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How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 12:02 AM   #1
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How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

OK, OK, I know most of you (esp. the grandparents out there) will say "Never!". But a recent post got me thinking - sooner or later, kids grow up and want to play with their friends, not with the grandparents. I can see how grandparents eventually will get tired of making the trip (or putting up with a less than ideal relocation) to spend time with their grandkids, only to realize that they aren't the center of their grandkids' attention.

I'm asking as I have a 1 year old, and more importantly, in-laws that are talking about moving nearby (even though they aren't fond of our area) so they can spend lots of quality time with the grandkid(s). They certainly wouldn't live here if it wasn't for the grandkid(s). I'm trying to figure out how hard I should push back on the idea - or if I should at all. I'd hate to see them waste a bunch of money selling/buying/moving (as well as hardship for me if they're around all the time) if this phase only lasts a few years...

Let's hear it from both the grandparents and the parents!
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 06:43 AM   #2
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

My parents have a 'country place' about 2.5 hours from me, where my kids love to go because they get to hike through the woods and stuff. At 11 years old and 6, they haven't tired of it yet. Grandma (my mom) at 72 doesn't like to go more than 2 weeks w/o seeing the grandkids, because she's a kid nut.

Disclaimer though: my 11-year old is quite the introvert and would much rather spend time with her parents or grandparents than with friends, so she doesn't have the social life that maybe another 11-year old might.

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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 07:28 AM   #3
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

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Originally Posted by skyline
I can see how grandparents eventually will get tired of making the trip (or putting up with a less than ideal relocation) to spend time with their grandkids, only to realize that they aren't the center of their grandkids' attention.
For us, it's more a question of the grandkids getting bored visiting with grandparents rather than the other way around. Our time together now (they are all ages 3-5) is so great because they are so attentive, and funny and interested in every thing we do. As they approach double-digits outside interests clearly begin to preoccupy them more and more as it inevitably should.

Our concern is not seeing them enough now (not retired yet, they live far away) only to find that when we have the time, they don't have the interest.

As to moving closer to them just for that reason, it's a tough question. One set just moved to northern California. If they show signs of seriously hunkering down we would consider looking there (if we can afford it). The other set is in Columbia, MO, a nice little college town but probably not a place we would otherwise consider retiring to.

One more issue: with today's job mobility you need to consider the risk of moving near the kids only to have them move on somewhere else. So for now, we wait to decide. In the end, every family unit needs to first assure their immediate happiness; if those needs can be met with other members in proximity so much the better.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 08:42 AM   #4
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

We live about 15 minutes away from our 3 grandkids. (Cassie 6, Aidan 3 and Ethan 1). I can't imagine being hours away.

When I was young my maternal grandfather lived with us and my paternal grandparents were within walking distance. I loved them as much as they loved me.

On the other hand Mrs. Zipper's grandparents lived in England. Although there was regular contact and a couple of visits over the decades she regrets not being closer.

We have another son in Vancouver and get to see him for a couple of weeks each year.

No grandchildren there yet.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 09:03 AM   #5
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Probably somewhere between 10 and 13 years of age, the kids will get tired of spending lots of time with grandparents. They will have their own friends and social lives at this point. I guess it may be a little different these days with the internet and cell phones (friends are only a call/IM away).

My parents recently made the decision to stay near their grandkids (my 2 kids and my bro's 3 kids). My parents did have plans to "move to the mountains" and build a retirement home up there about 4 hours away until the grandkids started arriving. They knew that we wouldn't visit more than 1x per month or less, and traveling back to the grandkids would soon prove a hassle. The oldest grandkid is 7 (in 1st grade) now, and he still generally likes going to grandma's house.

