ajitkpanicker/ January 24, 2020/ Parenting/ 8 comments

The kids who get quality time to spend with their parents grow up much more confident and smarter than other kids of their age who don’t. 

That’s something a lot of us know. Isn’t it?

But do we also know how our child’s overall development gets affected if his grandparents are around?

That is what I am going to emphasize through this post today.

I still remember my childhood when I use to yearn for my grandparents who lived far away, almost towards the other end of the country in Kerala. As my father had limited resources with a big family of six to take care of, even visiting them once in five years was an uphill task for him.

I never got to see two of my four grandparents, and could spend with my amumma (paternal grandmother) only the last two years of her life. By the time I saw her for the first time, she was already eighty-five, an age where she had herself turned into a child. 

That’s the reason I know how much I have missed in my life. Although this loss of experience was purely emotional, there are a lot of other reasons why grandparents should be around when your kids are growing up.

You will realize this more as you read this post further.

But before I move ahead and share how, let me describe to you a typical nuclear family situation we live in these days.

The husband and wife are working in two different organizations in two different directions of the city. At times one of them has to even cross two city borders to and fro between home and office. Their two kids go to a decent school nearby, and decent by today’s standard is an International School. The two children are studying in fourth and sixth standard respectively. Their school gets over by 1:30 pm. After which they either are arranged to stay back in the daycare at the school or the school bus leaves them back at home.

In case they stay back in the daycare, they are going to spend five more hours at the School premises, than any other child. Although the parents try their best to make sure their kids are learning, sleeping and eating properly, even in those five hours.

But are you sure they are not missing anything as they are growing up?

What would have they gained if their grandparents were at home?

How different would have been their life?

I feel the kids are missing something so great that they will eventually feel and hence question their parents someday.

Just in case if they come back from school the parents ensure to keep full-time help at home with cameras to look after them till they come back from their office.

But do you feel the kids are going to get that same love and affection that their grandparents could have given?

I doubt.

Before you start cursing this new-age kind of parents, let me tell you that it is not that the grandparents have been sent off to an old-age home. It is just that they are living in their home town with their children migrating to a bigger city for better opportunities.

Now because the grandparents have a society of their own there with the people they have known for years and the relationships they have built over the decades, they don’t want to shift with their children.

But then who is losing the most in this process, the grandchildren.

I know what you are feeling. You are feeling sorry for this family.

But isn’t this the case with a lot of us today?

Before you accept, let me confess that even I am one among them.

Precisely that’s the reason I am writing this blog post. I am going through this pain every day. And I know a lot of such people who are living and giving this grandparentless life to their children.

But unlike my father, we try our best to make short trips to our parents often, so that the grandparents and the grandchildren get some quality time together. Not only this we celebrate most of our festivals and family occasions together.

Parenting

Although I know, that’s not enough.

But I still feel that it can be a win-win situation for each of us- the parents, the grandchildren, and the grandparents, only if the grandparents are around when our children are growing up.

How?

I have the answers for your hows.

Grandparents if around would lead to a more disciplined lifestyle for all

When have you flouted the most from a disciplined lifestyle in your life? Most of the time has it not been when your parents were not around.

Imagine if your parents stay along with you will they not be ensuring a similar disciplined lifestyle- what to eat, when to eat, follow a physical regime, sleep on time, for their grandchildren also. They will very well do it. Will they do it only for them, they will ensure the same for you?

Grandparents if around would lead to a more experienced parenting and grooming for the grandchildren

There is an old saying, “I have seen more monsoons than the white hairs on your head” which means my experience is much more than your total age.

So if grandparents are around, the grandchildren will have a reservoir of experience and anecdotes to learn from. The grandparent’s experiences of having seen the world will benefit the children in ways more than one.

Who better than the grandparents to recite those experiences through their unique ways of telling stories?

Grandparents if around would give you enough confidence to face even the extremes of work pressure and the grandchildren are watching all of this

There are times when you come back from your work completely tensed up. There was something at the office that did not go as you expected or maybe you got a big-time beating from your boss. Whatever be the reason, you are under extreme stress. So is your working wife that day because of her share of problems. Who will you share your grief with?

