Ko wai koe? Who are you?
Are you a Grandpa, Pop, Nana, Grandad, Kuikui, Māmā or Koro? Or maybe you’re Grandma, Pōua, Vouvou, Whaea, Nanny or just plain Jimmy?
Right around the country, from iwi to iwi, from family to family our grandparents are known by a variety of different names. What we call them is as diverse as our experiences of being grandparented or of grand-parenting.
On the first Sunday in October we celebrate Grandparent’s Day here in Aotearoa. It’s a day for all of us to acknowledge and thank our tīpuna for their time, energy, love and guidance. Either 'by blood or by love', the children who have interested and caring grandparents in their lives are very lucky.
The changing landscape of grandparents
Sometimes grandparents are portrayed as white haired and elderly but that’s not always the case. The reality is just like the names we refer to them as, grandparents come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and ages!
Some may have waited for many years to welcome mokopuna, while others becoming Nana and Koro may have come as quite a surprise! However, by the time the initial shock has worn off, most of us will have fallen in love with the latest addition to our whānau.
There are definite advantages of being a grandparent compared to a parent:
- You’ve learned a thing or two already about raising kids
- With experience you see more clearly what’s really important for kids and what’s not
- You can be in a better position financially or have more free time to be involved with them
- You can do a lot more of the ‘fun’ stuff and leave the harder jobs for dad and mum!
In some cases, grandparents don’t have that luxury and are actually ‘parenting’ their mokopuna fulltime, when their own parents are unable to. Fulltime care of grandchildren can come with multiple challenges and sacrifices being made. But it can also bring many joys as well. Some grandparents have shared that parenting their grandkids helps to keep them young and on their toes!
But when it does get too tough and the struggles seem overwhelming finding help is so important and the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust is a great place to start. Their message is
‘If you’re a grandparent raising grandchildren, you’re not alone. We can help you.’