Types of Grandparents

The top 10 posts from the last 2 years. I know that everyone else does this as a beginning-of-the-year thing in January, but…..

I was surprised to see which posts received the most hits.  Here is # 6….

I’ve only been blogging for a month, but I have come to realize that it is like joining a strange religion with previously unknown rituals, beliefs, and customs. But, here I am, a convert, so I fall in line with blogging commandment # 1, be “timely.” 

The concept of timeliness is worth attending to

on many levels, but for today, I want to begin with the silliest.  As a new blogger, I am suddenly aware of all these holidays that are marked on my calendar in ridiculously smaller letters.  I see that, in 4 point font, my calendar reminds me that tomorrow is Grandparents’ Day.  Notice the plural possessive for Grandparents’ – this means that the deciders of Grandparents’ Day (a greeting card company perhaps?) want to honor all of them, not just one Nana here or Bubbie there.

There are many types of grandparents.  Don’t assume that they all went to Santa School.

The six main types of Grandparents are:

1.  Formal – They follow what they regard as their “proper role”. They baby sit and indulge the grandkids occasionally but do not offer much advice to parents.  They maintain a constant interest in their family.  They want the grandchildren to have good manners, be neat and clean and in control.

2. Hedonistic – They want freedom from family responsibilities and are no longer interested in being of service to the family. They are interested in their own pleasure.

3. Fun Seekers  – They want an informal, fun relationship so they join in pleasurable activities. The kids are their source of fun so authority is light. They care about their grandchildren being happy and getting along with others.

4. Distant – They show up for the holidays but are generally benign and

remote. Contact is minimal.

5. Wise – Often, this is a role for one of the grandfathers. He has an authoritarian relationship where skill and wisdom is dispensed. Roles are clear between generations.  He wants the grandchildren to be honest, have good common sense, and be responsible.

6. Surrogate Parent – This is usually the grandmother but not always. They actually take care of their grandchildren in the absence of parents.  They want their grandchildren to try hard, obey, be good students and behave.

For lucky children, having grandparents can be the one unconflicted relationship that they enjoy.  The message in this for parents – encourage your children to enjoy their grandparents and visa versa.  Let them all have some pleasure without the encumbrances that some many other relationships have.

To all the nanas, emas, pops, bubbies, grannies, gramps out there,  have a good one.

To read more, check out my book, “The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits.”

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6 Responses to “Types of Grandparents”

  1. September 14th, 2010 10:22 pm

    This reminds me of my grandmother. My father’s mother. She was the Surrogate Parent from your above list because she took care of all 8 of us grandchildren while our parents worked. I have no idea how on earth she did it. She was also Wise. Very wise indeed. And she still knew how to have fun.

  2. September 16th, 2010 9:40 pm
    Linda Edelstein

    Julie, Thanks so much for commenting with a story about your grandmother. She must have been very special.

  3. September 18th, 2010 4:08 pm

    Thank you for your very valuable reflections and insight. Relating to the sometimes devastating and demoralizing effects of multiple divorces of a child’s parents, the positive side is that they may wind up with, perhaps, hundreds of sets of grandparents.

  4. September 20th, 2010 2:47 pm
    Linda Edelstein

    Bob, I’m glad that you added this idea. The original post had not gotten into the healing effects of grandparents. Thanks

  5. October 23rd, 2010 6:07 am

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

  6. October 23rd, 2010 1:16 pm
    Linda Edelstein

    Glad you signed up. I’ve been writing about different topics that occur to me and that I think others will find interesting. I hadn’t thought much more about grandparents but I am happy to take requests. What are you interested in? Linda