The idea of this website is to provide a useful resource for grandparents. This won't happen without your help, so we encourage you to join in.
We see it as a Social Enterprise: a not-for-profit website, dedicated to helping each other and fostering a sense of community.
The more of us who join in, the more help we'll be to each other and who knows where this website might lead…..? We hope it'll grow organically, but we'll be here to nurture it and help it along.
So please tell us what being a grandparent means to you, join in the chat, and send us your views/opinions and tips on everything to do with being a grandparent.
Dilys Morgan and Michael Barratt
Michael began his career as a print journalist before moving into radio and television. He’s probably best known for his work as a reporter on Panorama (in the 60’s) and as main presenter of Nationwide, the immensely popular teatime television programme, on BBC One for eight years. He also chaired Gardeners’ Question Time on Radio 4 for five years and fronted Reporting London for Thames Television during the 80’s. His main line of work now is as a Communications Consultant.
Dilys began her career in radio working for VSO in Fiji followed by the NZBC in New Zealand. Returning to the UK she worked for BBC Radio London in its early days, then Woman’s Hour and the World Service. She co-presented various BBC children’s television programmes in the early 1970’s…..including Search and Record Breakers before joining Nationwide in 1975. Since then she’s trained as a counsellor and has spent the last 20 years counselling and writing Advice Columns as an agony aunt.
DILYS ON BEING A GRANDPARENT
We met on Nationwide in 1975 and married in 1977…..and because of the big age difference between us we had the unusual experience of his first grandchildren arriving at the same time as our own children. At the time, we were so involved with our own babies and toddlers that we didn’t feel we experienced grandparenting properly. Michael’s offspring and children would visit and the babies and toddlers would play, but we certainly didn’t have the time to babysit or mind them nor the chance, therefore to observe them at close quarters and watch each development.
So it wasn’t until 3 years ago when our first joint grandchild arrived that we really experienced what a delight it can be. My first thoughts/feelings on becoming a grandparent were that I was bowled over by the love I felt for him; and amazed that it could be such fun having a little addition to the family. Being of a naturally sunny nature, he brought us all such a lot of laughter and joy that he lit up our lives. Since then we’ve had another delightful little boy, who, at 17 months is much more serious and not so immediately smiley. But when the smiles come they melt your heart, and he has the most wonderful belly laugh!
I’ve never liked that old cliché: ‘the great thing about grand-children is that you can give them back’ and now I think I know why. Obviously they can be exhausting , and so sometimes, yes, it may be a relief to be handing them back again to the parents. But I think that the real boon of being a grand-parent is that we don’t have the burden of feeling totally responsible for them. Clearly we’re responsible for them when they’re in our care, but we don’t have to worry about the whole of their lives, we don’t feel responsible for how their future turns out. We just feel we can give them a good time when they’re with us – and let their parents worry about the rest!
We'd love to hear what being a grandparent means to you: there's a forum on this subject in the chat section - so please let us know.
MICHAEL ON BEING A GRANDPARENT…….
For me, being a grandparent means getting a lot more cuddles and hugs in my life!
I suppose it’s because I’m from an earlier generation than many grandparents – or because I’m a no-nonsense Yorkshireman – but whatever the reason, since they’ve become young men, I found it difficult to display physical affection to my sons. Dilys berates me for this, but I think the boys understand (and even approve!) when I don’t kiss them when we meet.
However, I’ve grown out of those old-fashioned ways and now find it easy and natural to kiss and cuddle our grandsons whenever we’re together. They show their affection, too by coming for a hug, to sit on my knee, or as the youngest is learning to offer me his lips to rub up against mine!
I wonder how long it will last. Will the kissing stop when they grow to manhood (i.e. about four years old!) “Don’t be so soppy, Grandpa. Men don’t kiss!”.
What I do hope, however, is that we don’t lose a sense of humour that allows us to make fun of each other: In my book, that’s an essential ingredient of the fully developed man – or woman.
So I’m very happy when they greet me – egged on by the rest of the family – with a chuckling “Hello. Grumpy Grandpa!”.
The kissing may have to stop – but I hope the leg-pulling never does.
Part of our reasoning for establishing the website is that young parents today have lots of sources of advice and information. They have forums for advice online and plenty of books written by gurus with strong opinions! And many parents today follow those regimes to the letter.
This can be disconcerting for our generation who didn’t have the internet, and were more inclined, I feel, to develop our own parenting styles through a mixture of reading, listening to our mothers, and gut instinct. For those of us who are BABY-BOOMERS, and for others young enough to feel it's only yesterday we brought up our own families, it may come a bit hard to find our advice isn’t sought. So another point of this website is to offer us all the chance to offload, to share our own views in a private place away from the eyes and ears of our own children, to let off steam sometimes, and to cry for help at other times. It seems to me inevitable that as grandparents we have to follow the routines and regimes implemented by the parents. We can't have their children to stay and then ignore everything they enforce at home.
But you may not agree – you may decide to employ your own rules in your own home. And I'm sure we can all learn from each other's advice and experience.
I've noticed that my fellow grandparents are very discreet. We never mention the grandchildren unless asked; we're conscious that others may find our tales of grandchildren's exploits boring. However, once we're together with another set of grandparents, we seem to have masses of notes to compare and stories to swap. So this is the point of the website: so we can share the highs – and lows – of grandparenting.
I'm sure there's loads to debate about some of the regimes imposed on babies and toddlers today. I'd love to know what you think of the naughty step, for example? And whether you favour strict regimes or a baby-led routine?
All subjects are up for grabs…so do go to 'Chat' and join in!