by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families
"I went to the movies today with my grand daughter, Rose.
We saw 'How to tame your dragon 2. She laughed out loud
so much. It was neat just to sit there beside this little girl and
watch her total rapture in the movie as we shared bags of popcorn.
It was one of the best 1 hour and 30 minutes I have had in a
very long time. When we walked out of the theater she asked,
"What shall we do now, Poppy?" It is such a neat feeling when
you get it right - a number one."
- Craig Robertson, proud grandfather, New Zealand
There is nothing more satisfying than spending time with our grandchildren, as Craig Robertson experienced above. Grandparents have the reputation of being 'soft touches' when it comes to their grandchildren. As a grandparent my self, I know how much I enjoy our 4 grandsons. Every time we see them we try to create memories they will never forget. Perhaps it is just a way of making us feel we will live forever in their minds.
There is quite a difference between creating memories for the little ones, and actually spoiling them. And I would venture to add that there are different levels of spoiling. Many will say it is the grandparent's prerogative to spoil the grandkids rotten and then hand them back. It is always said with a laugh, but in many cases I am sure it actually happens. So when is spoiling not helpful?
1. When we allow them to have way more sugar than they need and by the time parents come the kids are 'climbing the curtains'. That is not helpful! We have created a problem that means the children will very likely be difficult to calm down.
. 2. When we allow our grandkids to behave disrespectfully - to do and say anything they want, that is not helpful. They become confused with the imbalance of expectations between grandparents and parents. We cannot afford to undermine parents' authority when we do not follow through with the level and methods of discipline they use. We need to be role models for the young ones so they are prepared for the realities of life. They need to learn to live within the law, to respect authority and to work within a team. They will not survive with an attitude of entitlement.
3. When we allow the grandchildren to complain about their parents and we agree out loud, that is not helpful. We could explain the parent point of view that might help the grandchildren understand why they act that way.
4. When grandparents take the kids shopping, allowing the kids to choose anything they like is not helpful. Why? Because it makes them think there is a money tree in your back yard. The more stuff they get the less they are inclined to value it and look after it. Parents can't usually keep up with the kind of spoiling grandparents do.
Of course, the kids will always want to visit their grandparents' home if gifts are usually given, and few or no rules or expectations are applied. When it comes down to it, kids feel secure when they know the expectations of those who have authority over them at any given time. Believe me, as grandparents, we are responsible for the 'grandies' when they are in our care, so we need to be supportive of their parents and their rules and expectations.
We need to encourage our grandchildren to talk to us about anything they want, but if they get into complaining about their parents, we need to be very careful how we respond. If what they say alarms us, it is inappropriate to ignore what they say. We need to respond appropriately to ensure their safety and be prepared to confront our own adult children. We need to be our grandkids' soft place to land, but remember, wisdom should always prevail.
If you have any comments or suggestions on this subject, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blogsite at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com