The Reluctant Grandparent

I know it’s Wordless Wednesday but I’m just too full of words today to be silent…..maybe next week.

One of my favorite things about the Internet (other than having my own blog) is that I get to meet new and interesting people almost every day. This week I met a mom (mum) from London who has her own blog called Her name is Janine and she has a beautiful daughter and a great blog. I wrote her and asked if she’d ever written about grandparents and she sent me this column.  Thanks, Janine!

The Reluctant Grandparent

Janine Clements

Despite the fact I waited until I was 34 until having a child, both my parents thought they were far too young to become grandparents (they are fairly young as grandparents go). I can’t imagine what would have happened if I’d been 20!

My mother, although a very good grandmother, is a little eccentric. Right from the start refused to be called Granny, Grandma or any other traditional names, (she thinks it sounds too grown-up and boring). Instead for the first year of my daughter’s life, she was nameless. For twelve months, if not longer, she tried and tested names ranging from Ra Ra to Mad Deb. Neither my husband or I warmed to any of her suggestions.

I think deciding what to be called can be a tricky issue for both parents and grandparents. Grandparents should get the right to choose, shouldn’t they? But if it’s something too off the wall, then the parents could find using their chosen name a bit awkward. Also what will the child think when they are older and at school?

If you feel strongly about their suggestion, then it’s probably best to discuss it with them as tactfully as possible, so you avoid offending anyone.

Quite often the child will decide. When they’re young and can’t say Grandma or Grandpa, they might choose something totally different. I called one set of grandparents Mama and Papa.

In the end my mother settled on Grand-Deb, although my little one actually calls her Deb. It’s trendy to call your parent by their first name, so perhaps she is setting a new trend.

Anyone else have parents that were reluctant grandparents and call themselves something unusual?

Janine Clements

I’m a London mum, freelance journalist and mummy blogger. My two biggest passions are travelling and writing. I’m trying to be the best mum possible to my beautiful two year old daughter, although I don’t alway get it right!

My blog is all about life as a modern day mum, stories, news, top tips, best (and worst) products, advice and opinions, shopping, holidays and travel with young children, and more.

One More Thing Before I Go…. I decided to try and find out what the average age of a new grandparent is these days. The following information came from

  • The average age of becoming a grandparent is around 47.
  • The average age of grandparents is around 64.
  • The average grandparent has six grandchildren.
  • About 77% of grandparents are married.
  • About half are still working.
  • A slight majority, 54%, have at least some college education.
  • About 6% of grandparents have a grandchild living in their home.
  • Parents are not present in around 43% of those homes.
  • About 15 % provide day care for grandchildren in their home.
  • More than half of grandparents help with grandchildren’s educational expenses.
  • A little less than half of grandparents help with grandchildren’s living expenses.
  • A quarter of grandparents help pay for medical or dental care for their grandchildren.
  • More than half of all grandparents believe they play a very important role in their grandchildren’s lives.

What do your grandchildren call you? Did you come up with your name or did they? Let us know!


  1. Our granddaughter, 20 months, calls us grandma and grandpa, sometimes. Later, it’s been out of ear shot…after we leave, she says “grandpa, grandma go bye-bye”. It’ll come eventually. There’s so much to see and do now at her stage of life.

  2. I had my daughter’s babies call me Sweetheart.

  3. teresak 30 Jun, 2012

    Awww, how precious!