This post was first published on Parentous.
Disclaimer: My intention is not to annoy/offend any grandparent or parent but voice some common observations among family, friends circle and neighborhood.
It is common these days to find both parents working and kids being entrusted into the care of grandparents. But are we discussing the nitty-gritties of how we want to raise our children amongst us, the ones who are going to provide the primary care to the children? Are we all on the same page?
- One of my friends (more like an acquaintance) is a working mother to a 6 year old. Her child is with his grandparents the whole day when he is not at school. Left to himself, he would eat nothing which has any nutritional value (read wafers, biscuits, magi et al). On a holiday, he would be hooked to the TV either watching cartoons, or watching the unrealistic family dramas with his grandparents. He would sleep at midnight and wake up at whatever time he wants.
- I have seen little kids watching so-called saas bahu serials and crime-based shows with their grandparents for long hours (even actively discussing the plot). To make matters worse, these days the latest trend is of explicit content in TV-serials. As grown-ups we know what is real and what is shown to gain TRPs. But, do these kids have the wisdom or experience to differentiate between what is real and fictitious?
- I am very particular about the nutrition intake of my child, what he eats throughout the day. I have consciously kept him off the chocolates, biscuits, namkeens, other junk food, packaged juice, etc. During the day he eats what we eat for the main meals, while the in-between snacks are usually fruits, dry fruits, dalia, some cheese and on some rare occasions, glucose biscuits (if there is really nothing else). On the other hand, I have seen some grandparents giving the tiny tots biscuits, wafers, chocolates on demand because the kids would easily eat them. Of course, they would! Which kid would not? It is our responsibility to provide them nutrition. And slowly when they are hooked to the junk food, not finding anything else tasty, then the kids are called ‘spoilt’! I don’t think the kids are to be blamed here at all.
- The habit of eating while watching TV is a poor habit. It takes your attention away from the food and you don’t enjoy your food as you should. I have seen this happening in kids. They stop enjoying their food, and would do it only while watching TV so that they are not aware of what is going in their mouth, sometimes even spoon-fed by the grandparents.
In my humble opinion, even if the parents are delegating the responsibility of the child to someone else, there must be a set of rules, thoroughly discussed and properly communicated. Many grandparents are offended if you point out too many things because they feel they have done the job and have more experience. It is important that the parents address the issue tactfully on how they want to raise their child.
I am keen to know your thoughts.
I would like to repeat that in no way I want to point fingers at the grandparents because they are supposed to pamper. It is our responsibility as parents to discuss how we want to raise our kids. However, if we choose to raise our kids in this way then that is another matter altogether.