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Old 23.09.2015, 17:18
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Missing Grandparents


I was lucky enough to grow up next door to my grandparents. They had a large family (9 kids) so there was always family around, a large amount of cousins to play with, grandparents to mind you etc..
It really was a wonderful way to grow up.
The relationship I had with my grandfather and still have with my grandmother is amazing.




Now that I have my own child I canít help but to think of what he may be missing out on. Ok, we Facetime with my parents every day (they are really great) but itís just not the same.
Of course I feel guilty to separate grandparents, great grandparents and my son.

My parents never try to make me feel guilty, they are very supportive really. Which I think it quite lucky
J

But donít get me wrong, I think the quality of life we have here is better than what we could have if we moved home.



For those of you with older kids... Do they ever talk about moving back to your home country one day? What do you think the impact is of having no extended family close by? (on both you and your kids)

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Old 23.09.2015, 17:37
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Re: Missing Grandparents

I was always aware that if one does not actively promote the country of origin, it is so far and distant that kids would't be motivated to go there later on. I systematically worked on immersing my child in playgroups, school, summer camps and activities there. Now she wants to move there and be part of the gang, she is quite comfortable and values her "old" home, despite being born here. I leave it up to her to decide later on, but as for now, if she wants to go to school there and hang with her family there - the doors are opened, she is fluent and feels at home at both places. To befriend your child with your home culture shouldn't be just through holiday fun, but get a gist of what real life is, it is good to arrange an exchange, she does her little "internship" at her home local class, kids and teacher love her and wait for her to show up again and tell them Swiss stories, speak French to them...etc. Grandparents, despite their hectic careers, are very present in all of that. I insisted on my child spending a lot of alone time with them. They have a strong bond, makes her independent and autonomous.
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Old 23.09.2015, 18:30
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Re: Missing Grandparents

I can give you the other perspective as my husband and I are the "missing grandparents".

We have become the foreign grandparents, the exotic grandparents and it's not entirely a bad thing. It makes our children rely upon themselves and each other to a greater degree. We are not right around the corner to jump in and solve every problem.

We keep in touch via the internet, of course and we speak to them on the telephone at least once a week. They travel here on vacation whenever they can. We don't feel like we are "missing" anything and we think we are expanding their horizons and introducing travel and culture to their lives that they wouldn't be receiving if they didn't have grandparents who lived abroad.

Our children and grandchildren live in a global world and we would like to hope that we are preparing them and educating them to live in that world as global citizens. I am never going to be the grandma around the corner who babysits after school and bakes cookies, but I've learned to be the grandma who takes them shopping in Paris and teaches them to ski. C'est la vie!
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Old 23.09.2015, 19:12
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Re: Missing Grandparents

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I can give you the other perspective as my husband and I are the "missing grandparents".

We have become the foreign grandparents, the exotic grandparents and it's not entirely a bad thing. It makes our children rely upon themselves and each other to a greater degree. We are not right around the corner to jump in and solve every problem.

We keep in touch via the internet, of course and we speak to them on the telephone at least once a week. They travel here on vacation whenever they can. We don't feel like we are "missing" anything and we think we are expanding their horizons and introducing travel and culture to their lives that they wouldn't be receiving if they didn't have grandparents who lived abroad.

Our children and grandchildren live in a global world and we would like to hope that we are preparing them and educating them to live in that world as global citizens. I am never going to be the grandma around the corner who babysits after school and bakes cookies, but I've learned to be the grandma who takes them shopping in Paris and teaches them to ski. C'est la vie!
Same here but fortunately not too far (Surrey) so that they know I/we will jump on the next plane or train in an emergency.
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Old 23.09.2015, 19:22
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Re: Missing Grandparents

I hear you. We have had emergencies but they know that we can't possibly get there that day and so they rely on each other for 24 hours. (Never forgetting, however, that, if it is just a question of money, our funds can arrive immediately and our BODIES may not be needed!)
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Old 23.09.2015, 19:46
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Re: Missing Grandparents

