Although there's nothing like someone sitting next to you for a heart-to-heart talk, some grandparents don't have friends to confide in. Even those with such friends have times when their friends are not available. That's where online communities for grandparents can be lifesavers. Those in need of a friend can reach out to others any time of day or night. And those who are facing challenges are likely to find posts from someone who has been through a similar situation.
The term... online community usually refers to a group of people who connect through forums that allow individuals to make posts and receive responses. Some also allow private messaging through the group.
Most forums have a published set of rules. Personal attacks, name-calling, threats and the like are prohibited. There may be moderators who see that the rules are followed. Still, there is no guarantee that your feelings won't be hurt by someone else's frankly expressed opinion. Other forums are largely unpoliced, and you enter them at your own risk.
Many forum users are fond of acronyms, which can be confusing to newbies. Instead of spelling out father-in-law, posters may use FIL. When describing family relationships, many posters insert a D for "dear" or "darling." You've probably seen DH used to refer to a husband or DD to refer to a daughter. Most forums that use acronyms will have a post somewhere that explains them. Look for it, or if you're too put off by acronyms, look for a plain-language forum. They do exist.
Grandparents also get together in Facebook communities. These are usually closed groups that one must ask to join, so you don't have to worry about your private worries being posted on your public wall. Do a search using the word grandparent, and you'll be able to see what's available. Look for a large number of members if you want to join a robust community. Also check for recent posts as many groups become defunct without being deleted.
Like all social groups, online communities have their own individual characteristics, and it's important to find a compatible group. Without further ado, take a look at some of the available online communities for grandparents and find one that's the perfect fit for you.
01 of 06
The Grandparents.com Forums are among the broadest on the Internet, with exchanges occurring regularly on a wide range of topics. Topics include Family Matters, Food, Grandparenting, Health, Hobbies and Just for Fun. There's even a Love and Relationships topic designed for single grandparents. Posters tend to be heavy users of acronyms, though, so if you don't like puzzling out DGC and FOO, you may not find this site very user friendly. Users must register in order to post, but if they... wish to post anonymously on a sensitive topic, they can do so by checking a box at the bottom of their post. The forums appear to be well-controlled, with fairly standard forum rules, and participants are reminded to "comment on the content, not on the contributor." The Family Matters thread is often visited by adult children, though, and mother-in-law drama is a frequent topic. Be prepared for exchanges between the generations to become heated.
02 of 06
This London-based website is a valuable resource for UK grandparents and can be very helpful for the rest of us, too, although you may have to remind yourself about jumpers and nappies. You will not, however, be overly plagued by acronyms. You'll see the common ones like GC for grandchildren and DIL for daughter-in-law. Oh, and there's a whole thread devoted to AIBU (Am I Being Unreasonable). Topics are not restricted to grandparenting issues but include all aspects of living for older... individuals, including health, sports and careers. Posts are well organized with a clean, attractive layout. And in spite of the name, grandfathers are welcome, too!
03 of 06
You can sometimes find something cool in an unlikely spot. GardenWeb is a system of forums operated by Houzz, which is described as a platform for home remodeling and design. There is a forum specifically for grandparents. Posts are not sorted by topic, and there's no evidence of a moderator, but the site contains many helpful discussions. Because of its somewhat unlikely location, the forum does not get the traffic that some others do, so you may not get a lot of responses if you post. But... if you are looking for remarkably calm, sensible discussions of some grandparenting issues, check out this spot. The posts even tend to feature correct spelling and grammar. You can read posts without registering, but you will get an annoying pop-up asking you to sign up. If you want to post, you must be a registered user. If you get tired of the grandparenting discussions, you can check out the other forums and find out what ails your African violets, or how to repair an antique mirror, and that's pretty cool, too.
04 of 06
According to the website, this basic bulletin board was created to provide a safe and comfortable place for discussions about family issues and to "provide comfort to those in difficult situations." The posts are not organized into topics, so be prepared to do lots of browsing. The site uses basic forum rules, such as no advertising or obscenities, and there are forum moderators who keep posters in line. Posts promoting particular religions, non-profit organizations, and other causes are... not allowed. The site encourages emojis, animations and other effects, so if that is your thing, you will enjoy this site. If you prefer a cleaner look, you won't be a fan.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Dr. Coleman is a an author and psychologist who specializes in issues such as family estrangement and generational conflict. His website offers forums in nine areas, including one for grandparents. As one might expect, topics center around family conflict. Threads appear with the most recent response on top, so discussions can be a little hard to follow. Those dealing with alienation issues may want to check out the Estranged From Parents forum, although they should be aware that emotional... postings are common and may trigger distress. Dr. Coleman does not appear to monitor or respond to postings. In fact, the forums do not appear to be moderated or managed. Spam advertisements from a year ago still show up. There is, however, a search feature that can help users find postings on a topic of interest.
06 of 06
Although not all members are grandparents, the AARP online community is a vibrant place. There is no area of the community dedicated to grandparents, but you'll find grandparenting posts in the Friends and Family Forum. Here threads appear with the most recent response on top, so you'll have to travel backward to find the original post. Posts are mostly acronym free and easy to read. You'll have to register to post, but you can read without registering. At the top of the page on the... right there's a help button and also a guidelines button that will lead to an explanation of the community standards. Each post has a thumbs-up button that you can click to give a kudo. There's also a link for reporting inappropriate content. All in all, the AARP community feels like a well-run neighborhood.