Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Being Grandma: Leaving Discipline to Parents


The joys of grandparenthood are well known.  Don't all grandparents love to brag about their grandchildren, and share photos and anecdotes, even after their audience has lost interest?  There really is a special joy that comes from having young children in your family, that you neither bear nor raise.  You get to spoil and enjoy them without the burdens of 24/7 care and responsibility. The experience of having raised your own children also gives you a more relaxed perspective that can only come from truly seeing the big picture of growth and development.

Being a grandparent can be more challenging when you actually live with your children and grandchildren, as in an extended visit, for example.  Then you are present for the daily realities of tired, cranky, hungry, demanding, ornery, rude, tantruming, annoying, fighting beings that even the most delicious grandchildren can become!  And now, because you're not the parent, you walk a fine line.  Sometimes you can help in positive ways.  You can feed a hungry child, or read a book and cuddle with a tired child.  But you cannot discipline a child in the presence of his/her parents.  And often, you will disagree with your children's methods (of lack thereof) of discipline.

I've crossed that line more than once, and have always regretted it.  My grandchildren feel hurt; I'm supposed to adore them unconditionally, not find fault with them!  And my children feel hurt; mom is judging them unfavorably in raising their children, which is the most vital and heart-wrenching job of a lifetime!  

So, I am learning to take a breath, look the other way and, unless the issue is very serious, only give advice when I'm asked. 

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