I definitely know how you feel. I have felt the same at times. I was very close to my grandma. On the one hand I feel it would be nice to have family around but on the other hand there are all the issues that they entail (which are rather heavy). My kids are Swiss though with a sprinkling of Bisto, jelly & a funny accent when they have to speak English. I think it opens up their minds to other languages & cultures. It's normal for them to have parents speaking 2 different languages & have family spread far & wide. Home is here. If your kids have gone through school here & grow up here, I imagine this will be home too. I suppose it depends on your level of integration.
I also agree with what TheSpouse has written. You'll have grand parents that want to be involved and others that will look at the offspring like strange little aliens whether they live near you or not.
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Old 23.09.2015, 20:37
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Re: Missing Grandparents

I am of the mind that if you want grandparents, you should find a couple and sort of adopt them. We are on the lookout for some, too, once we are more settled.

My kids would love to have grandparents, but as (un)luck would have it...
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Old 23.09.2015, 20:45
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Re: Missing Grandparents

From the thread title I thought that your grandparents had gone missing..

which reminds me of my own grandmother - who had traveled the world over. In her early nineties, she realized she didn't have much time left to get to Antarctica, the only continent she hadn't explored. She also knew that the family wouldn't want her to go due to her frail and failing health. So she booked a cruise herself and dissapeared for a week, not telling anyone...

You go, grandma!
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Old 24.09.2015, 08:29
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Re: Missing Grandparents

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I am of the mind that if you want grandparents, you should find a couple and sort of adopt them. We are on the lookout for some, too, once we are more settled.

My kids would love to have grandparents, but as (un)luck would have it...


I want to adopt some too lol
Ive been on the lookout.. Just that slightly older generation who may have more time, wisdom, patience...
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Old 24.09.2015, 08:45
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Re: Missing Grandparents

There's enough old fuddy-duddies, here on this forum - although the knowledge bank of wisdom and perceived patience is questionable.
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Old 24.09.2015, 09:12
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Re: Missing Grandparents

The elders on the forum belong to the forum, and we won't stand a chance against the computer. The computer (forum) does talk back, but one can always just shut the computer and take a break from it, while a grandkid can't be dismissed just like that.

They belong to this category......
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Old 24.09.2015, 09:24
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Re: Missing Grandparents

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I want to adopt some too lol
Ive been on the lookout.. Just that slightly older generation who may have more time, wisdom, patience...
Good luck.

Anyone ever had the chance to look at the philosophy section of a big book shop in the sixties and seventies?

It was pretty much empty.

Not to mention all the booklets on how to live produced by western governments at that time.

Just saying.
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Old 24.09.2015, 10:28
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Re: Missing Grandparents

Sometimes the quality of the relationship has quite a bit to do with the character and age of the grandparents as well as locality.
I saw my grandparents often, but they were never 'real people' with whom I had 'proper conversations'. We never 'did anything' with them. They were kind but as far away as Australia in ways of thinking.
Our children didn't have a great relationship with either pair of grandparents really. The British ones were too British and although they loved their grandchildren and were good to them, the chemistry wasn't right. 'We understand that in Switzerland you are allowed to hold your fork the wrong way up when eating' is not really a great start to a mealtime. Did the fact that my parents were in their middle sixties when our first child was born make it more difficult for both parties?
And basically, although the Swiss grandparents were much nearer and younger, our children didn't have much real contact with their Swiss grandparents either. Had they come to visit us more regularly it might have helped. I don't know. We visited them but...
Probably my fault as much as theirs.
The plus side is that our children are very keen for their children to enjoy time with their grandparents. So they visit us and we visit them and do fun things together. They enjoy coming and we love having them.

