Alert
Close

Join us at AARP's 2015 Life@50+ National Event and Expo in sunny Miami.  Learn more

Family
poll

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

An Update for Grandma and Grandpa

If you're turned off by the geriatric-sounding term, there are plenty of hipper options. G-Dawg, anyone?

What's wrong with Grandma and Grandpa?

Actually, they're just fine, thanks, probably spinning at the gym, tweeting at the office, scaling Mount Everest or discovering their inner artist.

See also: 30 great activites to do with your grandkids.

It's just that those geriatric honorifics — Grandma and Grandpa — rub many baby boomers the wrong way and they're coming up with all sorts of ways to avoid them.

The name

Deciding what to call grandparents is a fun challenge. — Photo by Mango Productions/Corbis

The crotchety images they conjur up — the doddering Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies, the centenarian Grandma Moses — complete with specs halfway down their noses and gray hair pulled back in buns — simply don't match up with the vibrant ones they see reflected in their mirrors.

So even though baby boomers can't wait for the grandkids to arrive, looking forward to future hours spent museum-going and river-rafting, many grandparents are going to extraordinary lengths to escape those wrinkly old terms.

Goldie Hawn inadvertently hit on the perfect compromise when her first grandchild, Kate Hudson's son Ryder, began calling her Glam-Ma, instantly transforming her from dowdy Gramma to glamorous Glam-ma, a term that's been widely adopted by other age-defiers. Gwyneth Paltrow, whose actress mother Blythe Danner is called Lalo by her kids, said in an interview, "My mom's hot and she didn't want to be called Grandma."

Other celebs are not so sensitive. The ageless Sophia Loren, whose grandkids all live in the U.S., is more than happy to be called the traditional Italian Nonna. Jacqueline Onassis was always called Grand Jackie by daughter Caroline's three kids.

Baby-talk versions of designations difficult for little ones to pronounce have proven to be the most common Grandma-avoidance strategies. California mom Marla Black's son Quincy, for example, mispronounced Grandma and Grandpa as Mema and Beepa, which stuck. When Brooklyn artist Carol Quint's granddaughter Kalea was learning to talk, she would always repeat the last sound of a word twice; thus, Grandy became DeeDee and, according to Quint, Kalea, now almost 13, "is proud to this day that she named me."

There's no end to the possibilities. Little Gideon can go fishing with his Poppy, G-Pa, Grumpy or Grampcracker, while Baby Beatrice can snuggle with a Bampy, a Beeba, a Boosh, or a Boompa. (Grandparents who've opted for Gaga suddenly have a lot more to live up to than they bargained for.)

Next: Tips on how to choose your grandparent name. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Grandparent
Resources

GrandFacts

National and state fact sheets listing services, programs,  benefits, laws and policies for grandparents raising children. Read

GrandFamilies Guide

Information, tips and tools for grandparents raising grandchildren. Read

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

1-800flowers.com (1-800flowers.com)

Members save 20% or $20 on purchases of $79.99  from
Fruitbouquets.com.

Collette Vacations

Members save up to $200 per couple on select tours with Collette Vacations.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social

Featured
Groups

Wisdom Circle

Join our circle to ask for — or give — advice on topics such as love, friendship, grief, parenting and grandparenting. Discuss

Grandparenting: Joys & Challenges

There are many joys from being a grandparent, so let's celebrate them together! Discuss

Raising Grandchildren

Grandparent caring for grandkids share tips and discuss challenges, solutions and triumphs along the way. Join