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Aug. 26, 2021

Episode 34. Supporting Our Children to Help Them Be Better Parents

Episode 34. Supporting Our Children to Help Them Be Better Parents

Gramps Jeffrey, a grandfather of six and the author of the children’s book, I Don’t Want to be 3! also is the author of a business book, The Secrets of Retailing...How to Beat Walmart.

This week’s guest is Gramps Jeffrey, a grandfather of six and the author of the children’s book, I Don’t Want to be 3! He also is the author of a business book, The Secrets of Retailing…How to Beat Walmart. He wrote the book to help entrepreneurs and small businesses compete against the big guys. He has written more than 100 articles for the Huffington Post about small businesses, education, the homeless and nonprofit organizations.

Gramps Jeffrey. Welcome to the Adventures with Grammy podcast. Please tell us about your writing journey and why you wrote your children’s book.


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you are going to create a bond with these kids like no other and it's in support of your kids that's what you're
really doing you're supporting your kids to be better parents take advantage of that just enjoy the moment because you
never know how long it's gonna last welcome to the adventures with grammy podcast i am your host carolyn berry
this podcast is for grandparents on the go with their grandchildren and for parents who want to ensure loving
relationships across the generations i welcome your input and your feedback
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this week's guest is gramps jeffrey a grandfather of six and the author of
the children's book i don't want to be three he also is the author of a business book
the secrets of retailing how to beat walmart he wrote the book to help entrepreneurs
and small businesses compete against the big guys he also has written more than a hundred
articles for the huffington post about small business education the
homeless and non-profit organizations gramps jeffrey welcome to
the adventures with grammy podcast please tell us about your writing
journey and why you wrote your children's book
this is uh this is really the second book i wrote my first book was a business book uh called
the secrets of retailing how to beat walmart book that we're talking about today is my second book and i wrote it
for my grandkids is really why i wrote well the title of the book is i don't want to turn three
and the reason i wrote this book is you know living this past year because of the pandemic
uh caused by the covenant 19 and isolation except for you know being with the family gave me special time to watch
and interact with all the grandkids and i'm telling you what a trip when you when you actually spend the time to
interact with all the grandkids you know i've got six grandkids and they all completely have completely different
kinds of personalities the one thing that they do have in common is a sense of curiosity this is really
what drove me to uh to write this book the sense of curiosity and how excited they got when they accomplished
something new you know they really look at me look what i did you know watching them grow
year to year and how they interact with each other really is the basis
for the book what goes through a toddler's mind what you know when you're two and three years old what are they
thinking what are you know why are they reacting that way uh when does a toddler understand the difference between me and
us uh it's very uh anybody's grandkids knows the old it's about me when they're
two years old this explores this book how how finally the family comes
together and figures all that out you know as a baby boomer trying to understand how the world he's evolved
since i was uh three years old is also a part of the story you think about it
my parents didn't have cell phones they didn't have the internet they didn't have remotes they didn't
have cable tv in fact i can still remember when my my dad
said that i uh go change the channel because i became the remote you know when you're a kid that's what you do you
go up you change the channel you're the remote of the uh 50s and 60s and 70s
you know my my parents definition of discipline is quite different i think than the parents of today as
today's world made it for a better place for children to grow up i'll let you uh answer that and all the other
grandparents of today you know as you weigh how they were treated we were treated compared to
how the kids are treated today the real reason i wrote this book is i wanted to read it to these grandkids
and their reaction to me has been invaluable you know as you watch them understand jordan's jordan's the
main character in the book discovery of right versus wrong and jordan is the one who's turning from two
to three you can see the older kids you know gone through the same dilemma
you can see the younger kids don't quite understand the concept of sharing and getting along
and so this whole experience for me has been priceless so to sum it up that's why i wrote this book i love that
jordan thinks everything is mine and how the older kids cope with that
and you have an interesting question at what age does one begin to take
responsibility for his or her actions and that seems to be a theme throughout
your book you know when you think about it when when do we take responsibilities is it we're three
years old is that when it happens is it uh is it 13 is it 23 or maybe in some cases it's 63.
