Grandparents’ relationships are always going to be different than the relationship with our parents. It tends to be less strict as grandparents have already fulfilled the most difficult job which is raising their own children. This means they can relax and just love their grandkids as their parents will have to do all the heavy lifting! This is all great, however, it is never a good idea to let the child do whatever they want, whenever they want. Some rules should still be followed, and it is necessary to intervene if the child does something it’s not supposed to.
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Being a grandfather or grandmother is a joy in our lives. But does that mean we should let everything go?
There is nothing wrong with that: grandparents often tend to melt in front of their grandchildren! But even if their role is not invested with the educational responsibility that falls to parents, they cannot “let everything go” either, or they will be overwhelmed.
When toddlers go to grandma and grandpa’s house, they know that the rules there are different, more flexible, less strict, than those at home. In general, this is enough to guarantee a harmonious and serene relationship. But when the little ones do as they please, are unruly, and try to impose their own rules, there is no choice: it is necessary to intervene and define the limits. They may make us crazy, but our children’s children also need a solid framework that will undoubtedly upset them at the time but will reassure them in the long term. No, not everything is allowed at grandma and grandpa’s house: we must avoid behaving like mini savages or young barbarians at their house, as we do everywhere!
For grandparents who act as nannies and regularly look after their grandchildren, the question is settled naturally. The daily routine allows them to get their bearings, to take on a substitute educational role. Accustomed to their frequent presence, the little ones know what they are allowed to do or not to do, but they can also test on them the words and gestures they have seen elsewhere. For example, they should not be allowed to hit or insult their grandmother because she did not give in to their whims. This kind of behavior must be taken back immediately so that they understand that certain things are forbidden. Once the kids learn about respect, they will appreciate the time they spend with their grandparents even more.
These scenarios are rarer when the meetings are more spaced out and remain special events in the children’s lives. It is then possible to turn each visit into a little celebration with something special every time. The younger children love it when adults take the time to read them stories, to discover colorful picture books with them. Baking a cake together, going to the cinema, seeing an exhibition, planning an outing to the zoo or an amusement park: anything is possible and everything becomes tasty if the activity is shared with a motivated grandparent!