“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” ― Sam Levenson
If there’s one belief I support very strongly, it has to be that I lived my childhood best because of my grandparents. To me they were god sent angels to show to me the epitome of love and care in human form. It is absolutely essential that grandchildren bond well with grandparents. I remember how discipline was an alien world when in my grandmother’s room. I’ve practically even blackmailed my mother into complaining her to my grandmother. (I just hope my mother is not reading this, or heaven help me). Grandparents require love, and the purest of it they get from their grandchildren, and in cherishing that love, they live but for their grandchildren. Here is why it is absolutely necessary that every child experience a childhood full of grand parents and their parenting!
9. Building the respect for elderly
Psychologists have pointed to how you grow up to be a reflection of your early childhood experiences. A smooth and loving childhood is essential for a human being to prosper and be humanly to say the least. Children who’ve grown up in a house with grandparents, having a loving relationship with them, tend to be more caring and loving towards the elderly in their later years. Infact, it is only when they see their parents provide and care for their grandparents that they’ll later adopt the practise with their own parents. Childhood which has been witness to unfavourable relationships with grandparents often turn children harsh towards the elderly. For a child to build respect, it is often a first with their grandparents and then the world beyond.
8. A firm blanket of protection
A number of studies have seen how modern day children are being misled into unfavourable activities due to lack of parental time. A number of households today have both the parents working. In such cases, if the child is provided love and support from the grandparents, the bonding grows to such an optimum level that the child has little influence from friends and peers. On the contrary, if the child is left by himself, as in most nuclear families, they’d rather pick onto acts of rebellion, retaliation and all that makes them a part of the herd that matures faster than they should.
7. Providing a structure of religious education
Believe it or not, atheism is seen most in the families where the children were not exposed to grandparental love and teachings. Grandparents are often their connect to spirituality, god and folk tales. It is mostly grandparents who imbibe in the children a sense of moral and religious learning. 6 of 10 students from kindergarten are often seen confessing how their first lesson of existence of god and the building of fear of god came mostly from their grandmothers. This is seen most in the Oriental nations as compared to the Western World. However, in the western nations too, grandchildren are accompanied to religious places mostly by their grandparents.
6. Parental Retaliation does not lead to unfortunate circumstances
Often times, in a quest to discipline the child, parents turn harsh in their behaviour towards the kid. This may instigate a rebellious attitude in the child. Psychologists like Freud have also pointed out in their Psychodynamic theory that a child exposed to rough behaviour of parents may retaliate and do unkindly things to gain attention. This risk is minimized by the presence of grandparents. Like they often say, the enemy of both the generations is the sandwiched generation. Grandchildren tend to then share their feelings with their grandparents instead of being misled in the company of peers. This also prevents them from growing averse to their parents.
5. Retaining the essence of childhood
Childhood is mostly about retaining innocence and purity. I stand by it completely that you can never be stolen off your childhood till you prosper in the shadow of your grandparents. The maturity creeps in just as the grand parenting creeps out. And no, don’t blame me for hating maturity. I don’t. Just I despise the loss of innocence. Research has proved that the best childhood is experienced by children who have lived in the same house as their grandparents without any personal conflicts among the parents and grandparents. And well, I vouch for it too!
4. A stronger cultural and behavioural foundation
What is seen best in those with a sense of Diaspora, the children have best connection to their own culture, tradition and behaviour through the touch they may maintain with their grandparents. Not only do children living with grandparents experience this but also those who connect with their grandparents over vacations have a more founded base of culture than those who do not remain in touch with their grandparents. It is often seen that children in nuclear families face issues of confused identity due to lack of placing their own identity in the structural hierarchy. They do not know where to trace back their roots to. And everyone knows that a tree with no roots is a fallen one.
3. Learning from their experiences
You may have lived just a decade, but if it is with your grandparents you are perhaps five times more experience. Children who share a favourable bonding with their grandparents are seen to understand and judge the world better. Spending more time with grandparents also means that you’ve heard them narrate more of their own instances. It may seem that a 4 year old would not pick up much from those, but psychologists claim otherwise. Those instances rather leave some permanent imprints on the learning and foundation of the children.
2. Right balance of discipline and fun
Parents are often bent on disciplining their children to be obedient and better than others. Infact, even more they may adopt a certain sense of comparison between their own children and their peers. Sometimes this leads to exceeded academic and personal pressure which may effect the child aversely. The grandparents would rather not build the pressure on the child. They would make sure the child is obedient but their guidance will be more lenient. Their discipline would be a result of their own incidents and experiences they narrate to the child than external forces which a parent may resort to in order to discipline the child. Their punishments are also less harsh yet more effective.
1. To know unconditional love
And this I don’t think anybody would vouch for more than me, but the grandparent’s love is most unconditional. There’s nothing they’d ever get out of you. To know a grandparent’s love is to know that no matter what, there’s double backing you’ll always have. Once the grandchildren step in, it is mostly just them that the grandparent’s live for. And if you’ve had grandparents half as amazing as mine, I am pretty sure you won’t need explanation or reasons for why the bonding is so important. You just know it is. You know that it is the basis of your foundation, your grooming. You know that you are today what they built of your yesterday.
“It’s special, grandparents and grandchldren. So much simpler. Is it always so, I wonder? I think perhaps it is. While one’s child takes a part of one’s heart to use and misuse as they please, a grandchild is different. Gone are the bonds of guilt and responsibility that burden the maternal relationship. The way to love is free.” ― Kate Morton, The House of Riverton