I had lunch recently with a friend whose youngest son is house hunting--only he doesn't want to live too near his older brother. He worries that the older brother--the father of three athletic boys--will pressure his family (he's got one toddler son) to go all-out for soccer and other sports. He's worried, in other words, that gung-ho will be contagious and too much pressure on his small child.
I know what he's talking about. Our grown children and our friends' grown children have expressed similar concerns, only it was about what we might say to their children as they start to play organized sports. One gramps I know is a gung-ho kind of sports guy, and soccer is his go-get-'em sport of choice. His son made it clear how he was to talk to his 5-year-old grandson about sports. When he comes to see a soccer game, there are well-defined boundaries about encouraging words and negative comments and some subtle points in between. There seems to be a concern that the gung-ho of the grandpa would turn off the grandchild--make him lose his love for games and sports, turn a positive into a negative, be a confidence-burner.
I see it all around me. Parents of grown children are being told to follow a family line about how they talk to their grandchildren about events taking place outside the home. It's not necessarily part of the 'everybody's a winner' attitude. That is, everyone on the team gets a trophy, even if the team was in last place. Or an attempt to shield children from the realities of competition. It seems to be more of a 'bring 'em along slowly' attitude. Sometimes we grandparents forget how young our grandchildren are when we take to the sidelines to cheer them on.
But more to the point: our grown children--our grandchildren's parents--are in charge. And like it or not, Young Father Knows Best--even when, in our heart of hearts, we don't think he does.