Grandparents !!!

Ask any kid and they will say “Grandparents are the best.” Kids will give number of reasons to prove their point. It’s a world known fact that Grandparents shower their grandkids with lot of love-affection and of course gifts. Now a days families are often spread across the country or even around the world, sometimes grandparents live with us or visit often for months.

Last session, in our class couple of kids didn’t finish their homework and started giving me excuses. One said I had an exam, other said I went out of town but one excuse caught my attention, a small girl said, “Aunty, my mom didn’t remind me to do my homework because she is very busy now a days.” After listening to her excuse I told her,” I know sweetie, mom has to take care of number of things that’s why she is busy but it’s not your mom’s responsibility to remind you, you should remind her and if needed ask for her help.” On that she instantly replied,” Every time she reminds me aunty, but you know what, this time she is very busy doing things for my grandparents that’s why she forgot. My grandparents should go now, my mom says she has to do lot of work for them.” I was surprised to hear her innocent yet honest reply. I know every family is different and has different set of rules & routines. One can’t be judgemental on these family matters because they are very personal. We all know children are very observant and our, parents, behaviour could have a lasting impression on their tender mind. Hence I decided to make this as a class topic to understand kid’s views about their grandparents and if possible help them clear their doubts or misunderstanding if any in general.

All the students shared their true feelings with me about grandparents & here is what they had said, in their words… (kids 7-12yrs)

  1. I love my grandparents because they get number of gifts for us but I want them to stay with us for few days not more.
  2. I like my grandparents, they live with us , they tell us stories, give gifts but grandmother does prayers all the time since early morning till evening & I don’t like that. Then my mom has to do all the work and we eat Indian food almost every day…..oh…
  3. I love my grandparents, when they come they get so many gifts, yummy snacks and books. But then we don’t go out when they are with us because they don’t like outside food or can’t walk much, so it’s boring… I want them to stay with us but I want to go out too and have fun…
  4. No aunty I don’t want my grandparents to stay with us I too like them a lot but then they disturb our schedule completely, mom is always busy doing something and saying ‘no’ to almost everything we ask for… so many restrictions… I don’t like it…rather I prefer going to grandparents’ house and enjoy during holidays…
  5. I like my grandparents because they get gifts, clothes and sweets but then I don’t know why, my mom always wears Indian clothes and she doesn’t laugh or talk much… so it’s no fun…so they should come and go shortly…
  6. I like my grandparents but grand mom constantly guides us about what to do, what not to do, how to do, when to do…oh… and then she tells how she was doing it in her days with limited facilities etc.. Once in a while we enjoy listening her but not every day aunty… it’s boring…
  7. It’s so much fun with grandparents. My grandma cooks awesome food and we get to eat delicious food when she is around. Wish she could stay more, but she lives in a different city and goes to office so she can’t take off.
  8. I enjoy my grandparents stay, they get gifts, teach me new things, spend time with me, they are there when I come home but its different aunty when parents & grandparents both are at home together, I don’t know…I love them…
  9. Aunty, my parents keep forcing us to do certain things whenever grandparents are with us but not otherwise, like not to watch TV while eating, wear Indian clothes frequently, have table manners etc. if we don’t follow they keep scolding us… so grandparents should go after a while so that our parents won’t force or scold us and we can continue our favourite routine.
  10. My grandparents are good and get gifts whenever they visit us but they are in their room most of the time. So I hardly spend time with them.
  11. I like my grandma, she is old but active and prefers to stay at home… My parents both go to the work and they ask me and my sister to stay at home till they come back and you know sometimes they come very late and we can’t go to play so its not fair, I want my granny to go back after few days.
  12. I love my grandparents, especially my grandpa, he is very active and takes me to the playground but my granny she mostly watches TV with high volume and then we have to talk softly. Also she doesn’t allow us to watch anything if her favourite show is going on … I don’t like that…now we are planning to buy another TV aunty.
  13. I like my grandparents, they are very kind but they smell different aunty & they tell the same thing again and again … Its ok if they stay for some time..
  14. I love my grandparents a lot. They live in a separate apartment, just next door. So I go to them anytime I want, If grandma cooks something special she sends it or calls me, every day after school I go to my granny’s house as my parents are working, there we play together , watch TV, finish homework so it’s so much fun…
  15. Grandparents are fun and I especially enjoy my grandma’s special delicacies which she cooks during her stay. They tell stories, teach us special things, play with us, take our side during arguments, I love them but then during their stay because of their health problems we rarely go out and we get very less family time (just four of us) which I really miss…. I like them a lot & want them to stay but I like my family time too…

Pretty interesting and eye opening, isn’t it?? Indeed, kids are very observant. But are our kids at fault to think in this manner about their grandparents???? Of course not. We all know it’s a blessing to have grandparents around and kids love them. Although kids sometimes wonder what they have in common with their grandparents, the generation gap, cultural differences, habits, expectations, and health issues everything makes things rather uninteresting for them. Olden day’s grandparents were considered family not extended family but today our kids are so accustomed to their triangular/square families and standards of living that presence of any extra person in the family makes them uncomfortable. It’s surely not their fault we, parents, have given them that environment since birth. These are the effects of the choices we have made in our lives for the better future & better opportunities and now we have to face it, understand it and balance it in our own way.

From this discussion, I understood one thing for sure & that is, in this fast paced world where the influence of technology, media & living standards affect our children, we, parents need to ensure that we maintain the much needed balance in our life where we can accommodate our near-dear ones in our schedules with less difficulty and we give our kids care and attention even when near-dear ones are with us, in short we need to be more flexible & accommodative. This can be achievable only when all the family members are on the same page and we, parents, need to find different ways to make it happen. At the same time we need to teach our kids to respect elders. I am not saying that we should use ‘old age’ to demand respect and care but teaching kids these important life skills will help them lead a happy & successful life. From my own personal experience I know, it’s not an easy task but worth trying for sure. Needless to say, couple of decades later we will be in our parent’s shoes and our kids will follow the same path which we are following today….. Because we are teaching them by our own example

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