How Multigenerational Families Benefit Everyone

 In Family, Family relationships, Family Values, Grandchildren, Grandparents, Healthy relationships, Parenting

The idea for this blog was unearthed after an interesting week of family interactions. It reminded me of how multigenerational families benefit everyone. Earlier in the week I was on the phone with my daughter and son-in-law who wanted to talk through some parenting challenges. I had a laugh later with my daughter as we relived some of our “not-so-finer” moments when she was a teenager and I was the parent pulling my hair out!

The following day I did some FaceTime with my teenage grandson. We talked about adolescent angst and how to get a better handle on the pressures he’s facing. I shared stories about my teenage life, my own struggles, and what I learned. It was a great conversation, one of many he and I have had over the years. We are looking forward to our guy’s weekend this summer.

Attack on the Family

If you have close ties in your multigenerational family, consider yourself fortunate. We gain so much in the bond shared among the young and seasoned among us. Investing in these relationships is important. Kids in particular benefit from the influence of grandparents. Here’s why.

The concept of family hierarchy is inverted in our culture. In many homes, the seat of power is occupied by kids who mistakenly believe they outrank parents. This subliminal message enters through multiple portals: entertainment, marketing, and social media, to name a few. Evidence of this is seen in how kids behave toward their parents. They often act rudely, demanding, and defiant.

The impact of this attack on the family concerns me. Home is supposed to be a safe haven not a war zone for family conflict. Respect is absent. Parents feel powerless to effect positive influence. They need help. Here’s where grandparents play a key role.

Grandparents Provide Backup Support

In order to restore parental leadership and bring respect back in the home we need the support of grandparents. They provide the backup and help communicate the values we want our kids to embrace. Veterans of parenting, they have been through the war of raising kids–uh, that would be you. Grandparents have much to contribute that benefit you and your kids.

Kids benefit from the patience and wisdom of grandparents
  • Who take the time to listen to their complaints
  • Who help them understand things that don’t make sense
  • Who always seem to know what to say or do that makes them feel better
Parents benefit knowing their kids have another set of eyes watching over them
  • To reinforce parental guidance
  • To provide them a break to go out on a date or weekend getaway.
  • To offer advice on how to deal with unique challenges
Grandparents enjoy the benefit of influencing another generation
  • Being a grandparent is awesome in itself!
  • Supporting their adult children in a new role.
  • Passing on family legacy to another generation.

I suppose I could write a book on how multigenerational families benefit everyone. Hopefully, this at least gives you something to consider about how it can help in your family. I also understand that for some readers, multigenerational support is lacking or perhaps toxic. For others still, grandparents are deceased. This is unfortunate. I know couples who “adopt” grandparents via close relationships with neighbors, friends, or fellow church members. Perhaps this could help fill the gap in your family.

Express some sentiment

I’d like to close this blog with a recommendation. If you enjoy the benefits of a multigenerational family, I encourage you to take a moment and think about a special way you can express some sentiment to the grandparents who love your kids and provide you backup. Even better, involve your kids!

I offer this suggestion to you because I am a grandparent who was on the receiving end of something truly special that my five grandchildren gave me recently. They worked together and painted a mural that depicted self-expressions. My son-in-law added an amazing C.S. Lewis quote he painted in calligraphy. I proudly display it in my office.  I’ll end with the quote…

Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.  C.S. Lewis

 

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