This is an opinion driven business. Sure, there’s research on child behavior and clinical theories, but ultimately it comes down to an opinion.
So, here’s one more.
When it comes to the question raised in the previous blog on the role of grandparents (Role of Grandparents?), my opinion is “it depends.”
For some parents they are fine turning the children over to the grandparents, as they are providing needed child care and the parents offer little guidance. Effectively, the message is, “While it’s on your watch, use your own judgment.”
For other parents they want to exercise much greater control and end up directing the grandparents how they should manage the children and how they should respond to things that come up.
Let’s look at 5-year-old Cole.
Much to the grandparents’ dismay and disapproval, wherever Cole goes with his family – to restaurants, outdoor activities, the beach, etc., Cole has his kiddie iPad in hand. The parents have made it clear that they feel Cole should be allowed to have it with him. They feel it is “soothing” to Cole.
The grandparents disagree and came to me seeking advice on how they should handle it.
My guiding principle is simple and straightforward. Even though, I too, am not a big fan of kiddie iPads, the grandparents need to defer to the parents.
While the grandparents may be playing a more central role than in other eras, the grandparents still take a backseat. That should be the guiding principle.
A final suggestion that is not easy for many families to accomplish.
Try and have regular “sit down” family meetings between the parents and grandparents.
The grandparents can start the discussion with something like, “If we’re going to be in charge for a day or two a week, we want to make sure we are all on the same page. As the parents we will defer to you guys, but we would also like to be able to offer our input and perspective, for what it’s worth, so let’s have an open and honest discussion.”
(We welcome other opinions on the topic.)
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