To be a better grandparent:

Start before your grandchild is born by “gardening” your child’s marriage – Parents are the linchpin of the relationship between you and your grandchild and it is important to begin at the beginning to help the couple to be happy.

Be there when your grandchild is born. – whether you are inside, or outside the delivery room arrange with the parents to be there when your grandchild is born, so you can bond with the new baby (and receive the gift of the parents) at the instant your three-generational family is formed. Grandparents say this experience is a highpoint in their lives.

Spend as much one-to-one “alone” time with your grandchild as possible. The “Vital Connection” between you and your grandchild blossoms fully when the child has your undivided attention in an unhurried and relaxed atmosphere. It is under these conditions that the child can absorb you into their heart and soul.

Be a part of your grandchild’s life. This means keeping up-to-date with things…and especially (today) becoming computer-literate.

Be a resource to all family members. You are a role model for your grandchild’s future grandparenthood. It is important that your grandchild sees you use your wisdom and experience in a loving and caring way. Your relationship with your grandchild’s parent will set the stage for her/his own future relationships when her/his parents are grandparents.

Set the vision for the family and be there when you family needs you. Show your child and grandchild that family is important. Help whenever possible. If conflicts arise call a family conference to set things straight. It is important for your grandchild to see you and his/her parents in a harmonious way when it concerns vital issues. Children expect grandparents and parent to be different in many ways…and that’s good. But the child expects more tolerance, flexibility, forgiveness and understanding from grandparents because they are “older,” After all they are the “parent’s parents.”

What You Need to Know About Your Relationship With Your Grandchild

Unconditional love is the glue of the “Vital Connection” between grandparents and grandchildren.

The grandparent-grandchild bond is second only in emotional power to the parent-child bond

Grandparents learn from their mistakes with their own children and have a good chance of not repeating them.

The psychological nature of the grandparent-grandchild bond is different from the parent-child bond.

Principles of Better Grandparenting

A good grandparent is devoted to the family and has a vision of the family as extending from the past into the future, and that the grandparent’s role is to assure it’s quality and safety, by deed, attitude and example.

A good grandparent works as a “team” with parents.

A good grandparent grows in the role using the wisdom, experience and long view of life conferred by age to benefit all.

Grandparenting is a stage of life that calls for maturity and selflessness, and an understanding and forgiving nature.

When a parent becomes a grandparent they become a guardian of two generations of their family.

Being a grandparent gives important meaning to later life.

Good grandparents convene family conferences to set standards and iron out disagreements.

Good grandparents foster family openness and communication

The qualities of a good grandparent are of the spirit. They include selflessness, altruism, loving, caring, supportive, non-judgmental, tolerant, accepting all the changes and generational difference. Teaching, role model, nurturer, supporting the family, historian, caretaker, spiritual guide, crony, wizard….

Dr. Arthur Kornhaber


  • Arthur Kornhaber M.D. is a grandfather, clinician, researcher, medical writer, and the Founder and President of the Foundation for Grandparenting. A leading authority on the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, he directs, since 1970, the longest ongoing grandparenting research and information project and is the author of several internationally recognized books and numerous articles on the topic. Dr. Kornhaber writes articles, speaks widely, and appears regularly in the media, including Network morning shows (NBC, CBS etc.), to raise grandparent consciousness and to educate people about grandparent-related issues.