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Old 05-11-2019, 07:18 PM
 
7 posts, read 1,278 times
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Hello, registered on the forum today, but have been reading threads in Parenting and Grandparents for a while. I've been most impressed with the quality of the advice given. Also impressed with the high sensitivity to the possibility of one-sided presentations of situations or conflicts by contributors.

We baby boomers were the parents of GenX and millennials.
We invented helicopter parenting.
We lavished praise and promoted self-esteem.
Most of us had our kids later than earlier generations and we were indulgent parents.
Friends to our children.

One of the hallmarks of boomers is the enthusiastic pursuit of all that interested us whatever it might be: traveling, music, sports, our careers, raising our children.

Now we are grandparents and it's our children's turn to raise their children.

In Parenting forums here and elsewhere a recurring theme is, well, resentment seems too strong a word so let me say high awareness on the part of our children when grandparents don't obey the rules and routines parents have set for the grandchildren.

It's amazing sometimes how quickly young parents will threaten to cut off contact altogether with the grandchildren if their parents don't come to heel.

The parents seem angry and the grandparents seem hurt and mystified.

I was very close to my maternal grandparents, I don't ever remember my mother giving directions to my grandparents on our diet, tv shows, bedtime, activities, etc. while we stayed with them.

Before she passed I asked my mother if she gave her mother instructions for us kids when we visited. She said she wouldn't have dreamed of it. We were in grandma's care, indulgence was expected and that was fine. That was Grandma's house.

Not so it seems today. The concept of their children enjoying relaxing fun and a break from routine with their grandparents seems to be viewed with suspicion and disapproval from today's parents toward their own parents and in-laws.

I saw a comment that actually said she expects her parents to obey her rules about car seats for the children.

Car seats are governed by law in most states not by parental expectations, certainly most grandparents are responsible and capable of abiding by the law when it comes to the safety of their grandchildren without a reminder from their daughter.

Many of these comments come across as rigid and humorless coming from today's parents toward their own parents.

I'm absolutely all for routine and regularity for children, it's necessary for their well-being.

And while fun visits with grandparents aren't necessary, they certainly add to the quality of life for a child.

But then I wonder, in our enthusiasm are we boomer grandparents coming off as overbearing? The old bull in the china shop busting in and wrecking everything.

That seems to be a major complaint amongst our children with children of their own.

Or are expectations for children different now and we're just not getting it?

While there were always worries, most of us had fun raising our children and would like to have fun with our grandchildren too.
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
42,637 posts, read 41,381,512 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubyandPearl View Post
Car seats are governed by law in most states not by parental expectations, certainly most grandparents are responsible and capable of abiding by the law when it comes to the safety of their grandchildren without a reminder from their daughter.
Most are, but not all. Grandparents didn't grow up with car seats and didn't use them on their own children, and there have been tales here of some grandparents bucking new safety requirements because "we didn't need those and we turned out fine."

Food concerns are probably the most common.

It's pretty easy to tell when a poster has a legitimate complaint about careless grandparents and when she's being a diva new mom.

Having babies seems to bring most family dysfunction into the spotlight.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Australia
838 posts, read 306,821 times
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Writing about the situation in Australia, which may well be entirely different to the US and other countries, grandparents here often find ourselves in a different role than that of preceding generations of grandparents. That is it is common here that we take on the role of part time childcare so that the son and or daughter can be in the workforce. Our family payments system is currently structured that most families get substantial government benefits to help with the cost of formal childcare for about three days a week. After that the cost increases quite a lot and so many of us mind the kids one or two days a week.

This can be a very long day and is entirely different from a few hours here and there that my parents put it minding my kids. I turned a blind eye to them feeding them junk food etc etc. But I think when grandparent care becomes part of a complicated routine it is understandable that the parents are anxious for some stability in the rules and routines. I also see in my kids an anxiety about childcare as the are so busy juggling the roles in their lives, especially the one who works full-time in a demanding professional role. This anxiety can sometimes express itself as some overmangement of routines and so on.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:19 AM
 
1,512 posts, read 512,702 times
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This is a fascinating topic, and it really got me thinking about the generational grandparenting differences in my own family.

My grandmother (born in 1900) was very strict, much more so than my parents were. I resented it (and her) as a result and in fact her attitude ended up as an estrangement (on my part) from the time I was in my teens until my thirties.

My dad was a 'normal grandpa' who was on the same page as we were when it came to rules etc. My mom was a different story because she was waaay more lenient with my son than she ever was with me, and any time my son was alone with her it brought out his "inner brat" bigtime. Very early on he realized that she would never discipline or even mildly rebuke him. He discovered that he could get away with any and all kinds of obnoxious behavior that he never exhibited with anyone else, and my mom's stock response to my objections was always "Oh it's all right, dear, he's just playing" or "he's just having some fun, he's not hurting me" or "he didn't mean to break it." Being around her alone turned him into the Child From Hell, like a mini Jekyll and Hyde. Finally I simply stopped letting her babysit unless my dad could also be there; he was still working fulltime so that meant just occasional weekends. I was a SAHM so it really wasn't necessary all that often anyhow.

