Wednesday, March 2, 2016


What is so great about being a grandparent? The most common retort I have heard to that question is that you can spoil them rotten and then hand them back to their (soon to be frazzled) parents! Whenever I hear someone say that, it seems like they really mean it. I wonder how many of us are guilty of spoiling our grandkids, just because we can?

I don’t think it is spoiling a grandchild to give them most of your attention while they are at your place. After all, you want to make the most of being together. I don’t think it is spoiling your grandchild to take them on adventures or vacations that perhaps their parents haven’t the time or the money to be able to do.

Spoiling means, for many grandparents, not setting any boundaries and allowing their grandchildren to do anything they want, and to have anything they want when they are in charge. In other words, you never say, ‘No!’ It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting your grandkids to love you by being their ‘sugar granny’. However, spoiling them can lead to them becoming disrespectful, demanding and selfish because they think the whole world revolves around them, and you are their servant!

What makes you a ‘great’ grandparent? 

It's important to display your unconditional love, not by giving them stuff, but by giving them hugs and kisses, letting them know that they are special, listening to their stories, going to their school and sports functions and generally having fun with them. The more physically fit you are the more you can offer them in the way of hiking, riding, boisterous play, fishing and taking them places. Even if you have a physical disability, a child will gravitate toward you if you make real eye contact, hold their hand, talk to them lovingly, ask them about their interests and help them learn some of the things that maybe their parents haven’t been able to teach them.

What do you want you grandchildren to remember about you? 

Here are some of the responses my grandparent friends gave me:

1. That I valued each grandchild equally and unconditionally. They knew they could always count
    on me for love, good advice, time and adventure.
2. That I accepted them for who they were and that I encouraged them in their hopes and dreams.
    They knew I loved them dearly and that love was not diminished by their behavior. Their
    behavior was addressed when necessary.
3. That I was a positive role model. My positive outlook was an inspiration to them and the memories
    we built together would last their lifetime.
4. They loved their visits to my home. They had fun, loved my food and got spoiled occasionally!
5. I made them feel safe and secure emotionally and physically. I was consistent in my love and my
    discipline and I kept my word.
6. I took the time to listen. I shared their joys and comforted them in times of trouble, fear or
    disappointment, no matter how big or small I might have considered it.
7. They learned from me about faith in God. They observed my life and my relationship with God
    as being real.
8. They remembered the teachable moments, learned how to make things, and let me include them in      my baking and sewing projects. I hope they appreciated the times I helped them make wise

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families and friends.


                     The above sign was placed in the drop off area outside the front of a school.

Let's face it, many parents have taken their kid's lunch to school so they wouldn't be hungry, or taken their homework because they didn't want their child to be in trouble with the teacher.

It starts there, but often doesn't end there!  We are not talking about the occasional brain fart our kids might have, but rather, the fact that they learn to rely on us because they know we will come and save them from the consequences of their poor memory, lack of organizational skills or lack of attention.

It doesn't begin and end with trips to school to save kids' butts.  It leaches out into every area of their lives because they soon learn to rely on us for every convenience that their self-centered existence blossom!


The root of the problem is that these parents are not expecting or teaching their children to take responsibility for their own lives and their own stuff.  We don't ever want to hear the words, "Well, you didn't remind me," or, "But that is your job, Mom or Dad!"  They need to learn from a very young age that life consists of 'give' as well as 'take' and that facing consequences helps mature them.

One summer break my husband, Brian, worked for a friend in his cabinet-making shop.  Andrew had built up a business producing high-end kitchen and bathroom cabinets.  He believed his business was booming.  He had two brothers-in-law working for him.  Matt was a partner in the business, also acting as the company accountant/office manager, while the other worked in the factory.

Not long after going back to his regular school job at the end of the summer vacation, Brian received a phone call from Andrew to say that he was going out of business.  Astounded, he asked why.  He was told that his partner, Matt, in whom he had put a lot of trust, had not paid the company taxes for three years and now the IRS wanted $40,000.  Andrew was totally devastated!  That meant that he and Matt owed $20,000 each.

Andrew didn't have that sort of money, so he decided to sell as much of the equipment as he could to recoup some money to help pay the debt.  Machinery worth well over $100,000 was sold for peanuts.  He was looking now for new employment.

How does this true story relate to the subject?  Matt didn't have the money to pay his portion of the debt either, so his father bailed him out.  The problem here is that Andrew's father-in-law had regularly bailed his boys out of trouble and they never learned to be mature, independent men and bare the consequences of their own foolishness.  They always knew that daddy would come to their rescue.

This is what can happen when we start rescuing our children early in their lives.  It often doesn't stop there and parents end up bewildered and wonder where they went wrong.  Don't be a 'Coast-Guard parent' eager to come to your kids' rescue whenever they raise their hand.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess, Forefront Families


There are four important keys to getting the best from your teens.   


Present a united family front built on strong family values. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and model the expectations you require of your kids.


Nurture a strong two-way connection with your kids.  Spend time with each individual child so they feel they can talk to you about their stuff - good and bad.  Teach them to make wise choices and be proactive in preparing them for the many situations that might present in their teens.


You can't be encouraging if you don't really know what makes your kids 'tick', floats their boat, or gets them excited.  When they find what they are really good at they will pursue it with your encouragement and involvement.  When they are experiencing success, they will be much less likely to be led down a potentially destructive path.  Keep them busy.  Get them outdoors in the fresh air.  Less time staring at their hand-held devices and more in using their energy and their brains, makes for a much healthier lifestyle and outlook on life. 


Kids are much more inclined to do great things when YOU do.  They see your excitement at achieving high goals and they naturally want to experience that same kind of satisfaction for themselves.  Life is not over at 40, 50 or 60.  If we learn how to set and reach goals for ourselves, we can pass on the same skills to our kids.

Speaking from personal experience, I can honestly say, I have achieved far greater heights than I would have ever dreamed possible.  This opened the eyes of our children who, in turn, have discovered their strong points and their purpose, and are also flying high with excitement for theirs and their children's futures.

Check out our website for more insights into effective parenting:

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families