If your parents are around, you can always look up to them. You can always lie down with your head on your mother’s lap or sit with your father over a glass of wine. See how all the pain vanishes.

Mind it; your children are watching you. They are seeing their father sharing his work-related problems with his father and feeling relaxed after that.

Even if your father is not able to give you an exact solution to your problem, an extra ear would give you enough confidence to face the situation fearlessly the next day. Isn’t it?

Now when your kids face any such stress or trouble in their life in the future? Who will they go to? Wouldn’t they come to you? Yes, they will. That’s what parenting under grandparents does.

Grandparents if around would lead to more love and even pampering of your child

There is a myth that more love makes your children get spoilt. No, that is not true. More love can make them stronger. It does not harm them in any way. You have to make sure that your parenting helps them grow up as mature, understanding and empathetic individuals.

They might face problems later in life, like not being able to handle situations as adults. But that will happen only if you have not allowed them to handle situations on their own as kids. Giving more love does not mean that you don’t give them responsibilities.

They are two different things.

Grandparents if around can act as great teachers to the grandchildren

In the time-bound lives in which we are living, there are many skills that the grandchildren should necessarily have. Grandparents have all the time in the world, are not stressed as the parents are and more importantly are concerned that their children should learn these skills. Who better than them?

The skills I am talking about are setting the table, making the bed, sewing a button, airing up the bicycle tires, tying the shoelaces, tightening screws, etc.

Grandparents if around will help the grandchildren connect better with their family history, religious traditions and heritage

Usually the grandchildren are comfortable with their grandparents, however old they turn. So it is easier to pass on all that the family owns as heritage, as traditions or family history.

Grandparents usually tell stories of their life, their hardships or those of their forefathers because of whom they could achieve whatever they have in their life today. It helps the grandchildren in coping up and fighting against any hardship if they face anytime in the future.

Grandparents can tell mythological stories to their grandchildren. The stories will not only entertain them but also help them understand the various traditions and customs. Every family has a heritage. Who better than the grandparents to help the grandchildren feel a sense of belongingness to a particular origin.

Grandparents if around protects kids from depression as adults

A 2014 study out of Boston College says close emotional relationships between grandparents and adult grandchildren leads to lower rates of depression, both for the grandparents and the grandchildren.

It is because the grandparents help them come out of such situations by sharing their life experiences. They tell them stories of how somebody they knew came out of it. They make them feel comfortable in all such situations. Such life experiences help the grandchildren cope up easily.

Grandparents, if are around their grandchildren, tend to live longer

Isn’t it getting better for everyone? The parents, the grandchildren, and the grandparents, everyone is gaining out of it.

The grandchildren become more resilient and the grandparents become healthier. A research suggests that the grandparents who watch their grandchildren grow in front of them, add an average of five years to their life.

So what now, what have you decided?

Will you convince your parents to live with you or will you go and live with them?

Whatever you decide, I leave that to you. But please make the parents and the grandparents around you, read this post.

If you have liked reading this blog post, please leave a comment in the comment box.

Also you can read my book on everyday parenting, My School “My Father” (English edition) or My School “My Father” (Hindi edition) by clicking on the title hyperlinks.

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8 Comments

  1. This is so true. Grandparents helps in overall development of a child which inlcludes emotional aspect well.

    1. Social and emotional intelligence is as important as the Verbal or Quantitative intelligence. So well said, Abhishek.

  2. This is truly so real and true….I can relate to the difference I see in myself and my children. A very inspiring article indeed Ajit.

    1. Thank you so much, Amit. I am happy that you liked reading the post. That’s what, the new parenting style that has evolved because of the new social settings is actually hampering the overall development of our children.

  3. Wow, thanks for sharing such a nice and informative blog.

    1. Thanks Ghanshyam. I am happy that you found the blog informative and useful.

  4. Grandparents are important for a child’s psychological well being….they teach without being teachers, they discipline without being bossy….unfortunate are the ones who dont find their grandparents around….few years back i read about an old age home in US where they had a child care system too…they get to spend 5-6 hours with children which led to physical and emotional well being of both kids and oldies…a great step…i wish it was prominent in India…

    1. Abhilash so true, every word of what you have commented. That’s so noble of the people who have started such a system.

      Thank you so much for your valuable comment!

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