uh you know you and i are about the same age so hopefully we're starting to take you know
responsibility for the actions that we are doing but that that's key to it you know it keeps
going back to we were growing up and i take a look at i think about how my
parents disciplined me and and did what i do today versus what my i see
my kids doing to theirs i mean i remember when i was uh you know growing up i was scared to
death in my father i mean his discipline was he had a belt
and he had a paddle you know the paddle was his fraternity paddle and he you know if
we got out of line he came looking for us in fact i remember one late fall day
my brother larry and i decided that we've had enough of this paddle so we took the paddle out and we
buried it in the pile of the leaves and then it snowed the next week and then the next year when the snow melted
the paddle was gone and to me that was a miracle kids kids kids don't you know my kids don't paddle
their kids anymore you know they don't run around the kitchen table with a belt it's a whole different world of how you
handle that is it better is it worse yeah i guess we're all the judge of that
my mother would make us go out to the tree and get a switch so we had to go out and get our own weapon that was
going to be used against us and my dad had a belt but i was the definition of miss goody
two shoes so i didn't get into trouble very often and i only remember one time my father
ever hitting me and it was mostly talking to me and i i didn't want to
disappoint my parents and as you were talking about being afraid of your dad i look back and i think well maybe in a
way i was a bit afraid of him but i think it was more that i didn't want to disappoint them
and with my own children my husband and i were not spankers i think we took
a more gentle approach to kids and i'm happy to see that my kids
my own children are modeling that type of discipline with their own children as
well two of my kids live here in arizona with me i mean through the grandkids two live in austin texas and two live in
in orlando florida and i was lucky enough this past week to have the two from uh austin in here one of them which
celebrated his birthday he turned four luckily you know there's a time off in the summer so we were able to have the
other two here so we had four kids in the house all last week and you're right
i think we learn at least i learned from my parents that's not the way to raise kids you've got to give them a chance to
understand stuff and i saw that through my my uh kids today this last week
because both of the uh the two-year-old and four-year-old
they were in timeout and that's how they explain it to him they move on when they when they see them going off the wall
and getting crazy they actually move them over to timeout
and you can see that over time this has worked because nobody wants to be in timeout nobody wants to be all by
themselves until they apologize um so that's the new way to do it and i'm all
for that i think it fosters that sense of curiosity we have to allow children
to be children and children are going to not tell us the truth sometimes and
children are going to do things that disappoint us if we are harsh with the children
then i think that's when the curiosity begins to wane because they are a little afraid
to explore their world and i think we need to say to the children as you do in
the book everything is not yours you have to respect other people's property
and you can't take your cousin's ballet slippers only through conversation and
helping them learn right from wrong through talking
is the way of fostering that sense of community that sense of curiosity
and an acceptance of other people's rights and i think that is what helps
young children begin to learn right from wrong yeah and also along with as long as
we're talking about books benefit of reading to children is just immense because it kind of
reinforces just about everything you said you know kind of say well why should you read the children well you
know one of the reasons is it's a good bonding experience you know it's a great way for a mother
grandmother and grandfather to to spend time with their kids and so
one of the reasons you should read and read my book but read all kinds of other books too of course is
because unless you spend the children the time together it helps make the kids feel secure and again i saw this last
week you know when it was bedtime they wanted to read books they said mine was a favorite but i think they did that
because i'm the gramps but they always were picking out books to read they like that whole bonding before
they went to bed and even during the day they would pick a book up and then do that you know another reason to to make
sure your kids are reading books uh and with you is it supports the listening skills you know
and that's the key you can see it when they're one two three four five years old they've got to get to them and tell them
and to teach them to listen um you know so reading a book requires them to listen
and find some focus to do that you know and and that that's that's good for that so that's another reason why
you should always be pushing to read read with your kids because it helps support that whole
listening thing and the listening skills are really what gets you through life when it comes down to it you know
another reason that they should you should be reading to your uh kids is
because it helps the language development the cognitive development you know helps expand the
variety and the number of words that they learn or they hear and i see that
you know like for instance with my book the eight-year-old last week was reading
it to the two three and five-year-old and you could just see
that it was helping her as much it was helping them and so it was helping her to understand
a lot of the words that were in the books and then she actually when the kids asked her she explained it to him
so this whole cognitive and language development you know it's important for us all and you know then grandparents
should be taking the lead on this to to make sure that we're always reading books you know at all kinds of levels to