In a way we had the best of both worlds, as we spent two years in England when the children were primary school age. They don't talk about going there to live, but have been back on holiday visiting friends and appreciate that knowing both countries has definitely influenced their way of looking at life.
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Old 24.09.2015, 11:00
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Re: Missing Grandparents

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There's enough old fuddy-duddies, here on this forum - although the knowledge bank of wisdom and perceived patience is questionable.
I beg your pardon young fellow my lad. Are you talking about me? I only know three EFers of 'advanced years'. Two are well-bred gentlemen and then there's me. I'll admit to a lot of bad habits. I'm impatient and fussy, I enjoy 'gently putting people in their place' from time to time, I'm critical and dogmatic, I like speaking in rather old-fashioned terms occasionally , but 'fuddy-duddy'?
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Old 24.09.2015, 12:46
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Re: Missing Grandparents

A few thoughts on this topic as I sit here in the departure lounge, yet again making an emergency trip back to the U.S. to do the kind of family stuff that can't be done from afar...

I am 'only' an aunt/ great aunt and not a grandparent, but perhaps because my connection is more tenuous I find that the bonds of family loom all the larger, especially as I grow older.

When the kids, parents, and I were younger the ocean in between didn't seem so vast. But as time went on, as the young people grew busier and the elders grew frail keeping up with family responsibilities has taken a significant emotional and financial toll. That ocean in between is quite a barrier now.

It's a price we willingly pay, of course. But even with traveling back every month I have missed the day to day involvement.. And in the end, the day to day is what really matters.

And in the end, family is the only thing that matters.

So to the OP... Do what ever it takes to keep your children's relationship with their grandparents alive. You, and they, will be glad you did.
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Old 24.09.2015, 13:07
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Re: Missing Grandparents

All my daughter's grandparents are in Australia. From about age 2 she's had a regular Skype session with my parents. It started off with them reading her stories and singing songs and having lots of puppets to make up stories etc. Once my daughter started learning to read, she'd 'read' to them, they'd patiently listen and then they'd read to her.

Apart from the contact with her grandparents, the reading aloud was fantastic encouragement for her, especially as everything else she was learning was in German. Now, at age ten, it's still happening, and they happily read to each other every Sunday morning, usually a chapter each of a book. There's also some show and tell, and just general banter.

What I've noticed, though, is that when she sees them face to face, it's as if she spoke to them yesterday. There's no hesitation or shyness. With my husband's parents, on the other hand, it's a different story, because they were never interested in doing Skype. It's really hard work keeping a toddler entertained and it was so often one-sided for the first few years.

The Skype in no way makes up for not being in the same country (hemisphere!) as them, but it certainly helps keep their relationship strong.
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Old 24.09.2015, 14:09
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Re: Missing Grandparents


My son is only one year old and for months my parents and my son have Face time.. probably on average 6 times per weeks. Itís wonderful. My dad is not embarrassed to make the silly sounds and still faces.


Even at this young age, because of these frequent video chats, my son doesnít make strange in any way shape or form when we go home. Itís like he belongs, he is familiar and at ease in their home.
With my husbandís parents however, he doesnít settle so easily. He clings to me a little. I think itís tough for them as they want to spend time with him but he wants to be with his mammy.
Im quite relaxed, Iíve no problem to leave him for them to have their one to one time. I think they need it. Even when he is familiar with them, as long as Iím there, he will stick to me. I know he is quite content without my being there so i try to leave and give them that time alone.
(just to be clear, I donít just arrive home and dump him on their door
)


Reading stories is a great idea I think, thanks for that. Also, having your child read stories to the grandparents is another good idea, it will help to improve his English!

I think we're on the right track. I am so thankful for technology.
I know there is no substitute for the real thing but we do the best we can


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Old 26.09.2015, 13:53
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Re: Missing Grandparents

I did feel that our children were missing out on those relationships when we lived in Canada, one of many reasons we moved to Switzerland. We now live in the same house as the grandparents, and it's so much better for both sides.
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