There is no dispute – children who get to interact closely with their grandparents are lucky. They gain as much joy as they exude into the lives of grandparents. They are knowledgeable, experienced, patient, caring. Children can blossom under their warm care.
As much as children benefit, for parents, in many cases, it is a bitter sweet pill.
Parents, especially new parents, can be easily overwhelmed with the drastic changes that parenting demands despite months of planning. Child, job, home, society- there is sonmuch to look after. When grandparents help take care of chores and share the responsibility of the baby, parents, especially moms, get much needed respite.
However, the boundary between advice and interference is thin.
Grandparents consider entrusting parents with a newborn as unsuitable for the baby, the lack of experience will surely affect the child. And so starts, the advice – how to lift the baby, bathe the baby, breastfeeding positions, how much to breastfeed, sleep training, how and what solids to introduce, toys to play with, safe places to visit. The list is endless really. Every objection from the parent is met with “we raised you didn’t we? Why won’t you trust us? No one can raise a child by reading books. You need experience and that we have plenty. “
What they don’t realize is every child is unique, parents are unique with different goals for their child. Parenting styles are different. The guidance for child development is constantly evolving and making a choice for their child is a parents right. Also, with interference, comes a nagging, sinking feeling of inadequacy as a parent. “If everything, I am doing is wrong, I am probably a bad parent. There is so much I don’t know…. ” This leads to a vicious loop often consuming new parents in guilt and tying them to grandparents even more.
Some parents stay strong and stop the interference while taking the help. Most others feel obliged to accept interference in lieu of the help they desperately need. This HAS to change.
To all the grandparents out there. Here goes a request. Please accept the uniqueness of your own children. Allow them their parenting style and mistakes. It gives them confidence into being the best version of themselves. Advice should remain just that – no insistence. By sitting back, you can support, observe and enjoy parents grow into their role slowly, getting better at it every single day.
Have you had any such experience? What do you want to tell your parents and how would you have rather done things given a chance? Please do share and let’s talk.