the kids and almost almost a day age you know and then the the fourth reason that i see that you
know you got to keep reading the kids is to create that attention span again when you're when you're a little kid you go
from one thing to the other but if you can get them to create an extension attention span for
10 minutes 15 minutes you know this key concentration self-discipline skills
they go on for a long time for these kids so i encourage any of your listeners to make an extra effort to
read books to kids because over time it will make a difference in their
development and back on the conversation about guidance and discipline
reading books that are social stories like your book and some others
is a way of helping children learn about
appropriate behavior without grandparents or parents preaching to them because they can see themselves in
these characters and think oh maybe i shouldn't do that or maybe i should act like this other character and not jordan
and take all of my cousins things so i think reading is definitely important i
certainly did it with my kids and with my grandchildren when i have the opportunity but i think also
social stories are good for helping shape behavior but also children have an
amazing capacity to comprehend the spoken word so as you're reading to
a child even if it is a book that is not written for toddlers a more complex
book they can still start to understand and appreciate
just the language and be exposed to a variety of vocabulary you talk about
developing their cognitive skills the difference between a child who is who grows up in a house
without literature and a child who grows up with a rich literary environment is 40 to 50 000
words and that makes such a difference when they're entering school well yeah
in fact you know as you're sitting down to read to the children you know you
should ask them a few questions like before you read you know you can say to the uh to your grandkids you know what
do you think is going to happen in this book i mean that's that helps them start to think about you know what and then do that
before you even start to read this here's the title of the book what do you think is going to happen
uh you know and then as you're doing the reading you know you reinforce you can ask them because
you want to get them participatory you want to make sure that the intentions attention span keeps going so you want to get them involved in questions and so
forth you can ask them you know who are the characters in the book
who are they tell me about what you're what you're hearing you know where is the setting where is this happening
isn't it happening at home is it a fantasy you know it's good to get them involved during
the reading of the book and then you know you can always ask them does anything in the book seem familiar to
you do you can you relate to this does this happen in your head in your mind in your life
um you know so while you're reading the book you should interact and keep keep the conversation
going and then when you're done reading the book you're always asking what was your favorite part why was that your most favorite part the
reading of books just isn't just reading and telling it's you got to get them to interact and the more you do that you'll
you'll find that they want to hear more books and then you know they'll go out and pick out the books that look interesting to them everything that you
just said can also be applied to the classroom learning one of the hallmarks
of learning is setting a purpose for reading when children have experienced
that in their homes in the lapse of gramps or grandma nana then when they get into the classroom
they have ingrained in them already that i have to know what the purpose of this
book is and what is the purpose of my reading it and it helps them transition
into learning so all of the tips that you just gave our listeners can be applied to classroom learning as
well yeah i guess you know was every moment of of life and living for these little kids
is a classroom you know and you're the guy and the more you can guide them the
better but i gotta tell you when you reach our age you know and you got all these little kids running around you
know last week i couldn't wait till they took their naps so i could take a nap because it it wears you out
you know yeah last week i was in the outer banks of north carolina surrounded
by six grandchildren who all were tugging on me and wanted me to go play in the pool
to go in the ocean with them and to play tic-tac-toe and
i had to somewhat set a schedule because i couldn't interact with all six of them at one time
and because of the age differences but i know exactly what you were talking about and by the time it was bedtime i was one
of the first ones to sleep so yeah i feel like i'm on vacation now
they all wanted to come home with me but i wasn't able to bring them home this week but i will see them again in a
couple of weeks that's great one of the things on your website you talk about
a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset and that brings us back to that
curiosity thing so can you tell us what the difference is and why a growth mindset is so
important learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience and that's
the growth mindset versus a fixed mindset as you go into what we conceive notions the way that you can foster a
growth mindset in kids it's important for you to kind of explain to them and again as little where they are they want
to understand this but as they get older four five six seven they start to understand this is the brain works like
a muscle you know that it can grow through hard work so the more you exercise your brain
just like if you're uh you know in your 20s and you're lifting weights uh the
the the more and more it's going to get better it's going to take lots and lots
of practice you know so it's important that you kind of convey that to the kids is let's keep
exercising your brain let's come up with some new things one thing you do not want to do is tell kids that they are
