Kids Grow Up Better When Grandparents Are Involved


Nana and Granddaddy
Our Nana and Granddaddy in the 80s

When I was a kid, I saddled up every weekend for the hour-long trip to my grandparents’ house. My mom worked lots of overtime on Saturdays and Sundays and took advantage of my Nana and Granddaddy’s enthusiasm to pick up their precious grand (that would be me).

I wouldn’t be the person I am now if it wasn’t for my grandparents. Up until the time he passed when I was 12, my grandfather showed me all the characteristics of real manhood and now, as a grown woman, the checklist of qualities I want and expect from my future husband has been molded after him.

And my grandmother? She was the single biggest influence on my life next to God. I could go on for pages and pages about how amazing she was. But just as importantly, she was there to help raise my daughter. As far as I’m concerned, grandparents are kids’ greatest advocates, even more than mom and dad.

Sure, parents are the first line of defense and have kids’ best interests at heart and all that good stuff. But when it comes to really evaluating a situation objectively and interjecting hard-earned wisdom, it’s Team Grandma or Grandpa all the way. That’s not to say the folks directly responsible for the children’s birth shouldn’t have the final say-so in decisions. I just think that grandparents should be active participants in raising them. I actually think it’s their right.

I guess I should say here that I really believe in the concept that it takes a village to raise a healthy, happy, inner-peace-filled child. I’m so thankful for the people around me who genuinely care about and invest in Tween Girl, from her godmother, who is also my best friend, to the ministers and fellow congregants at our church. They’ve really had an impact on her in some way or another and it’s been a huge help to me, particularly as a single mother making sure she gets the support and guidance she needs, whereever she gets it from. 

Her grandparents are the superstars of that group. And she’s fortunate enough to have a whole rack of grands and great-grands that each sow into her in their own special way. At the top of that list are my mom and my grandmother. While I was finishing my degree and trying to raise the baby I had in my second year of college, they happily took their little infant charge and luxuriated in their Mama and Nana responsibilities. (Those are her names for them.)

They read to her, pampered her, shopped for her, taught her colors and numbers and shapes while I was busting my butt learning English lit and philosophical ideologies. My mom was understandably pissed when I came home pregnant but she sure stepped up to the plate once the baby was born. I’m not sure if Tween Girl realizes how much of a blessing her grandmothers have been — they’ve always been there and when someone’s always been there, you tend to take them for granted, especially as a kid — but she’s always been assured of their love for her.

But also deserving of recognition are her father’s people. He doesn’t necessarily do what he’s supposed to do, making it that much more easy for them to write her off as out of sight, out of mind. But my child is never forgotten on a holiday or her birthday, and she’s a hot commodity over summer vacation and spring break. Love makes her great-grandparents ship her to Miami and her other grandmother send for her to come to New York.  

There are some folks who didn’t need to have children in the first place, let alone impose themselves on another generation of youngsters. Not everybody is built to be a great grandparent. But I’ve seen some miraculous turnarounds in people who weren’t necessarily candidates for world’s greatest parents but made a tremendous comeback in the lives of their grandkids. It’s a different level of enjoyment seeing grandkids grow up than raising children the first time around.

I knew that was true when I saw my mom buy my daughter a candy bar and a toy from the little last-minute items section before you get to the checkout counter at Wal-mart. My jaw almost scraped the tile. When I was a kid, I just knew better than to ask for anything from there because I was guar-on-teed to get shut down. But now as a grandma, she willingly volunteers trinkets to make The Girl happy. That is, after all, her main mission. Should be for all grandparents.

What kind of relationship do your kids have with their grandparents? 

family, tweens, teens, girls, boys


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Laura Scarborough

sigh! This makes me happy and sad...

I am so, so grateful for my father being bigger than life in my children's lives. I miss my husband's father who passed away five years ago because he was a big influence as well. I also regret that my mother is not around choosing to not treat her severe bipolar disease and enjoying her crazy, manic life that includes multiple suicide attempts...I begged her not to inflict this on her grandbabies like she did on my and my siblings...And this weekend especially, I am beyond frustrated with my mother in law virtually ignoring my children, her grandchildren who for 10 years lived down the street from her. WE have always had a good relationship but she never had the time for my kids like she does for her daughter's child and her other son's 2 children. I'm sad for my children but sadder still for her because now that some of my children are grown, they really have little time for her in return. I try to discourage this but how can I fault them?