As a grandparent, remembering both extremes of my grandmother and my mother, I abide by my son and DIL's prefences on a Their House/Their Rules basis and also for general things (for example I'd never buy a major gift without checking with one of them first, and would stick to their food rules 100% of the time.) That said, although GD has not been to my house yet, it is going to be My House/My Behavior Rules when the time comes because my house is not child-friendly at all nor will it ever be. I deliberately set it up for total ease of access which means no interior doors at all (except the bathroom) and other than some kitchen cabinets everything is on open shelves or in pull-out bins. And everywhere there is a LOT of fragile items and things that kids shouldn't be getting their hands on (tools, art and craft supplies, etc.) It is really not a place for a child who is in the "lower digits" agewise. It would not be fun for either me or the child because basically the entire place is a giant "Don't Touch That" zone. And on that I'm not willing to compromise, so I'd rather see my grandchild elsewhere until she's old enough to know how to behave in an environment like that.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:03 AM
 
1,867 posts, read 629,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCjunkie View Post
As a grandparent, remembering both extremes of my grandmother and my mother, I abide by my son and DIL's preferences on a Their House/Their Rules basis and also for general things (for example I'd never buy a major gift without checking with one of them first, and would stick to their food rules 100% of the time.)
That's my feeling- DS and DDIL are good parents so I'm not going to work against them. Up to now, for example, I've taken only the 5-year old to Starbucks for a cake pop because we agreed that a cake pop was too much sugar for the younger sister to take in at one sitting. Last week, with DS and DDIL's agreement, I took them both- little sister is now 2 1/2. She devoured her first cake pop, of course! I take the older one for a haircut at Shear Madness when I visit. She has my thin, flyaway hair and I think she'd be adorable with a pixie cut but DS and DDIL want to keep it long- so we go for a trim. It helps that my granddaughters are pretty well-behaved and eat a wide variety of food, including the healthy types, so there's not much on which we disagree.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Texas
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I see parents requiring their own parents (the grandparents) to babysit full time and do things like, paying for the grandchild's college. That was not as common in my generation.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:43 PM
 
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As a grandparent ...myself. I pretty much regard how the rules are for the grandkids. Use manners. Respect the elders ...and enjoy the visits. Pretty simple. I'm slowly learning to mind my place in the family dynamic. Basically ensure that peace be had and support encouraged.

The double standard is a challenge though as the grandkids have not had a stay over at my home or spent one holiday here. Yet they happily share their experiences of such with their other grandparents. I'm delighted for them that they have that memory. I dare not inquire why that is so that I cannot tend to them in my home. I'd be seen as "selfish". And that is simply not tolerated .

I can say that when I am with the grandkids it's pure delight. Constant energy or silly moments. Guess I'm that fun one...

Far from overbearing.... rather the "stay where you are til we decide when you can be in their lives"
And even though I've inquired gentley why they do not come over ...I get the 'we are so busy with xyz". Yet for years they made time for the others...as I have done for them...
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,874 posts, read 17,190,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PriscillaVanilla View Post
I see parents requiring their own parents (the grandparents) to babysit full time and do things like, paying for the grandchild's college. That was not as common in my generation.

I'm a grandparents and know many, many other grandparents and have a much different experience
. I do know a number of grandparents who volunteer to babysit one or two days a week and/or when the grandchildren are sick & can't go to school/day care but don't know anyone who babysits full time. And, I don't even know one set of grandparents whose adult children expect them to pay for their grandchildren's college. I do know a couple of wealthy grandparents who volunteered to pay for part of their grandchildren's college expenses but they were not required or expected to do that.
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
42,637 posts, read 41,381,512 times
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The only thing I've noticed that is too much to me is the constant presence of grandparents at school activities. Sometimes both sets.

Grandparents literally never came to stuff except graduation when I was a kid 40 years ago, but now grandparents are at any and every little thing. They are like surrogate parents now, mostly invited by the parents, of course.

Our elementary school had to instill a policy that parents and grandparents had to say goodbye at the front door of the school because they were traipsing down the hallways and taking up space in the classroom, hanging out too long looking at all the kid's recent projects, etc.

I appreciate involvement, but being ever-present is too much.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,874 posts, read 17,190,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
The only thing I've noticed that is too much to me is the constant presence of grandparents at school activities. Sometimes both sets.

Grandparents literally never came to stuff except graduation when I was a kid 40 years ago, but now grandparents are at any and every little thing. They are like surrogate parents now, mostly invited by the parents, of course.

Our elementary school had to instill a policy that parents and grandparents had to say goodbye at the front door of the school because they were traipsing down the hallways and taking up space in the classroom, hanging out too long looking at all the kid's recent projects, etc.

I appreciate involvement, but being ever-present is too much.
That is a problem at schools in my area, too. Several schools had to put limits on how many people per family could attend holiday programs and classroom activities because with all the grandparents (and step-grandparents) and aunts and uncles attending there was not enough room for all the actual parents to fit.

The schools also prohibit parents & grandparents to enter the school building when dropping off their children because the halls were overcrowded with people and the parents & grandparents often stayed and stayed which disrupted teaching. Some schools in my area forbid parents/grandparents from being on the playground before school because some of them would hog the swings and play equipment for their child/grandchild. Some of the adults refused to allow turn taking so all adults (except for teachers and aides) were banned.
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