Arrey, bachce ko aise sambhalte hai? Nahin beta Tujhe jo khana hai kha le
Arrey, I want to enrol her for the karate classes but my father in law will not agree. Kehte hai ladki ko kya zaroorat hai?
Do you know whom I was talking about? Yes, the grandparents. I know all of us to have a very filmy vision of what grandparents are and should be like. They are doting, loving and cutesy people who tell stories to the children and pamper them. They are the reason why lakhs of Indian families settled abroad to come back to India so their children can get to be with grandparents. They bring a million happy smiles until they don’t.
Now I am not going to get into the saas-bahu, extended Indian family drama but I definitely want to talk about the flip side of their role in the child’s upbringing.
I have seen parents withdraw admissions because grandparents refused to allow their grandchild to go to a particular school at a particular age.
We have had picnics cancelled for a similar reason.
We have also seen grandparents enter into online classes and argue with the teachers about how they are doing an inadequate job.
We have also seen grandparents slap another child because that child was troubling their grandchild in the bus
Yes, like everything else in life, there is a flip side to grandparents as well.
I meet a lot of parents and grandparents and at times I am baffled by the authoritarian nature of the grandparents. Believe me, I have met dozens of parents who have come to me and told me how they want so and so for their child but the grandparents don’t hence they can’t. Now this parent I am talking of is not an 18 – 20-year-old newlywed father. He/she is a professional with a decent education and career and is old enough to marry and bear a child but no old enough to decide whom to raise the child!
Isn’t it stifling? The grandparents sure are older than the parents but do age always bring wisdom? Also, with changing times do the old ways of studying and working always apply?
And then there are those grandparents who by the virtue of being retired involve themselves so deeply with the child’s life that stop the actual parents from making mistakes. Is it possible to raise a child without getting agitated or annoyed at times? Is it possible to always be cold and calm and composed?
I am sure the grandparents are not the only ones responsible for it. When the parents treat them as free baby sitters and caretakers, don’t talk to them about how they wish to raise their children, don’t involve them in the process and refuse to adopt anything suggested by them, it leads to different problems.
So then, how do we tread the path carefully so that our children get the unbridled love of the grandparents but don’t miss out on the opportunities that shape them as individuals?
MasterNi ka mat
If you as parent disagree with what the grandparent has to say, speak up. You are an adult who has given birth to a child. Take charge.
Keep the communication open. They are ageing and may not see the world as you do. You will have to show it to them.
Don’t make the child your emissary or spy. If you have differences, sort them out as adults. Don’t involve the child.