smart and gifted and talented you know it makes them feel like they were born with that knowledge it doesn't really encourage them to go out and grow you
want to always be encouraging to learn new things let them know that when they demonstrate a growth mindset in other
words when they create that curiosity you want them to keep asking you know don't stifle that praise the process
take effort and hard work and practice and allow the children to to create their own potential so give them some leeway
also consider how you're talking to your kids as we've learned in reading books and
you're asking about the words have meanings and communications it's an important message that they have instead
of saying it's not that hard say you can do hard things put your mind to it you can do that don't always have to
praise the results you know when you think about it test scores are rigid ways of measuring learning you want to
make sure that they continue to learn much like life and i'm sure at our age that we have
experienced this many many times i can tell you i have you know embrace all the failures and the steps and the steps the
kids do kids learn just like we do sometimes more when they fail let them
fail there's nothing wrong with that let them make a lot of mistakes you know
because again that's all part of the learning process i'm sure you can tell me just i can tell you there's nothing like the feeling of struggling through a
very difficult problem only to find out that you can break through and solve it
the harder the problem the more satisfying it is so let these kids be curious let them try to figure things
out on your own don't tell them everything that's part of their growing and understanding making mistakes and
being children's disappointments you know that's part of growing up you know we can focus by saying things like like
how you tried a new way to solve that may not have worked but you try that's
the way to do it so and you want to encourage participation collaboration
in group learning again that's why i like having all my six kids together one time grandkids
is you know they feed off each other they learn from each other you know they get into a
topic and they can start and then all of a sudden you know the little ones are learning from the big ones sometimes the
little big ones learn from the little ones too because you know just a whole different way of doing it
you know again you got to get kids excited about the subjects by explaining tell them how important it
is and how really if you've learned these things it's going to help you in the long run and
you want to encourage and model positive self-talk and if you notice that the child is
being critical themselves which they are you know they they they feel bad they feel stupid
uh explain that it's more important to treat themselves with respect like they treat others
uh but sometimes you know a child says i can't tie my shoes yet in the end you not can't tie your
shoes yet so those are the kinds of things that uh that i view
is helping to rear kids well it goes back to the age-old motivation is it an
internal motivation or is it external and something as simple as not saying i'm proud of you
but saying you must be proud of yourself for accomplishing
whatever that task was and that puts the ownership of the task on and the
motivation on the child and the reward on the child as opposed to doing
something because you want to make your grandmother proud but instead you feel pride because you know that you have
worked hard to accomplish things i find myself going back into the old oh i'm so proud
of you and then i try to catch myself and say oh i know you're proud of yourself because you worked hard you
know whatever the situation is and you can see the kids faces just light up
when you have acknowledged that they worked hard and i love that i love that
about helping kids grow and discover who they are yeah and but they also like to please
the grandma so you know they they want to make sure this is true yeah
because they want to be the best fan kid they want to be number one so they want to make sure
tell me about your grandparenting journey when did it start tell me about your grandkids how old they are
grandkids the oldest is eight and she's turning nine tomorrow
and the youngest is one and he turned one about uh three months ago the six
are in between there's four boys and two girls
and it really is it's fun watching the boys uh interact you know what's kind of
fun is uh you know during this year covert we didn't see the kids a lot just like
most other people and again got two in texas and two in florida in order for them to remember who we were
we started to play a game with them and for some reason these boys
love dinosaurs they can name i at two and three and four years old they can
name all kinds of dinosaurs i have no idea who they are so we decided to take advantage of that and we started to play
a game uh where are the dinosaurs today so we have a group of these dinosaurs
which you know when they've been to our house they've all touched them and played with them and
every day we would move the dinosaurs someplace else doing something different so for instance
we had the dinosaurs in the refrigerator eating the blueberries and the strawberries uh we had the dinosaurs
helping the the grandmother uh wash the dishes so they had soap on their nose
and they're washing the dishes we had them you know in the in the in the washing and drying machine
helping them to to boot with clothes we haven't gone up the steps we had them playing the piano uh we had them you
know in the bathtub so what we did to kind of get the kids
engaged knowing that we couldn't do it is every night we would uh
put them in a different situation and what happened what evolved is
every night right before after dinner and before they went to bed
they would call and my wife would pick up the phone and they would say where's gramps
where's gramps he's right here where's the dinosaurs what are the dinosaurs doing tonight we've got 50 different
situations around the house and outside the house where the dinosaurs were doing something different and
