Modern Grand Parenting in America
Modern Grand Parenting in America
As I sit here feeling like I’ve never heard the term grandparent before, I ponder what will come of me when I become one. Strange right? I suppose the real question here is this, how much more involved are grandparents than they were in the past? For example, I had two grandparents who were not involved and two who were pretty involved. I would image each generation has had its own variation of parenting, grand parenting and so on.
Welcome to the Harding Way of Grand parenting
I would say, at least once a week I say to Ron, “This isn’t our baby.” Or, “You know you don’t get to raise the baby. It will go back home with mom and dad?” While he jokingly (I think) says he knows, sometimes I’m not sure. I guess we are just excited to have a little one around the house again. We are forever coming up with things we want to teach the baby, or places we want to take them. I’m a math nut and reading advocate. I often say, I’m teaching the baby to read and do math. Sure they don’t care, but I have to remind myself I’m grandma. I guess that is the ebb and flow of navigating the world we live in.
Ron comes up with ideas all the time. No big deal. I say I need a baby room in our house and all of the sudden, I’m the crazy one. Perhaps we should learn to balance our priorities and expectations since the baby will have six grandparents. Needless to say, we are not totally crazy. We will honor the parents and their wishes, but hopefully there will be room for grandma and grandpa to teach them a little bit of what the term no, no means. Have I mentioned this little one isn’t part of the world yet?
Thank God for Grand Parents!!
It appears, at least to me, that grandparents are more involved than they have been in previous years. At first glance I’m sure this sounds very encouraging. However, now that I’ve put a little extra thought into it, I’m not sure. The world we live in today is filled with judgement. Even comments that are well intentioned seem to fall on deaf ears. Why? Because even well-meaning comments make us question what we are doing. As a parent we all believe we know what is best for our children, despite figuring it out on the fly. Grandparents on the other hand have already been through it all. Certainly they know, or at least believe they know, what did and didn’t work for them. As an extension of such logic, that will work on the grandkids.
Being the ultimate paradox, as it seems to be, is the fact not all kids are created the same. Just the same as we are not living in the 90s anymore. My daughter’s children will likely not have the same childhood she did. Why, technology. Not all technology is bad, but kids play more games, play on apps, and have phones and an array of other things. Certainly we talk on the phone more frequently with our family. All of which allows us to interact on a deeper level than the days of paying long distance phone bills.
When your parents get to be more than you can handle. Play dead.
The last time Ron gave my daughter another round of, when you have kids… I’m going to build them a go cart, teach them hockey and have them playing in the garage, this happened.
While Breezy of course loves that we as grandparents want to be involved, what they don’t want is us forcing anything on their kids. To which I added, even if it’s a boy I’m going to teach him to bake. Here I go. While I respect what she is saying, and of course she is 100% right, I want them to love what I love. Will they? Who knows? I guess time will tell us. While these are merely activities we are talking about, the same can be said for discipline.
Grandparents Want the Best for Us and The Kids
Well-meaning grandparents spend more time with their grandbabies than ever before. This means grandparents are taking on a disciplinary roll. If their idea of discipline is not the same as the parents, conflict can arise. I remember many times when Breezy was little my mom would let her have Top Ramen Noodles if she didn’t want dinner. Man that made me angry. While I won’t do that, someone else likely will. I’m certain Breezy will stand up for herself and her kids and let whomever know the kid will eat what’s on the table.
My point being, ultimately as grandparents we will have to respect the wishes of the parent. This can become especially difficult if you have a different opinion about the way the kids should be raised. When the time comes present them with an objective alternative if you feel there is another way. The one thing that shouldn’t happen is allow is hurt feelings to divide the family. Because we as humans can only see things from our own perspective, it makes it increasingly difficult to see the error of our ways. Can we as parents, grandparents and caregivers place the kid’s needs first? Are we able to step to the side and say, what is best for little Johnny?