Since the beginning of time grandparents have played a crucial role in the upbringing of one’s children. Their mere purpose in life begins once they have their bloodlines running and playing around the house. Especially in our desi culture, where living in a joint family is a norm, leading the grandparents to play an active role in raising the little ones.
Most of the time such intrusions are welcomed with open arms and considered a huge help to exhausted moms and working parents. However, there is a line between forming a strong bond with your grandkids and overindulging them to the point of undermining the parent’s authority.
With toddlers and infants, routine and structure are everything. Parents work tireless hours to set a certain time for bedtime and naptime to have a certain system in place. Which in turn enables the parents and children both to function at optimal levels throughout the day. Grandparents, on the other hand, tend to play good cop. They give in to the children’s tantrums by extending sleep time just a bit more so that they can come out as being more fun to be with. Whilst their intentions are always pure, such behaviors disrupt the kids’ routine, and it’s the parents who have to pacify their exhausted and cranky kids.
On the other hand, for the grandparents to still come out as heroes and at the same time not ruin the parents’ disciplinary efforts, they can gently and lovingly enforce the rules laid out by the parents. For instance, if the kids whine about not going to bed early, they can perhaps offer to tuck them in, or read them a bedtime story or perhaps count stars together.
Consumption of junk food is what childhood is mostly about. But it is important to set certain boundaries to protect one’s health. Many times than not, parents usually come out as the bad guy, when it comes to feeding the kids. The latter always throwing tantrums for crisps and candies and making a face when offered nutritious food. As a result, the mealtime turns into a battleground.
Thus, while the whole food war is in place, the beloved grandparent walks in and hands the child a cookie, leading them to throw up their entire meal which took the parent precisely an hour to spoon-feed them. It is difficult to even fathom the frustration a parent might feel at this point. Additionally, grandparents also feel that the children might love them even more if they hand them endless amounts of candies and treats that they are restricted to by their parents. But the truth is that they are just enabling the kids to disobey their parents, mainly at mealtime. Since they know they can always get their way with the grandparents.
It is conceivable that the grandparents can save the day in this ongoing food battle in an alternative manner. This is achievable by establishing a system, where they only offer the kids a limited amount of candies once they have finished their wholesome meal. This way they still are the ones dispensing the love and at the same time not compromising the parents’ efforts.
Grandparents want to give their grandchildren every luxury that they could not give to their children. From small souvenirs to ridiculously expensive gifts. And most of the time, this gift-giving takes place in complete disregard of the parents’ wishes who have spent a lot of time educating the kids on sensible spending and extravagant things. All of which goes right in the trash when the kids are presented with a gift at every minor tantrum.
Grandparents feel that they are not doing enough for their grandkids without the act of gift-giving, or they feel the kids will love them even more if they indulge their every wish. But the truth of the matter is that kids have pure hearts and all they want is your attention and time. So instead of filling their closets with material things, grandparents can express their love by taking interest in their hobbies, making them laugh, and dispensing important knowledge into them. That way it’s a win-win situation for all the parties involved.
I hope this post has helped you understand how you can differentiate between grandparents’ love and spoiling. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.