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Grandparents involvement with grandchildren
Old 01-14-2020, 10:57 AM
  #1

Stepping sideways from annaís thread, I want to express my belief that it is possible for grandparents to be very close to their grandchildren without tons of babysitting.

I am an only child and my parents adored my kids. They occasionally babysat, but never regularly. However, my kids were very close to their grandparents because (until they were 6-12), we lived in the same town and we often got together as a family. Even after we moved away, we spent holidays and some vacations together and talked on the phone weekly. My kids are adults who speak fondly and respectfully of their (now deceased) grandparents.

What about you? Do you believe itís possible for grandparents & grandchildren to be close without babysitting?


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Babysitting
Old 01-14-2020, 11:08 AM
  #2

We are babysitting right now for a five and eight year old grandsons. They are a bit high maintenance for six days. We had a great time but I do not think Iíll do another longish stint like this. The little granddaughters 3 and 4 are way easier!!
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:26 AM
  #3

I agree with Amiga. I was very close with my Grandparents because we lived in the same town, and visited often (daily). After I left home, I remained very close to them until their death.

I am also very close with my grands. They live in the same town, and I see them 2-3 times each week. We babysit occasionally. More often, we just all hang out together. My grand kids are 2,4,and 7. They know they can call me whenever - and often do, just to talk.
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Grandparents
Old 01-14-2020, 11:34 AM
  #4

My parents never babysat their grandchildren and had perfectly good relationships with all of them. They were not hands on grandparents and were happy to spend time with the kids without looking after them.
If people want to babysit its fine, but it certainly isn't necessary.

Last edited by travelingfar; 01-15-2020 at 01:28 AM..
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Yes!
Old 01-14-2020, 11:51 AM
  #5

I believe children can be close to grandparents without spending time with them while their parents are working.

My sons were close to their grandparents as children and adults. My parents took them on outings to have fun and enjoy one another's company. They fostered the relationship with the gift of time by taking them to the park, hiking, zoo, gardens...


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Old 01-14-2020, 12:15 PM
  #6

Of course they can!
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:42 PM
  #7

Sure , I think it's possible. But I do think it's a little different seeing your grandkids at family gatherings vs. one on one time. Taking them on an outing to the zoo or park is a form of babysitting. Personally, I love having my grandson here at my house and having that one on one time with him. Every family is different, so they have to figure out what works for them. I definitely don't have the energy to babysit full-time, but once or twice a week is just right.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:56 PM
  #8

I believe it's entirely possible to be close to grandchildren without babysitting . A good relationship with grandchildren largely depends on the personalities of all involved. I have heard of kids living close to their grandparents and yet the relationship is rocky . Babysitting does not guarantee closeness at all.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:30 PM
  #9

Sure. I think it's possible to be close without babysitting, as in caring for them while their parents are doing something else. But I don't think you're as close if you never have one-on-one time with them. It's perfectly fine to have that one-on-one time be on your terms.

Although, I think there is something about having a grandparent take care of you that fosters a special kind of closeness. I have twelve first cousins on my Mom's side. My grandmother on that side saw a lot of all her grandchildren but only two of us were regularly in her care. I don't think there's any doubt that we were closer to her than the other grandchildren. She looked rather stern and, having raised eight children, had eyes in the back of her head. The other grandchildren remember being a little afraid of her. Debby and I knew what a soft heart lay under her stern exterior, though, and both of us felt safe in her care in a way that we didn't experience anywhere else.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:45 PM
  #10

I had one set of grandparents who babysat me on a regular basis and one set that I only saw in group settings at family functions. I was one million times closer to the set that babysat me. I just saw them so much more, and it was 1:1 time vs. a group setting with other adults and cousins.

In fact, my mom had to train me out of calling her mom my "real grandma" when I was little . Unfortunately the grandma and grandpa I was close to have both passed away at this point. My other grandma is still alive and I do still see and talk to her, but it's not the same type of relationship at all.