consistently it was a way to keep bonding with the kids they would call and want to know what the dinosaurs do
in the night and we take them over and they look at the dinosaurs and they talk about the dinosaurs and then they call the next night where
are the dinosaurs tonight you know and they would they would ask ramps and let's let's go look at dinosaurs so
i think as a grandparent especially when you are remote kids have plenty of other things to think about you know what you
hope as a grandparent that they're thinking about you first that's not necessarily the case yeah and so you want to do something
for these kids to remember who you are and so yeah when they uh when they came in last week they were chasing around
the house looking what the dinosaurs were doing so that just happened to be our particular way of keeping our grandkids
engaged you know through this whole covert issue it was a really fun game i wish i had thought about it because i
also have four grandsons and they are just in love with dinosaurs ever since they were toddlers
they love dinosaurs our grandchildren are actually about the same age i also have six grandkids
ranging in age from 18 months to nine and the boys are nine eight seven
and six and they just all had birthdays between the middle of may to the middle of july they all have birthdays so it's
a it's a fun fun time in our house when they're all together and last week on
vacation it was just marvelous i just enjoy being with them so much i'm
curious about your name how did that come about when they first were born we're trying to
figure out what's an easy name for their kids to remember and you know as you as you probably well know
kids start to can say g pretty fast so uh i decided to call myself ramps
jeffrey happens to be my middle name and so i figured out i'll become gramps jeffrey and that became my pen name now
what's interesting about jeffrey fellow j-e-f-f-r-e-y which is one way to spell it the
majority of people spell it the other way j-e-f-f-e-r-y but what's what's so funny about this
is my wife still smells wrong after all these years of marriage she still throws
it the other way so that's one of the reasons i decided on paper i want her to learn exactly how
i spell my middle name so what's your wife's grandma name bubby she is known as buddy and how did
that name come about it was what she called her room and again the bees are pretty they come pretty fast when you're
a little kid so it made it easy for uh for the kids get bubby and summing up
your book and your outlook on grandparenting what advice would you
give to other grandparents and especially to
grandparents to be those who haven't quite joined our grandparents club yet grandparents really have that unique
ability to enjoy the kids and give them back okay so you want to make sure that
that while they're here that you enjoy them and they enjoy you like for instance you know my wife and i have
different ideas of discipline she is under the schooling that you can't watch cartoons until you have
your breakfast whereas i'm under the schooling is let's have breakfast and watch cartoons together
but you have that luxury and so so you need to take advantage of that but you also don't lose sight
that you are a real role model and these these kids because the kids see the
respect for their grandparents from their parents you know the kids love their mom and dad and they
have comfort to put them let them go and let them be with you alone and so so
you've got that responsibility as a role model and here's an opportunity where if you
think you ever didn't teach your own children the right thing or you didn't have time to do it or you were too busy
working and didn't have a chance to let them know this is where you can skip that generation and make it happen for
these grandkids you know kind of make sure you're spending quality time with them do all the things we talked about
with the challenging them and reading to them and asking them questions getting them involved
because over time it's going to pay off you may not feel it the first week you're with them but if you do are consistent be
consistent that's probably what grandparents need to be if you be consistent time after time after time
visit after visit after visit now you are going to create a bond with these kids
like no other and it's in support of your kids that's what you're really doing you're supporting your kids to be
better parents so take advantage of that and just enjoy the moment because you never know how
long it's going to last that's a nice philosophy of supporting your children as parents because as grandparents we
have to remember we are not the ones in charge anymore and it's hard for some grandparents to release that role
but i think if we look at it as we are supporting our children and we have a supporting role
and accept that the whole dynamics of grandparents the grandchildren
is so much better and in the end it's our grandchildren who benefit from that well said i agree where can
our listeners find you on the internet and find your books they can find the books on the amazon or barnes noble or
target or most independent bookstores again the title is i don't want to turn three it's my gramps
jeffrey j e f r e why you can find it that way site.the i don't want to turn
3.com turning3.net
grampsjeffrey.com so there's plenty places on the internet you can learn more about the book and the philosophy
and things like that but yeah it's really easy to do just pick it up in any of the major major online sites this has been a
wonderful conversation i don't have a lot of grandpas on the podcast and it's
not by design it's because i just haven't encountered many grandpas who want to come on my podcast so i am so
glad you were here okay well thank you very much for inviting me i hope you have enjoyed today's episode
of the adventures with grammy podcast you will find the links to our guests and the topics we discussed in this
episode's show notes if you would like to be a guest or if you know someone who would be an awesome
guest please connect with me at carolyn adventures with grammy dot com