GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 21

grand living

Family barbeque without the drama

grandparents hold back, fuss, and hover. The
reality is, we'd all have a better time and even
learn from our grandkids if we'd just relax and
embrace a chance to play like a child.

BY BOB AND JUDITH WRIGHT

M

ost of us keep our family close over the
summer, whether we are travelling with
our spouse, dining al fresco, or spending time with the grandkids during a family
reunion, barbeque, or vacation.
Interacting with your family in purpose-driven
ways can really strengthen your connections
with them.
Sometimes in our family get-togethers, however, we lose sight of a central purpose and fall
into a realm of miscommunication or just hanging out in a way that doesn't nourish, sustain, or
move us forward in our relationships.

How to connect with our
adult "kids"

How to truly connect with
the g-kids

So how DO you truly connect with your family?
Your kids? Your grandkids?
If you want to have meaningless interactions, by all means, ask the questions we were
all trained to ask like, "What do you want to be
when you grow up?"
These kinds of questions to kids, although well-intentioned,
actually limit the child's potential. Asking a child what they want
to be when they grow up, implies that they should know what
they want to become which is ridiculous and limiting.
But what is the alternative? If you really want to have meaning
and purpose and learn and grow with your grandkids while contributing to their lives, try to relate on their level. Ask about their
friends, who do they like and who don't they like? Why? What
21 GRAND

MAY JUNE 2018

they have been doing lately? What they are interested in?
Being a witness to a child's unfolding, watching them grow up
and seeing what they choose to become while discovering along the
way with them is far more interesting. We may want to offer up guidance, but many times, unsolicited interference goes a step too far.
Many parents and grandparents feel awkward with young kids.
The younger they are, the more awkward many adults feel. The
less language skills kids have, the tougher is to relate to them on
their level or to know how to "click." So instead of interacting with
them (yes, even having FUN, letting loose, and playing with kids),

And as much as we may be awkward with young
kids, the same dynamic can happen with our
adult kids, too. Often, we expect the interaction
to go a certain way, so we inevitably set ourselves up for anxiety and even failure. We want
to share with our adult children. We want to
guide them, as we did when they were young...
and yet, we need to recognize our adult kids
have left the nest. They no longer need us to tell
them what to do.
The best gift you can offer anyone is empathy. Relate to them. Lend an ear and really give
them the opportunity to express their feelings.
Treat them with respect. Every single person,
from birth to seniority, wants to know they're
competent and capable. Suggestions only
disempower.
So, do an honest inventory for yourself. Do you hover too close
and tell kids what they should and shouldn't do? Or do you know
how to ask open-ended questions?
Your job isn't to give advice. Your job is to listen.

"

If you do want to offer up advice,
ASK first! Simply say, "Are you open
to a suggestion?"
Continued on next page


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GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018

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GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 1
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