Is it Parenting or Grandparenting?

What joy, what mirth, what overflowing emotion a grandparent feels when he/she perceives before him/her the next generation – a gene of their very own child sprouting tenderly and yet so firmly before their very eyes. It makes them believe that life, even after completing their household responsibilities can be beautiful! It is another opportunity for them to re-live parenthood albeit with less stress and lesser worries.

No parenting is complete without the presence of grandparents. I can vouch for this because I have been on both sides of the fence. Not only have I been deprived of the affection and advice that grandparents unconditionally give to their grandchildren, I have also seen my son’s grandparents embrace my son with all the emotions that they have stored just for their grandchild.

My grandparents were no longer around (alive) when I arrived on the horizon! So, I have had no personal interaction with my grandparents due to a late entry of mine. When my son arrived I saw to it that he got what I did not get. The Almighty had been kind enough to co-incide my son’s birth with the presence of his grandparents. I got to see a whole new side of my parents that had been hidden from me as long as I had not become a parent. The moment I placed my child in the arms of my parents, a new world had suddenly arisen in our household. Handling a new responsibility can be strenuous and intriguing for a new mother. With a parent’s presence in the house, the task becomes not only easier but also a pleasure.

But then, as one grows older as a parent, through trial and error one acknowledges and realizes situations and rules that are good for one’s child. One realizes that certain age-old methods of child rearing remain the same but demands of everyday life do change. And with this change comes conflict in rearing methods. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ did hold true once upon a time but the same rule cannot be applied in its entirety with today’s children. Yesterday, one could get away blabbering certain facts to children. Today, with an overdose of information available everywhere one cannot be careless and casual.

It is ironical that the very parents who felt that freedom was to be restricted for their children are now more broadminded and less strict when it comes to their grandchildren. Maybe, experience has taught them so and they are only putting their learnt lessons into action with their grandchildren, something they could not do with their own children. But, as their own children watch them overrule them or reprimand them for being strict or not being too disciplined with the child, it becomes a delicate situation. If you do not listen to them, you hurt their feelings. And, if you listen to them, you feel you are not doing justice to your child or to your self.

So, which route do you follow?

What example do you set before your child?

If you express your view-point before your parent/in law, and your child happens to witness the uncomfortable interaction you send a message that your child’s grandparents are wrong. If you don’t do anything and go along with the tide to maintain harmony, you squirm within and your child could get the impression that Mummy and Daddy don’t know much, so let’s not listen to them. Where there is no ego hassle it becomes a war zone of conflicting emotions. And the poor child gets confused amidst the varied advices, suggestions and orders.

While grandparents need to be re-assured that their place in a home can never be usurped by anyone, they also need to understand that for a child, his/her parents come first like it did for his parents and their parents before that. That right cannot be diminished or deprived by anyone.

On the same note, parents need to understand that grandparents have a bounty of experience with them that is a source of great encouragement and support for any parent.

Children need parents and grandparents to make their life complete.

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space  and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.