How Preteen and Teenage Grandchildren Are Like Cats

How Preteen and Teenage Grandchildren Are Like CatsGrandparenting preteens and teenagers is different than any other grandparenting stage.

Grandparenting babies, whether a long distance or local, is intense. We have to follow the parents’ rules, whether strict or lax, or anything in between.  We must be very concerned about safety and do not want anything to go wrong on our watch.  Baby and toddler grandchildren are fun, cute, adorable, and entertaining, but they are most demanding, physically and emotionally.

Preschool age grandchildren are also cute, adorable, and entertaining, and they can be less demanding physically and emotionally, especially if they are toilet trained and in preschool part of the day!  They are beginning to be overtaken by an interest in electronics, but at this stage, we grandparents can keep up.  Watching their responses upon exposure to life and experiences is a joy.

School age children are completely into electronics and unless we join their world of electronics, we might find ourselves less relevant to their lives.  Yes, we begin to become observers of their school and extracurricular activities, at a time that longer years makes us grateful we are not full time participants.  It is a joy to watch them begin to understand the world around them, and see them mature. We grandparents have to make a concerted effort to cuddle and hug, and kiss and show our love, and never when their friends are around or in public.

Then, we find ourselves with grandchildren in the double digits.  If you are like me, you cannot put your head around the intervening years that flew by.  I remember the grandchildren baby years vividly, and now the oldest grandson is nearly a head taller than me.  We are talking about colleges and future careers, when I remember the first day of preschool.

Our preteen and teenage grandchildren just left after a winter school break visit.  Looking back on the visit, when “grandma friends” asked how it went, I realized and responded that preteen and teenage grandchildren are like cats.  When they want cuddling and loving, they are all over us grandparents, just as when they were toddlers and preschoolers, but even more open and giving.  They can verbalize their love and caring and do so, almost purring as they do so.  When they have had enough, they disappear and show their independence.  They are Face Timing friends, multiple at a time with the new I Phone update.  They are doing what seems like massive amounts of homework, and this Grandma does not understand the chemistry or much else.  They are capable of entertaining themselves for hours at a time, and sometimes it feels like we are intruding on their privacy, especially Instagram, which I still do not appreciate, but found out that is where they get their news! Yet, mealtime elicits requests for their favorite kid food and snacks, and we sneak in a trip to get their favorite candy and snacks forbidden at home.

The depth of love and caring is so evident and appreciated by us.  They are open with the kisses and the “I love you’s.” We know they could be doing anything and want to spend time with us.

When it is time for them to leave for the airport and home, they reach back for us and show us they wish they could stay with us longer. Yes, I now can understand adult grandchildren coming to live with their grandparents.  I am okay with that.

Grandparenting has been a special journey for this Grandma whose grandparents were murdered by the Nazis before I was born, depriving me of the experience of being a grandchild.  I have learned that the unconditional love that I was denied can last beyond life on earth.

When I say to my grandchildren, “I love you to infinity and beyond,” I know that these preteen and teenage grandchildren know the depth of the meaning of those words.

Grandparenting teenagers comes at a time when, again, we have longer years of life, and being the observer is a great benefit.  We can talk about any subject under the sun, and more of the time, they can educate us!  They fix our electronics and we save electronics chores for them to do for us.  Their favorite electronics, and especially Fortnite, is beyond my understanding.

We grandparents can share our family history and they are interested in it.  Our oldest grandson actually watched the entire video of his grandfather’s Bar Mitzvah as his choice and he enjoyed it.  We watched a slide show of trips we have taken with their mother when she was growing up.

We can cuddle and watch their favorite television shows or movies on demand.  We can share hobbies, current events, travel experiences and even enjoy the movies they are now able to see.  However, our joint yoga and talking sessions and hearts game competitions are the best shared times, with preteens and teens, maturing and experiencing more of life and sharing their lives with us.  Yes, and their parents allow us to travel alone with them and give us the time and space to savor these years.

I did not know when I grandparented the new babies and toddlers that there could be another time when grandparenting could be the best.  There is one saying that applies to all grandparenting: “The best is yet to come,” and we just need good health to be here to experience our grandchildren’s unfolding lives with








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