Ten things all grandfathers of girls should remember 54



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A granddaughter who loves her “pa” “granddad” or “pop” can do so as a child with the most beautiful warmth. Then they become teenagers or pre-teens, and, frankly, I loathe to see the grandfathers pull back, not quite knowing how to communicate. I feel sad when I see a grandfather sitting across from a teen or pre-teen granddaughter and can’t quite work out how to reach her.

As so many of us know either through having a terrific grandpa, or being one, grandfathering girls is a wonderful thing. They smile when you love them, they smile when you teach them and they share, perhaps more than boys do, if you can stay in their hearts as they get older. But your relationship changes, it has to for you to stay close as they get older, and I have a few tips I want to share from watching my own 67 year old father adapt to being a great granddad of girls! He’s quite open about his learnings.

Young girls want you to love them. They do want to grow up, be bought bigger girl things and go out, but more important than that – they want to feel the love you have to share with them. If you got to know your granddaughter as a younger girl, don’t forget to keep in touch with her and don’t shrink back as she gets older which it is all too easy to do.

Be the patriarch she will remember forever. I’m sure I instinctively used the values instilled in me in my early life by my grandfather to select my husband. It is amazing how much opportunity you have if you take it to teach her about how to be treated by others, by men, and how to treat others and love them.

Take the time to be part of her pop-culture. Young girls today are, just like we were in every generation before us, fascinated with their own pop culture, not yours. My dad has worked this out, and strives to stay one step ahead of the big topics of conversation for 10-14 year old girls. He knows who Taylor Swift is, listens to pop music with the kids on their iPods, takes them to the movies on the holidays to see the latest animated film and seeks out things they think are cool…

Encourage her to be active. There are some things that cannot be taught by parents anywhere near as successfully as they can be taught by a grandparent and how not to be too precious is one. My grandfather encouraged outdoor activities extensively in our early lives, and didn’t let us give up, wimp out or treat us like “girls”. We played cricket, went fishing and got dirty. It wasn’t all princesses and fairies. I love that.

Make times to remember and teach her to create memories. As the patriarch, you can take the role on of the person who thinks up awesome memories to create. That is, if you want awesome things for you and her to remember. People don’t remember the things that they did every day, that become ordinary. They remember special times, traditions and emotive moments and they use these memories all the way through their life when they need them for motivation, reflection or happiness. So help her learn to make memories early in life.

Teach her about generosity and show her the world doesn’t revolve around her. It is easy to fall into the trap of giving our grandkids so much attention that they think the world revolves around them, but that doesn’t teach them the beautiful power of generosity and how wonderful it is to give time, effort and care to others. Teach your granddaughters how much fun life can be when you give, serve, share and listen… and let them learn not to be right or first all the time.

Be there. You might not like her dance concerts, but if you think it is important to her, you might want to consider being there… And not with the headphones on listening to the football. Then she’ll know you’re really there “for her”.

Play with her. Just because she gets older doesn’t mean she wont look forward to a good old game or challenge with you. Challenge her thoughts, debate current affairs, play a board game, set her a challenge, solve a riddle together or have an adventure. I bet she’ll love it.

Go out with her. Have you ever considered booking a date with your granddaughter… just you and her? You could go for sushi, have a milkshake, go for a walk at the beach or any number of other ideas. Even if you have never done it before… consider it. Imagine what sort of memories it could create for you and for her.

Don’t forget she’ll grow up. These years are for treasuring. You’ll blink and just like your daughters and sons she’ll be all grown up and these days and opportunities will be gone… Don’t wait until it is too late.


What do you think is the most important thing a grandfather can teach his granddaughter? Tell us your thoughts below.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. As many children today have absent fathers, it is increasingly important for “pop” to be a good and constant male role model. A special job with wonderful rewards……

  2. Beautiful article Rebecca. Having raised 5 sons, we were not geared for the girls as they came along. What a joy the journey has been for us and especially my husband, who never had a sister either. Now with 8 granddaughters and 1 great granddaughter, he has found a whole different side to life and the girls love him. What a shame that all but one of them live so far away from us.

  3. Fantastic advice, I never had a Grandfather to grow up with, it fills my heart with warmth when I see my husband interact with his two granddaughters 3 and 5 they love him. They are a gift to us as we never had a daughter to cherish.

  4. My granddaughters still speak about their love for Gramps and the happy times past. As a family we have a special day to get together to celebrate his life. They would not miss it.

  5. My 2 grandchildren would have had so much fun with my cheeky husband. Unfortunately they never got to meet him.

  6. Lorraine I didn’t have a Grandfather to grow up with either one died before I was old enough to remember him and the other when I was eight however I have one or two sweet memories of him. My husband is an exceptional Grandfather “Pop” to his grandchildren, (one whom lives in the US ) the two boys love to rough and tumble with him the youngest has Autism and my husband seems to relate so beautifully with him. The three oldest are girls just like we had. The oldest is 14 and loves a cuddle and hug still when they meet even if it is in public. The other day the youngest was home sick so he popped in with a bunch of flowers. The middle one just openly adores him and always has. They also have a wonderful father who knows just how to make them feel special but also pull in the reins lovingly. He has these special little ( plastic) jewels which he gives them as bravery gifts when he has to remove a splinter or fix a scrape. What a man!! I am so proud to have him as a son in law. Together both father and Grandfather bless the lives of the girls immensely making beautiful memories. Xxx

  7. Fantastically well written and so relevant. Sometimes it does take an effort for my hubby to do some of the things she wants but he usually tries and is so happy he did.

  8. You have just described my husbands relationship with his granddaughters! He adores them, and they him and they have all left school except one and the close relationship continues. The four of them are a joy to us both. Mind you a close relationship with our grandsons is also there.

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