Be an Excellent Grandmother to a Teen Girl
From Tips and Steps
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Here are some tips to make sure the great relationship you have now will continue to strengthen and grow.
- Ask her "what's hot" and what she's into. Say by doing this you find out her favorite singer is Taylor Swift. Okay, so ask her about Taylor Swift. What kind of music does she play, what your granddaughter's favorite song is, what music video is her favorite, and so on. Well, now you know more about your granddaughter and more about her personality. And hey, you made your birthday shopping easier too.
- Let her know you'll listen. A big part of the role a grandmother plays is letting her granddaughter confide in her, with the girl knowing that there is someone on the planet that loves her unconditionally, will listen without criticizing her, and who will always be behind her, even when she's wrong. Another common confession made by a girl to her grandmother is a secret desire. For example, if a girl sees a sweater in a store she will most likely tell her grandmother. There is no known reason here, but a theory I have is that she feels her grandmother will not laugh at her. Listen to your granddaughter; in today's crazy world, there aren't many people who will set aside a good half hour to just talk to a teenager, and she'll appreciate it more than you might think.
- Find a common interest. Say she shows an interest in the heritage you provided her with. That is to say, if your side is Irish and you're both interested in that heritage, learn more about it together. If she wants to learn something you know (knitting, for example), teach her. You might even be surprised with a handmade gift!
- Forgive her. Even though a fight between a grandmother and a granddaughter can be rare, disagreements do happen. If one does, make your point and walk away. She should get the clue to apologize. As soon as she does, you're well advised to forget it.
- Is there something she could teach you? Maybe your phone has a text message feature, but you're wondering how to use it. Chances are good that your granddaughter can figure your whole cell phone out in minutes, with hers being much more complicated than yours is. See if she'll set up your phone for you, then teach you what the different functions do.
- Get to know her style and taste. Do it non-confrontationally. Just randomly ask her, "So, where do you like to shop?" or, "What style are you into these days?" After that, she'll really appreciate you taking an interest and, you'll have a good idea for holiday shopping this year.
- Let her know you're always thinking of her. This is an especially important concept if you live far apart or don't see her for long stretches of time. Send her a card blank on the outside and with a little note on the inside. Call your son or daughter to find out when she has, say, an important test coming up, and send it then. Write something like, "Good luck. But I know you'll do fine." These will mean more to her than you might guess.
- See what her views are on the Grandma-ish behavior. Will she tolerate hugging anytime, but kissing only in private? Will she let you hug/kiss her anytime? Ask her if there's any boundaries there. A girl appreciates someone who takes care not to embarrass her.
- When you're together, it doesn't have to be huge. You don't always need to go all out anymore. Every now and again, just sit on the couch with some sweets and watch TV. Being in close proximity is sometimes all you need to feel closer to each other.
- Try to see her often. If that's not possible, at least call or e-mail each other once a week, or more if you want to. This is important to most girls because it shows them that you are still thinking about them and that you care about them and want to be a part of their lives, even though you see each other maybe only once a year.
- Remember, the bottom line is that you love each other. A girl in her teens will change her relationship with friends and parents, but, with her grandmother, she will often act the same at thirteen as she did at three.
- Sometimes they will want space, give it to them.
- Don't try to act "cool", or say things like "OMG". Sometimes it's just plain annoying, and it makes them feel a little uncomfortable.