Grandparents have a unique opportunity to help their grandchildren in ways that busy parents may not be able to do. We often see an overview of family dynamics and can see the effects of the media overload, instant-gratification, but not-enough-attention, that plagues our families. Visits to “grandma’s house,” where we can take time for 2-way communication with the children, can be a rejuvenating experience that will help children as they interact with the world.
Goldie Hawn’s Foundation’s program, MindUP (www.thehawnfoundation.org/curriculum), addresses the onslaught of media, the effects of parents working and being away from home many hours of the day, and the resulting lack of ability and opportunity to focus on inner growth and self awareness. This school curriculum has been adopted in the US and elsewhere and helps students focus and reflect, among other things.
Another source I find useful–positive discipline, and more: “raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection” (www.attachmentparenting.org)
Safety on the internet has become a primary concern of adult caregivers. We can no longer trust that what our children are doing in their own room is safe! With younger children, adults must be present with them on the internet. The groundwork must be laid so that the child is able to understand the defensive measures to take, and act responsibly and safely approaching the teen years. (As in most things, we gradually give up “control” as the child assumes responsibility themselves–the goal!) George Garrick, a police officer, has had experience with dangers lurking for young people on the internet, finding that young people themselves do things that put them at risk:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) helped Microsoft develop age-based guidance for internet use, with safety in mind, starting with fostering open and positive communication with your children. www.parade.com/health/2011/10/age-based-internet-guidelines.html
These issues is of concern to parents and grandparents. I’ll be exploring what we as grandparents can do to provide positive experiences, but I couldn’t wait to share this! Send your ideas and resources.