Crossing The Generations

How good is the relationship between your parents and your kids? The Saturday Early Show's adolescence counselor, Mike Riera, has some tips on nurturing a bond that crosses the generations.

Grandparents often see their grandchildren more objectively than the parents can. They aren't as concerned that they do well in school, they don't have to make them do their homework every night, and don't have to discipline them. In other words, grandparents can simply have fun with their grandchildren and acknowledge who they are. They can be the kind of parents they always wanted to be.

If you have a question for Mike Riera about dealing with your teen, send an email to with "Ask Mike" in the subject line. Or write to "Ask Mike" The Saturday Early Show, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019. Your question may be featured on future shows.
Some teens can talk to their grandparents more openly than to their parents. They may feel that there are no judgements. It is important for parents not to get jealous of this relationship. Adolescents often need to talk about the many changes in their lives, and a grandparent who has gone through it and seen the parent go through it can be an excellent resource.

Grandparents also help kids see where their parents came from. It can even be good for kids to see their parents struggle with their own parents. They will see that conflict is a normal part of the parent-child relationship.

What about grandparents who are involved in the childrens' lives from day to day? If they are an integral part of raising and disciplining the children, it is important to have open communication with them on how you expect your children to behave and what the consequences are to be when the kids don't do what they are told.

Just as fathers need to be alone with kids to bond with them, grandparents need to have time alone with their grandchildren, too. If grandparents live far away it is still important to nurture the relationship. Make a book of photos of them so your children will feel close to them despite the physical distance. And there is always the phone. A call from a grandchild can make a grandparent's day.