Well, Bess and I are reading a new book: Grandparenting Today’s Teens, by Mark Gregston. I hear him most weekends on his radio broadcast over the American Family Network but I never remember discussing him or his advice with Bess. Somehow she independently heard him and decided to order this book that we’ve begun to read together.; it’s good.
So let me ask you a rhetorical question if I might: do you have any dysfunctional teens among your grandchildren? I won’t ask for a show of hands but I dare say it would be close to 100% in the affirmative; the only issue is to what degree.
Is it any wonder when you consider the environment that today’s teens are being raised in? I suppose the real wonder is how so many of them seem to cope and survive in spite of it! Just consider these factors compared to when we were teens:
- When we were teens in the 60s, 88% of us had two parents raising us; per the 2016 census, that has dropped to 69%
- Being surrounded by drugs and peers telling them it’s cool to try them
- Pornography at the touch of a button on their “Smart ???” phones
- Universal availability of birth control and a culture that says they’re weird if they don’t use it.
- Abortion readily available if they “mess up”
- And an education system that’s teaching them who knows what.
Yes, it really is a wonder so many of them survive their teen years.
So what can and should we do as seniors with teen grandkids growing up in this mess? For starters, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to secure a copy of Mark’s book and read it together to rediscover the kind of influence you can have on your grandchildren and how to speak into their lives. To help you get a feel for that I’ll list below some quotes from the first few chapters of the book that Bess and I felt were compelling:
- “As your grandkids get a little older, their social circles grow as well. The amount of time they have for you becomes scarcer as the years pass….”
- “It’s important to remember your role in their lives is still vital. You have a place in their lives, but you have to make it happen. ” (My emphasis).
- “You want your relationship to be one they value …..so make it an easy choice for them. That’s really what this book is all about. Understanding the world your kids live in and figuring out how to be a part of it.”
- “Here’s another piece of advice: Do it now. Time is flying by and will be gone before we know it.”
- “The most valuable things in life aren’t things at all. They’re the relationships people form during their time on earth. The pursuit of things (stuff) is frivolous; the pursuit of relationships is fundamental to God’s plan for us all.”
- A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children (Proverbs 13:22).
Hopefully these brief excerpts have given you a feel for the wise advice contained in the book. It has given Bess and me a new resolve to seek our proper place in our grandchildren’s lives, especially during their teen years. May God’s grace and patience be with you as you come alongside your kids raising their teens as well!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week
Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at email@example.com