What Kind of Grandparent do you Want to Be?

Are you wondering what kind of grandparent you will be? The good news is that you get to choose! Look at these three options to guide your steps.

When we become grandparents we get to choose a new identity. We pick a name for ourselves. We launch a new relationship with a very special little person. And we get to figure out the kind of grandparent we want to be.

When our first grandson, Adam, was born, I didn’t know what grandparenthood would do to me. I just knew I had a new role in a new person’s life that was going to be important to me.

It didn’t take long to recognize that there are different kinds of grandparents.

Dr. Josh Mulvihill describe three kinds of grandparents: detached, passive and active.

Which Kind of Grandparent do you Want to Be?

1. Detached Grandparents Foster Independence

Detached grandparents fostered independence in their children which often leads now to emotional distance. Grandparents become remote figures in the family’s life.

2. Passive Grandparents Keep Their Distance

Passive grandparents are careful to keep their distance. They don’t press for more time, and they may feel burdened by the responsibilities of being a grandparent. But they feel the role is rewarding.

Just over half of grandparents are detached or passive. They generally see their grandchildren about once a month.

The other half are active grandparents.

3. Active Grandparents Spend Time

Active grandparents spend a lot of time with grandkids, have a positive view of grandparenting, and they gently share their opinions. They typically spend time with their grandchildren about once a week. 

Here’s the word that describes how you can have more impact in their lives: time.

If you want to impact your grandchildren, spend more time with them. For your grandchildren, love equals time together.

An Easy Way to Spend More Time with your Grandchildren

And that’s why God invented smart phones…

More than one grandparent I know spends time with their out-of-town grandchildren on FaceTime. 

I hang out with our three-year-old granddaughter, Arwen, on her mom’s iPhone.  She carries me around the house talking about whatever her little three-year-old mind wants to tell me. 

Those few minutes don’t feel very important, but I’m establishing in her little heart, I hope, that I’m someone who listens to whatever she wants to tell me.

To recap what kind of grandparent do you want to be:

  1. Detached grandparents foster independence.
  2. Passive grandparents keep their distance.
  3. Active grandparents spend time.
Whatever kind of grandparent you are, you are not alone.

What’s Next?

Pray with me:
Lord, help me become the kind of grandparent you want me to be. I think you want me to invest in my grandkids. And I want to spend time with them. Show me how to do that in my family, in our circumstances. I give my time to you. Help me spend it well with my grandchildren. Amen.


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