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How to Teach Your Kids to Respect Their Grandparents

by Karen Hollowell

Your children are fortunate if they have a positive relationship with their grandparents. In most cases, your kids can go to them for advice, a sympathetic ear and unconditional affection. It's important that you teach your children to respect their grandparents. From a young age, kids need to know that elders are due their respect, especially those in their family. Additionally, knowing how to respect authority figures will help children later in school and in their careers.

Explain the importance of grandparents. Tell your children that grandparents are a part of their history and can tell them stories about great-grandparents and other relatives. Help them understand that grandparents are not just old people who don't understand kids. Remind them that their grandparents were kids once and have experienced many of the same things and can be a good source of help when they need it.

Teach your child the meaning of respect. Kids may think of grandparents as either benevolent people who will always give them what they want or grim, old-fashioned critics who have to be endured during occasional visits. Hopefully, their relationship is meaningful and loving. However, you need to teach your child that respect means "to honor." This includes considering others before themselves, submitting and treating people courteously. Kids can show respect even if their grandparents don't fit their ideal image.

Show respect yourself. Even if your own relationship with your parents has been strained, respecting them is an important example to set for your children. It helps them realize that even if they don't always agree with their grandparents, they should still respect them because of their position in the family. This may even improve the relationship between you and your children.

Encourage communication between your children and their grandparents. If you live near each other, frequent visits are an option. Fortunately, however, even long distances don't have to be a barrier to a quality relationship. Besides the traditional letters, there are emails, texts and online instant messages. Preschool-age children will need your assistance, but older children and teens will soon become technologically adept. These may not be as meaningful as personal visits, but they keep the line of communication open. Your children and their grandparents don't have to be isolated acquaintances.

Warning

  • Exercise caution when your children are online. Monitor online chat rooms and social media networks.

About the Author

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.

Photo Credits

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