Things may change for my parents once the youngest grandkid starts getting close to the teenage years. Of course, there will always be kids' birthday parties, easter egg hunts, christmas, etc. to get together as a family.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 09:45 AM   #6
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

We have 9 Grandkids, ages 21 down to 8. They are located in FL (1), VA (5), OH (3). We love to see them but over the years we have seen them go to their own interests and friends at about 10 years old; some later, but generally that is the age they "find themselves". They are scattered around the country and two families are AD military so they are all subject to moving and have in the past. We did move from FL to OH to be close to those 3 and closer to the VA group. At our ages in 05 (65 and 68) it was a pretty tough time after the move. Missed the FL one a lot; tried to get closer to the OH 3 but, due to their ages, they had other interests to a much greater extent than the FL one. Remember kids adjust and if anyone has a problem adjusting to a move it will be the G-parents. After two years all is getting settled down -- I would suggest for other grandparents contemplating a move to really consider all of the impacts on everyone. Do it early, as IMO you will have more fun and they will too, if the kids are young. Hope to live to see the Great Grand-kids; that should be another whole chapter to live through.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 10:46 AM   #7
 
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Our grandkids live all around the country (CA, TX, CO, MA, FL and two in Iraq) so when we do see them it never gets boring.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 11:40 AM   #8
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
For us, it's more a question of the grandkids getting bored visiting with grandparents rather than the other way around.

That is how it is with my parents and my kids. My parents, in their 80's still drive from New England to Florida to see their only grandchildren, but once here, figuring out things we can all do is such a challenge that I have given up. the kids can't slow down and the grandparents can't keep up. On the positive note, it seems my parents are content to sit and watch the kids swim in the pool, sit and watch them put together school projects, or sit and watch them in one of their acitivites - provided we can find shade and they don't have to hike across a field to there and it isn't too hot. So, proximity is all that is needed. I just won't let the kids disappear to friends' homes when the GPs are in town.

Edit: fixed quote
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 12:32 PM   #9
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skyline
I can see how grandparents eventually will get tired of making the trip (or putting up with a less than ideal relocation) to spend time with their grandkids, only to realize that they aren't the center of their grandkids' attention.
Your statement I think reflects a narcissistic view of what a grandparent is. I think that very few of them are looking to be the center of anyone’s attention, let alone their grandchildrens’. They just want a stake in their lives- after all these kids are their main link to the future.

Ha
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 12:35 PM   #10
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Your statement I think reflects a narcissistic view of what a grandparent is. I think that very few of them are looking to be the center of anyone’s attention, let alone their grandchildrens’. They just want a stake in their lives- after all these kids are their main link to the future.
I hope so, but that hasn't been our experience.

There's a world of commitment between saying "We want to spend more time with our grandkid and watch her grow up"-- and actually spending time with the grandkid.

I say we let those crazy kids work things out for themselves-- both generations of them-- while we parents enjoy a little quality grownup's time...
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 12:50 PM   #11
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

DW's grown kids have the only grandkids so far. My kids are still single and are childless. Grandkids are ages 7-13 so it is a sure bet they will soon want to be with "their own kind" than with her (us). One set could easily be transfered at any moment to several thousand miles away. My kids may will move away in the next 3-5 years.

Our solution, currently, is to remain here for now. We will soon start the downsizing process in the house (no small task) with the goal of being able to move somewhere in 3-5 years into a house that is 1/3 or less the size of this place. Our RV trips over that period of time will allow us time to explore areas that would work for US without regard for family nearby. The only condition is that we would need to be mobile in all seasons to visit them and other family. Again, the RV should allow us to do this with the least amount of trouble.

We have no intention of following the grandkids across the country as they grow up. It will not work.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 01:09 PM   #12
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

My parents moved last summer to our side of the city in order to be closer to their only granchild (so far!). Luckily, they found their dream house.

So far, I would say it's been working out great! I went back to work last month and drop the baby off every morning with grandma since mom doesn't work and is more than happy to provide free daycare. They only live 5 minutes away but would NEVER drop by at our house unannounced (which makes DH happy).
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 05:43 PM   #13
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Your statement I think reflects a narcissistic view of what a grandparent is. I think that very few of them are looking to be the center of anyone’s attention, let alone their grandchildrens’. They just want a stake in their lives- after all these kids are their main link to the future.

