I know several women that have had children in their mid to late 50's but what I have noticed is that they parent differently than they did with the children that they had earlier in life. They parent like grandparents parent.
I suppose, if you are among my younger readers and/or have not had the opportunity to be a grandparent, I might have confused you. Grandparents parent with the premise of keeping little ones happy and entertained.....heavy on the happy. We don't parent with the fear of spoiling the child. We don't care about that as much as keeping little people safe and happy. We want to be the "fun" grandparents.
So today my thoughts today are on how age impacts the way people parent.
Thought Number One: Parenting-Lite
I have talked to a number of older siblings who have told me, "Mom would of never let me get by with the things she lets [little bro or sis] get by with." In one instance, I was talking to a guy that has a brother that is 23 years younger than he is. He, in fact, has his own 2 kids and says his parents treat his younger sibling very much the same as they treat his children...their grandchildren.
Weeelllll...this has led to me thinking about my own differences as to how I parented the first time around versus how I parent my grandkids. The obvious differences hasn't escaped me. Maybe more so lately has my grandsons have been spending a little extra time at grandma's house lately and I recognize that I don't hold my ground quite as well as I used to. Nope...very slippery slopes these days.
In the long term, I do want to be part of the team that helps these little people to grow up strong and healthy in both body and spirit...but in the short term, I want them to have a really fun childhood. Plus we have the added component of trying to reinforce the rules that their parents have "suggested" that they/we follow. Is it possible to do both: Please, the parents and please the kids?
Dare I say, that the odds of pleasing everyone is remote. First of all your/mine grown children probably are still simmering over the injustices they feel were inflicted on them as children. Now they see how you/I have become all soft and malleable at the hands of their kids. (I am sure this is the case in much older siblings as well.)
One of the many examples of this is: Way back when...I was in my early twenties with my own two little ones, I was probably pretty quick to kiss away any boo-boos or ouchies. A boo-boo could of been anything I deemed not requiring stitches. While, clearly, I never told my kids to "suck it up" or "walk it off", it might of been implied. This morning while getting my youngest grandson ready for school he noticed a little dot of a mark on his hip. Smaller than a mosquito bite but a little bump like maybe a runt of a mosquito bit him. Out comes the Neosporin. I can't even imagine the shame and humiliation that would go with having an actual injury on my watch.
Then we get to the basic principles that come with trying to adhere to they "way" they do things.
My daughter and her family eat very healthy. They boys get lots of fruits and veggies and very little sugar. I am totally in agreement...in theory. I eat healthy and don't eat sugar either but in my quest to be an awesome grandparent, something has to give. Just today, one of my grandsons told me he liked eating at my house because there is desserts during the meal. (He was referring to the happy face on the pancake that was in part chocolate chips for the mouth.)
|Yes, there is a law that Grandmas bake cookies.|
Yes, that would be cookies baking. The anticipation is high. (OH, and just for you mother hens out there judging me...my oven doesn't get hot on the exterior so he is perfectly safe...new technology is an awesome thing.)
Speaking of technology...in lieu of hours in front of the TV...
|Changing the channel|
Seems to be that appliances work for the kid so who am I to deny him some fun.
|Icemakers could be considered educational.|
OK...so I don't JUST park my kiddos in front of appliances. I also teach them things.
|Batman clothing is always appropriate|
|Gambling is both fun and rewarding|
|Choose your tattoos wisely|
|Dancing in the street is ALWAYS good.|
|Cleanliness is next to godliness|
|Hide and seek is a game of skill|
Thought Number Two: Don't Ask Permission, Ask For Forgiveness
OK...so I might not be getting the prize for being the best grandparent in the world but I surely do love the role.
NOTE: And to my daughter and son-in-law. I realize that even when I tell the boys that some things are best to keep as a secret, they run to you and spill their guts. We need to be working on what the word SECRET means.
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