Grandfatherhood

My son’s wife is pregnant and I’m a little worried about becoming a grandfather. How will my new role change my life? How is being a grandfather different from being a father?

More than 90 percent of parents over sixty-five have grandchildren, and about half of those have at least one adult grandchild. What this means is that with life expectancies getting longer all the time, you’re going to be a grandfather for a long-maybe a very long-time. Most grandfathers love being able to add the title of "grandpa" to their list of identities. Here are some of the reasons why:
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Teaching Grandpa Some New Tricks

Dear Mr. Dad: My parents are divorced and my dad has been living in another state. He is now moving back home because he says he wants to develop a relationship with his grandchild (my son), who is four. Unfortunately, my father has anger management issues–he’s never been violent, but he does have verbal outbursts. He can be fine, but then something sets him off and he starts being verbally abusive. He says he can control himself now, but my husband and I are afraid to leave our son with him. On the other hand, I want my child to get to know his grandfather. What can we do?

A: You’re absolutely right to be concerned about entrusting your child to someone who has a history of abusive behavior—violent or otherwise—regardless of whether he’s a relative or not.

Your dad says he can control his outbursts. But how do you know? Has he been in anger management or been getting some other type of therapy, counseling, or professional help? I’m not saying people can’t change—of course they can. But it’s pretty unlikely that a lifelong habit would suddenly disappear all by itself. It’s certainly possible that your father has learned to keep his anger under wraps, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll stay that way. As you say, he can be fine one moment, then something (or someone) will spark his anger. You certainly don’t want that someone to be your four-year-old.
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Being an Involved Grandfather

Dear Mr. Dad: When my kids were young I worked a lot and wasn’t around as much as I wanted to be. But now that I’m retired and a grandfather, how can I make up for it and build strong relationships with my grandkids?

A: There’s no way to make up for lost time, but there are some excellent ways to be an active, involved part of your grandchildren’s life.

  • Stay connected. Call, write, email, text, Skype, or twitter. There are tons of ways to keep in touch.

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