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Helping hands

Grandparents are engineered to lavish their grandchildren with affection and attention.

ARE you one of those who leave your kids in their grandparent’s care while your spouse and you are at work? Consider yourself very privileged if you are.

Having grandparents around is certainly better than other alternatives. They lavish their grandchildren with affection and attention. They would drop everything for them – and extra care is always guaranteed. Grandparents are engineered that way, and that’s what makes them so indispensable. Can you think of anyone better whom you could trust your brood with?

Even when you have a maid at home, the presence of grandparents gives you the peace of mind to concentrate at work, as they can help you to keep an eye on things. Let’s face it, we all know someone with a horror maid story to tell. All this makes us constantly wonder whether we are gambling on the kids’ safety whenever we leave them home alone with a maid.

Of course, it’s not necessarily all roses. Some parents complain about how grandpa and grandma spoil the kids, and find fault with their old-fashioned ways of childcare.

When a difference in parenting views occurs, it’s best to listen to what the grandparents have to say with an open mind. After all, there is something we can learn from those who have been there and done that. Try to understand their point of view, and be flexible when the issues are not major.

Having said that, you don’t have to bottle things up and pretend all is well if you find their ways are totally unacceptable to you. The kids, after all, are yours. Hence, you do have the right to decide how you want your kids to be brought up.

Discuss the clashes of opinions and find a compromise before they fester into major disputes. Voice how you really feel – without hurting their feelings. Remember that no one likes to be told that they are a bad influence on your kids!

There are also some parents who are secretly resentful of the special bond between their kids and the grandparents. Well, it’s only natural for kids to feel closer to their constant companions. But it’s also understandable if you feel left out when they seem to prefer their grandparents to you.

Remember, however, that kids are capable of loving both grandparents and parents in different ways. Thus, don’t see the grandparents as the opposition party. They are here not to fight for your kids’ love, but to give them more love. Think of how lucky the kids are to have both the love of their grandparents and parents.

Then there are those parents who lament the fact that the not-so-highly educated grandparents are unable to contribute much to their kids’ academic learning.

Well, grandparents might not be able to explain science and such to your kids, but they can pass the legacy of good values to the next generation. They can teach your kids all about filial piety, good manners, and a million other things that harried parents might not have the time (or patience) to do.

And yes, even though they might not be able to help much in the education department, you can count on the doting grandparents to applaud every little achievement, and do things like giving a standing ovation when your three-year-old is finally able to sing the ABC song without jumbling up the alphabet.

At the end of the day, as with everything in life, having the grandparents as your kids’ caregivers has its pros and cons.

When the going gets tough for you, keep in mind that things can get pretty rough for them too.

Any babysitting grandparent can vouch that taking care of young kids is not exactly a walk in the park. They have to deal with the daily grind of cleaning dirty bottoms, feeding finicky little eaters, taming tantrums, and other things that cause exhaustion and anxiety.

On the other hand, declarations like “I love you, Grandma!” and wet kisses on the cheeks are not always an hourly event.

So make sure you don’t burden them with the entire task of parenting. Grandparents don’t have to go through parenting twice in their lifetime, but they are doing it out of love and concern for the family. Hence, be appreciative and tell these unsung heroes how grateful you are for their help and support. After all, no one appreciates being taken for granted.

No matter how full of shortcomings a grandparent may be, at the very least you have someone who genuinely cares about your kids’ happiness and health.

Now, that’s someone you should keep within the reach of your children, don’t you think?


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