When my husband and I moved away from our hometown, my parents worried that their relationship with my kids wouldn’t be what they imagined. However, my parents did a fabulous job of staying connected to their grandkids despite the distance. Today we’re going to talk about how you can do that, too, whether you live close by or far away from the grandkids.
My guest today is Mark Gregston. Mark began his work with teens forty years ago when he was a youth minister and then an area director with Young Life. In 1989, Mark and his wife, Jan, started Heartlight, a residential counseling center for struggling teens and families in crisis. Today, Mark has four grandchildren and is the author of the book, Grandparenting Teens.
In this episode, we talk about how grandparents can connect with the heart of their teen grandchildren, how we can stay engaged and involved in our grandchildren’s lives no matter if we live near or far from them, how we can become better listeners than answer-givers, providing wisdom rather than knowledge, and so much more!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Heartlight’s Website
- [Book] Grandparenting Teens by Mark Gregston
- [Book] Empty Nest, Full Life by Jill Savage
- As a thank you for listening, get your 3 free eBooks!
My Key Takeaways:
1) Show an interest in what your grandchildren like. It can be hard to look past the odd fashion choices and latest piercings, but most of those are temporary. Look past those things and find ways that you can invite and engage in relationship with your grandchildren. Take the time to ask good questions and discover what they are passionate about.
2) Avoid parenting your children as they parent your grandchildren. Instead, look for ways you can support and encourage them. It can be hard to bite your tongue from offering unsolicited advice, but we should seek instead to offer to support and encourage them. This could look like taking your grandchildren for the weekend so their parents can get a break. And as an added bonus, you get to spend quality time building a relationship with your grandkids.
3) Focus on being a grandparent, not another parent, to your grandkids. Avoid slipping into your old role as a parent. This is your time to guide, support, encourage, and have fun with your grandchildren. You don’t have to correct behaviors and opinions that your grandchildren have, but instead you can be their friend and let them know that you are a safe person who cares deeply about them.
Mark Gregston is co-founder and Executive Director of Heartlight, a residential counseling center for teens in crisis located in Hallsville, Texas. He has authored 12 books, written hundreds of articles about parenting teens in a difficult culture, and is also the host of Heartlight Radio’s weekend program, Parenting Today’s Teens, which was honored to receive the 2014 Program of the Year award from the NRB. From his 40+ years of experience of working with teens and their families, Mark shares his insight and wisdom through seminars, retreats, and conferences, taking up all his free weekends. Mark and his wife, Jan, have two grown children and four grandchildren. Learn more at https://www.heartlightministries.org/
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