive or polite when you're asking your grandchild to do something for you. Respect is a two-way street, and building a strong bond with good boundaries and respect will help you and your grandchildren have a positive relationship.
Finally, if you really want to connect with your grandchildren and be able to talk about the things they love and enjoy, it's time to start studying. Watch the latest movies, read a book they love, take an active interest in talking to them on the phone or browse online forums discussing the activities or topics they bring up.
You might even go as far as taking a class with your grandchildren or on your own to brush up on the latest hobbies and slang.
While getting to know your grandchildren and their interests takes a little extra effort, it's sure to pay off when you have the strong relationships you want with them. A little at a time, you can get to know their generation better, so you finally understand "kids these days."