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Well....
Old 01-14-2020, 03:53 PM
  #11

I was a first year teacher and 23 when I had my oldest. My mom kept him while I worked but I paid her. She kept my dd too. Yes, they are super close, but it has created some little issues as well. She has pretty much no boundaries and feels that she is as much their "parent" as I am....being that I busted my butt to raise them after my ex abandoned the state, that can sit a little wrong with me. But yes, my family did help out with them a lot. So, it can be sort of a double edged sword.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:31 PM
  #12

There are levels of closeness I believe.

My parents live 5 hours away and my mom tries to come up once a month to visit. We do FaceTime weekly and the kids love my parents.

BUT my sister lives about 20 minutes from my parents and they see my nephew at least 3 times a week. I feel like their relationship is much more close than what my kids have.

Am I jealous... absolutely. But I know my kids and parents love each other immensely.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:00 PM
  #13

Absolutely. I grew up living 4-5 hours away from my grandparents. We visited at least 6 times a year. I would stay with each set for a week in the summers (I guess you could maybe count that as babysitting if you want). I had very close relationships with all of them. Many of my friends grew up in the same town as their grandparents and spent time with them weekly. There was a lot of babysitting included. They were close with their grandparents, but in a very different way.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:41 PM
  #14

Neither set of my grandparents ever babysat.

One set lived in town, and the other lived 100 miles away. I visited with my parents.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:53 PM
  #15

We never lived close to my parents but my kids are very close to them. They visited several times a year or we went to them (which happened less as the kids got older - more times then they came to us.) There were quite a few years when they went to visit grandparents for a long weekend or a week without us. Does that count as babysitting? There were a couple times my mom came and watched my kids (or took them back to her house) while I did my military drills. She would not think of taking money for it. One year dh and I took a vacation alone for a week while my parents had the girls! That was so awesome!
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:15 PM
  #16

I was lucky to be able to have both sets of grandparents alive when I was a child. All lived in the same town and saw them for holidays, events, dinners, etc.

Paternal grandparents- stayed with often (days and nights)
Maternal grandmother- stayed with once as a child
Maternal grandfather- never stayed with

They have all since passed, but I have fond memories of all of them and felt like I had great relationships with each.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:17 PM
  #17

My parents and my children are close. They live near by and my kids see them quite regularly. Iím a single parent and my parents are fantastic about babysitting/pick up for hockey practice when needed, which I appreciate tremendously, but I do not want to take advantage of my parents. They are retirees with very full social calendars and church commitments. So yes, I believe itís possible to be close without much babysitting.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:18 PM
  #18

Yes, I believe you can be close, but only to a certain degree.

Babysitting/1 on 1 time with a grandchild provides a totally different type of interaction and experience for both the grandparents and the grandchildren. It's different than the interaction that occurs with grandchildren in a family and/or group setting.

True 1 on 1 time with a child, or even an adult, lends itself to a deeper understanding and appreciation of an individual compared to only interacting with that person in the presence of their family or in a group setting.

With that being said, it's up to each grandparent how they go about building whatever relationship they feel comfortable having with their own grandchild/grandchildren.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:28 PM
  #19

Growing up I had 1 set of grandparents that lived about an hour away. Saw them frequently, we were close.

My other grandma moved to FL (from IL) when I was 4. She's 90 now and I started going to visit her alone in college. While I always loved her and felt loved, our relationship became closer as "adults".
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:54 PM
  #20

This is almost the relationship I had with my grandparents. I grew up across the road my my maternal grandparents and didn’t see my paternal grandparents as often. We would see them at their house, but I didn’t spend a lot on time by myself with them. My paternal grandmother isn’t very nurturing. Now my maternal grandparents were completely opposite and I stayed with them as much as I could, even in high school. (In reference to Haley)

