Are our adult children too tough about what their children can and cannot eat or drink? It's especially annoying when we are guilt-tripped out of offering them our just-baked chocolate chip muffins or handing them a cold, individual box of apple juice. We have been asked not to provide such malnourishment. So we offer what's allowed--or we cheat and indulge our grandkids.
It's not easy being a grandparent. Nor, evidently, is it easy being a parent with parents who don't mind the boundaries they have set for us. A NYTimes article painted the dilemma our children face this way:
"Parenting can often feel like trying to survive amid barely controlled chaos, so having a wise, experienced grandparent to help out can be lifesaving. But if that grandparent has trouble adhering to basic boundaries, it can feel as if the chaos has maddeningly multiplied."
The list of prime triggers for this maddening multiplication starts with religious practices and goes on to include disciplinary styles, technology and diet.
The article has a quote from a clinical psychologist who has a name for some of us. To wit,
“I would place ‘intrusive grandparents’ in the general category of challenges that adults and couples face in managing relationships with their respective families of origin, and with parents in particular.”
The article is aimed at advising our adult children on how they can kindly, gently but effectively deal with the 'intrusive grandparent.' One point of that advice contains a nugget of truth--a reminder--for all of us, even those of us who tiptoe politely around the boundaries our children have set for us.
"Bear in mind that child-rearing advice often changes from one generation to the next, so there are bound to be some ideas that a grandparent subscribes to — most likely ones that you were raised with — that you find outdated now."
I'll close out this post with an important, feel-good nugget from the article:
“Grandparent love and knowledge is essential to a child’s self-esteem and self-identity. They need to see themselves as part of something larger than their parents. They need to find their place and feel part of a family that has a history.”