Positive Grandparenting: The significant role of grandparents in the upbringing of children
Grandparents have been around as parents from a long time. They also have the first hand experience of being a parent. So what do I have to tell them? A lot has changed since the time they were parents. Life was a little more simple and straight. Today the life is much busy. The hustle and bustle of today’s fast paced life makes me wonder, whether our children are missing out some essential lessons of life. Grandparents have experienced love, happiness, joy and satisfaction. They have travelled the road of life. They have handled sorrows, faced all the challenges with integrity and courage. They can be the experienced teachers to their grandchildren and can teach them the values essential for growing up into wholesome individuals.
‘Grandparents are the finest teachers the children could ever have.’
Most grandparents would agree with me that being a grandparent is more enjoyable than being a parent. At this juncture the life is more relaxed, responsibilities are comparatively less .Grandparents have more time to enjoy the childhood and the process of growing up of their grandchildren as compared to their own children. It is evident that the bond between the grandparent and grandchild is special; it is spontaneous, light hearted and friendly.
Grandparents can play a significant role in developing the following values in their grandchildren:
Happiness: It is the first and the most essential lesson to be taught. It is an art that has to be learnt. There are people who crib despite having everything and there are people who sail happily through the toughest of the storms. I want you to be the ‘role models’ to your grandchild. Make the most of your day. Be generous. Be happy. The joy you radiate is infectious. The children will catch it from you. Learning to be happy at this age would enable them to face the challenges of life ahead….happily.
Love: How often we say to our child, “I will give you a candy if you hug me.” This is not love. In fact it is a lesson that makes your child calculative and manipulative. Love does not bloom with conditions. It is expressed in a gentle touch; it is cultivated by doing things together. Children need to learn about being loving persons who are compassionate about the feelings of others. Show them that you care about others and imitators as they are, the children will learn from you.
Spirituality: It’s the faith that would keep them moving in life. It’s the faith that would keep them standing tall in the toughest of storm. Build their faith. Teach them to pray and meditate. Teach them to be spiritual. Let them join you when you pray. Children learn by observation. Read them a passage from your holy scriptures before going to bed. Talk to them about your faiths and positive beliefs. Give them an anchor to hold on to, later in their life.
Honesty: Teaching the lesson of honesty is simple. You have to be honest as a family. Be fair, keep your promises and do not lie to each other. Children imitate adult behavior. However inconvenient, uphold family rules. At times in our affection and love for our children we try to cover up their mistakes. I would suggest that do not cover up the mistakes of your grandchildren, do not offer excuses for their undesirable behavior. Teach them to accept their mistakes. Being honest and genuinely apologetic about ones mistakes is a lesson to be learnt early in life.
Courage: Facing the day to day challenges of life, without being stressed is not easy. Handling ups and downs in life requires courage. To make your child courageous let them experience the reality of life. Offer a secure environment to your grandchild but do not shield them too much. Let them understand that life is a mix of positive and negative. Someone in the family may die, someone may get hurt. Be with them at these moments. Hear about their feelings. Make them understand that these things happen in life. Reach out to help others, so that they learn this simple lesson early in childhood, that helping others reduces our own pain.
Today I look up to the best teachers for my children, the grandparents, to teach the values of happiness, spirituality, love, honesty and courage. I reach out to them, to seek help in creating a compassionate youth for tomorrow. The task of creating a younger generation, which is empathic towards the emotions of other fellow beings, is not easy. But In grandparents, I as a parent seek positive and experienced role models who can help us raise children; who will grow up to create a world that is a little more loving than it is at present.
© 2013 Dr.Moninder Kaur