My mom watches my son once a week or every two weeks for a night since she works. My MIL babysit my son every day when I worked. She still comes over for a few hours a couple days a week so she can spend time with him. My husband and I are both only children and our son is the only grandchild. He gets all of the attention. It’s been super helpful that they are able to help out when I need them to.
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Both of my children are close with their
Old 01-15-2020, 04:54 AM
  #21

grandparents in the same way anyone can be close to them. They are both highly intellectual, hugely successful scientist/engineer types, wonderful liberal Democrats who give generously to everyone in their families, friends circle, to the arts and charity. They could not be more opposite of me if we had planned it. I give you that background just so you understand that being "close" to them in the way I am "close" to people (coming from rural poverty-farmgirl-hicktown-upstate NY background) is not possible.

My kids are an odd combination of the unlikely mix of two completely almost mutually exclusive lifestyles, i.e., the one I come from and the one they live in. I had to work really hard to develop any relationship with them. I know they love me and my MIL and I do have a nice friendship. We share some interests outside my children, but I doubt our paths could ever have crossed outside of this one.

I guess what I'm saying is that there is always a strange formality with them, even though we spent tons of time with them. I do think that a special relationship is formed between grandparents and grandchildren when the parents are not there and that the really ideal time for that relationship to form is probably between ages zero and about ten. I always expected that to be how we would do it because that is how my family would have done it, not just grandparents, but aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. We lived in CA, so my kids did not experience that from my side of the family, only from me.

Now as young adults, they see their grandparents, they love them, they respect and admire them and care about them. My kids even have memories of doing a lot of stuff with grandma and grandpa as kids, but mom and dad were always there, so they never carved out that independent relationship with their grandparents. I think it was a loss, but I am smart enough to know it never would have happened. They had big jobs, big lifestyles, big social lives. I sometimes wish my kids were closer to their grandparents. I often have to coach them to call them and I often get a response like, "Oh, they're probably busy," or "I never know what to say." We have a lifetime of interactions, but yet my kids still are not truly bonded in the way I would have hoped for.

If I had come from the same background as my husband, who knows? I often wished I had married into a family that was more like a tribe. I see that in my sister's family and I am a little jealous and a little outside, even though I am totally included as much as I want to be. Tribes operate differently from modern American families.
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:43 AM
  #22

Quote:
I often wished I had married into a family that was more like a tribe.
Yes! Occasionally, and especially on holidays, I do think how nice it would be to have a big, welcoming, inclusive family. A tribe sounds lovely.

But honestly, 98% of the time I am extremely happy with a more solitary lifestyle.

Hard call.
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Old 01-18-2020, 06:34 AM
  #23

Yes, I think it is possible for grandchildren and grandparents to be close without babysitting. We need to look for opportunities to connect with our grandkids outside of babysitting time to make that happen.

I do think, however, that there is a big difference between occasionally babysitting or initiating independent outings with my grands; and being the full-time daycare.

I attend an early childhood grandparent-grandchild class weekly with my 3 year old grand-daughter. There seem to be more tricky issues to navigate regarding boundaries, etc. among the grandparents who
are providing full time daycare.
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Personally,
Old 01-18-2020, 11:35 AM
  #24

I don't think babysitting is the same closeness at all. Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt as they say. Some grands feel taken for granted in those cases. Or feel that since they are paid, they are just doing a job.

DD was extremely close to her grands on DH's side and they never babysat. Gma there smoked and I was opposed so we never left her there alone. But, we lived close and visited often. Gma died when DD was 6 and then we visited all the time to help Gpa. While I cleaned house or cooked, DD and Gpa would take walks, be in the barn, fish, run errands, talk, watch TV or play games. It wasn't every minute and he would often send her away if/when he was tired or not in the mood to "play." But he didn't have that relationship with any of the other grandkids.

Before he passed on, he moved in with us for several months. They got even tighter. At the end, he would eat and take meds from her when he wouldn't for anyone else. He adored her and she him. She was 16 when he passed on and she loved(s) him even still. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
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