Ha
Right on Ha! DW and I are delighted to help with the grandkids. In fact, I'm babysitting as I type this!
But if son and DIL needed us less and we had more freedom to travel, etc., that would be OK too.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 05:52 PM   #14
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

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Originally Posted by youbet
Right on Ha! DW and I are delighted to help with the grandkids. In fact, I'm babysitting as I type this!
But if son and DIL needed us less and we had more freedom to travel, etc., that would be OK too.
In my case it would be more than OK. I've been patiently (OK, maybe not so patiently) waiting for DW to decide the grandkids can live without her on an almost daily basis. I'm ready to travel but that's on hold until they are older.

The things some men grandmothers do for the women grandchildren they love.

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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 06:14 PM   #15
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

We live about three miles from our three grandchildren (my youngest daughter has one son, the oldest daughter has a boy and a girl) so we see them three or four times a week on average.

I know that they will eventually want to spend more time with their friends and on activities that exclude parents and grandparents by definition so we are enjoying the time with them now. I try to have lunch with my 8-year-old granddaughter at her school twice a month or so and I help coach the t-ball team of the boys (5 and 6 years old).

For us, it's about creating a few memories on both sides and doing some serious bonding with the kids. I was not particularly close to either set of my grandparents since they lived in a different state than we did. My wife, on the other hand, was very close to both sets of her grandparents and still talks about them as if they were here...I envy her.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-09-2007, 07:45 PM   #16
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

I grew up in a big Irish family. One grandmother lived with us for many years, the other g-ps I saw at least weekly. One grandfather was much older and died when I was 8, the other was almost as much in my life as my Dad. I even knew my great grandparents until they died when I was about 10.

Believe me, being able to see that your parent is also someone’s child, and that he/she feels some of the same ambivalence toward his parent that you feel toward yours-what a revelation that is!

I think it helped me see my parents as people more than as just the parental force.

It is quite different when you can drop over for a barbecue, a chat with grandma, etc. from the situation where an out of town gp visits once or twice a year and it may be heavily loaded with expectations of various sorts.

When I was a teenager I could crash at my g-mas, bring girls over, etc- because she was less uptight about teenage life than my parents were.

Ha
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-10-2007, 12:07 AM   #17
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Your statement I think reflects a narcissistic view of what a grandparent is. I think that very few of them are looking to be the center of anyone’s attention, let alone their grandchildrens’. They just want a stake in their lives- after all these kids are their main link to the future.

Ha
You are right, of course...but I guess what I'm trying to figure out is whether I should support or be ambivalent about my parents/in-laws going through painful moves (you can't imagine all the crap both sets have), leaving their friends behind, and living in an area they really dislike (they aren't city folks, and I'm definitely 'city') if they aren't getting quality time with the grandkid(s) because they have other interests that don't include the grandparents.

What I'm hearing from folks here is that that doesn't really start happening until age 7-10 or so, which is a long ways away, so maybe not such a big issue.

(The selfish side of me also worries about getting stuck entertaining them or keeping them busy if they aren't enjoying themselves because the grandkids are off playing with their friends. I like my parents and in-laws, but don't like the idea of spending too much time with them)

Thanks for everyone's feedback,
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-10-2007, 08:39 PM   #18
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

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(The selfish side of me also worries about getting stuck entertaining them or keeping them busy if they aren't enjoying themselves because the grandkids are off playing with their friends. I like my parents and in-laws, but don't like the idea of spending too much time with them)
You're absolutely right to be worrying about that...
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-10-2007, 08:46 PM   #19
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

Once the grandkids enter their teenager years, they will let you know if/when they're bored.
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?
Old 05-11-2007, 04:10 AM   #20
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Re: How many years before grandparents tire of chasing grandkids?

I love seeing my grandson but I'm glad they don't live in town. I have no interest in babysitting on a regular basis; I raised my kids and now its time for me and DH. I'd never consider moving where they live.
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