As many parents know full well, kids and teens aren’t always receptive to the ideas and suggestions they make on their behalf. On the other hand, grandparents can and tend to play a unique role in their grandchildren's lives when it comes to teaching them new life skills and concepts.
With years of wisdom and experience under their belts, kids are oftentimes more receptive to listening when it comes from grandma and grandpa, rather than mom and dad. Here are a few areas in which grandma and grandpa can play a key role in teens' growth and maturation.
Learning to Drive Safely
As many parents of teens know, teaching them how to drive can be stressful. And many times, teens don’t want to listen to their parents when behind the wheel. This is a great opportunity for grandparents to step up to help navigate and instill the importance of safe driving to their grandchildren.
When doing so, grandparents should not only go on ride-alongs with their grandchildren, but they should also recommend studying the necessary tools and resources, including online driver's manuals and tutorials, that can be helpful in earning a learner’s permit.
Grasping Auto Maintenance Skills
Speaking of driving, grandparents are also great resources when it comes to teaching kids about car maintenance. Back in the day, people were more likely to fix their own cars rather than take it to the mechanic. Though cars of today are different than those of yesteryear, much of the underlying basics remain the same.
In fact, grandparents can be a great resource for teaching teens how to change their oil or a flat tire as well as how to replace other minor things, like air filters and windshield wipers. These skills can come in handy in a pinch, but can also offer teens a feeling of independence, while also helping them to save money on car repairs when they grow up.
Understanding the Beauty of Handwritten Notes
Although social media, texting and email are the go-to means of communication, there’s something to be said — and appreciated — about receiving a traditional handwritten letter, card or note. Grandparents know better than anyone the art of writing a letter. In fact, this important piece of etiquette can be a great way for kids to practice their writing skills, while also sharing gratitude and happiness with others.
Additionally, buying a box of cards and book of stamps for both grandchild and grandparent can be a great way to “pen pal” each other, regardless of location. Not to mention, it’s fun getting something in the mail other than bills and junk mail.
Providing a Level of Emotional Support
It’s healthy for kids to have an emotional support system that goes beyond their parents. As such, grandparents can offer kids an outlet for them to express their feelings, from a young age through teenage years. As a trusting third party, grandparents can build a relationship of support for kids as they face trials and tribulations they may not wish to discuss with their parents.
Knowing How to Live in the Moment
Back in the day, when our grandparents were still kids, there were no computers or smartphones. Yet, they managed just fine to have fun and be social with other kids their age. Today, teaching children there’s more to life than staring at their smartphones can go a long way in introducing new hobbies and skills. Whether it’s a family bike ride, game of basketball or even a hobby like knitting or doing the crossword puzzle, there’s a lot families can do together without depending on electronics. And grandparents tend to be the ones to suggest these types of activities, anyway.
Respecting Your Elders
Finally, grandparents are the perfect people to teach kids and teens the importance of respecting their elders. With all of the movies, music and video games out there that push boundaries, kids today learn quickly how to argue with or ignore their parents or those in authoritative roles. But unlike parents, grandparents are a third party who can reiterate the need for respect and instill proper social and communication skills to kids and teens alike.