It may come as a shock when a grandchild won’t speak to us. Especially if their silence seems unwarranted. But as grandparents, it may be up to us to initiate a painful conversation.
When our grandkids are young, they may run up with hugs and kisses and snuggle in for the retelling of their favorite stories. They may love to pack their “going to grandma’s” bag or talk to grandpa every time their parents call. Then, something happens and it’s nothing but crickets.
Sometimes that “thing” that happens is pre-adolescence when our grands are focused on their peers and we’re fading fast from their list of fun relationships. At others, it’s because they’re all grown up with the new job, boyfriend or girlfriend and a cell phone that’s got every contact you can imagine, except you.
I see those as normal disconnects and although they may sting for a time, it’s a part of the process of maturity in our grandkids.
But when a grandchild drifts away or suddenly goes silent, I’m on it right away. At least in my thoughts.
- Did we have angry words between us?
- Is there a possibility of jealousy between he or she and another grandchild?
- Have they chosen a lifestyle of which I cannot approve, so they’re keeping away?
- Did I forget to give attention on a special day or miss a chance to draw them close?
- Has their parent(s) failed to guide them in my direction?
Brooching the Subject
Sometimes the honest answer is harder than we want to face. So, we need to brace ourselves. If we find that the fault lies within us, we need to carefully consider our words, actions, or lack thereof and make amends.
If there’s jealousy, we need to correct our behavior or be ready to explain why our actions may be misinterpreted. But if no amount of reform will convince our grandchild of equality in the family, we must let it go– for now.
One of the biggest heartbreaks I know is when my grandkids have chosen a lifestyle very different than the way I raised their parent or the one I lead. That’s when I affirm my love but not approval. And hope and pray for a change. If I’ve forgotten to recognize a special day, time or moment in my grands’ life, I make up for it with an extra pinch of love. And make a note to self to not let it slide again.
Lastly, if my children haven’t trained theirs to honor, respect and show love toward me, my hands are tied. Perhaps, they’ll learn it as adults. But most likely not.
What can you do when your grandchild won’t speak to you? Ask questions, listen to the answers, make amends where possible and accept things the way they are– whether you speak or not.