Instead I am resolved to model my dad and my father in law and am a big influence in my 1st grandchild's life and hope to be for the next one coming this fall and any more that are to come. It is such a joy to be so important in the life of my grandbaby.

nonmember avatar Christine


Brittany Brown

I'm feeling the same way about my son's grandmas. Neither my parents nor my boyfriend's mother were on board when they found out we were pregnant. And I honestly thought we'd be on our own when my baby was born. My son was born w/ meconium aspiration syndrome and consequently diagnosed w/ PPHN and has been in the hospital since the day after he was born, 2 1/2 months now. but his grandmothers have been there for him (and us) since day one with him and I know they'll continue to be there throughout his life. There's no way to let them know how grateful I really am for them.

Bunny... BunnyplusMason

Grandparents who know how to respect boundries and rules that are set by the parent, are good grandparents. Toxic self centered grandparents should not be allowed to have access to their grandchildren because they do not have their grandchildrens best interest at heart.

Boobo... Boobookittt74

I miss my grandparents deeply and no doubt know how important they were in my life. My mother and I have an up and down relationship but my daughter is EXTREMELY close to her and no matter what I know that's a good thing. I only wish my dad were still alive cuz I know he wouldve been the best grampa ever

Jo41 Jo41

I think the importance of grandparents greatly depends on how good of parents you have. When i was a kid I saw my grandparents once a year and I was fine because my parents were great

Peajewel Peajewel

My kids love my Mom but she is the only grandparent that is in their life a lot.  My Dad died when I was very young and the in laws see them but not a whole lot.  We lived with our grandparents when my Dad died and I can tell you my Grandma was not my biggest advocate.  She was not fond of kids really.  So, it was rough and hard on my Mom.  Not only did she lose her husband but she moved back in with her parents and she had to listen to how bad her fived kids were on a daily basis.

allie... alliesmom112

I wish we lived closer to the grandparents for sure. Unfortunately we live 700 miles away dd does talk to her grandparents all the time.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I agree. My folks are awesome with our kids when they want time with them, usually it is my mother that has other things to do, like golf, go on trips and drink. I love my mom but I am so disappointed in how little time she spends with them. I thought growing up you spend lots of time with you grandparents. I did, I was either spending time with my aunt who lives out of town because my folks wanted a weekend to themselves and also because my aunt wanted time with us-she has no kids. Or we were at my grandmas for the weekend. My mom and I have butt heads on this because she will make comments, I finally said hey I don't have a bunch of brothers and sisters (she is #8 out of 9 kids) and a MIL I can just drop my kids off anytime I want. Don't get me started on my MIL-she had 10 months of work off due to being laid off, do you think she spent time with the kids? Nope. 3 times is all, one was a birthday, thanksgiving and christmas. She claims gas is to expensive to drive to see her GC but goes out to supper on the weekends with her freeloader boyfriend. She is so passive aggressive so her lack of influence on my kids is fine with me. She is also the one who says I never see you kids, good thing my hubby has balls and puts her in her place. 

jalaz77 jalaz77

OOPS here is the rest of my comment

I don't think grandparents need to raise our kids but some time with them besides holidays would be nice. I am walking a fine line with my mother. Our last family vaca, we were on a lake with our almost 3y/o dd and 8mo ds (at the time) our son did not do well on this trip, my cousins wife, mother of 4 saw this and took him for a couple of hours. I felt embarrassed for my mom and she held him once during that 5 day trip, keep in mind I really did not want to go on this vaca but my mom says bring the kids they will have fun, we will watch them so you can enjoy the trip too. I think my mom having so many brothers and sisters has an impact on why she is this way, her parents were wonderful but how can you spend real quality time with that many kids? You can't. This is a very very sore subject with me.....can you tell : (

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