Today's grandmothers are very different: some travel the world and do not get out of the Internet, others cry over TV shows. Some are convinced of the undoubted harm of disposable diapers, while others are not averse to giving birth to a child, but are too busy.
Today's grandmothers are very different: some travel the world and do not get out of the Internet, others cry over TV shows. Some are convinced of the undoubted harm of disposable diapers, while others are not averse to giving birth to a child, but are too busy
And now the relationship with the grandmother must be built, taking into account our changed world and them, so unlike the grandmothers of previous generations. Alla Barkan, a pediatrician, child psychologist, doctor of medical sciences, professor and grandmother of two grandchildren, talks about this:
First of all, I would divide our grandmothers (and partly grandfathers too), regardless of their age, into "public" (socially active) and family ones. If your grandmother, even in retirement, works and is quite successful, then no matter how much she loves her grandson or granddaughter, she has neither real opportunities nor a desire to devote herself entirely to raising a baby. Indeed, sometimes they become grandparents at an age when they themselves are still in the middle of the marathon distance of their lives. And, of course, a break on the road to help somehow raise a grandson is not the possibility of a second wind, but the blocking of oxygen for the first. This is a socially active grandmother.
She is ready to provide her "half-help" - to change for an hour, to bring groceries into the house. But don't expect her to be sacrificial about her grandchildren. In the best case, support will be reduced to material assistance. It is much easier for such a grandmother to pay for a nanny than to babysit herself. But to soak up and sip on the weekend is a pleasure, not a business. Moreover, even when she still has to retire, she would rather do community work than do laundry and cook for her grandson. Before blaming such grandmothers for the lack of kindred feelings, try to understand why they are not ready to help you at the right time. Often this is due not only to the peculiarities of their temperament and the degree of warmth of relations with you, but also to those adult behavior patterns that they saw in childhood and which settled in the subconscious. If a grandmother comes from socialism, who has learned well from the cradle that a woman, first of all, should realize herself in work, and not be a housewife, if her grandmothers never sat with her in childhood, then she will also follow a similar stereotype of behavior in life. Unfortunately, the generation of former Soviet people almost did not manage to know the power of grandmother's love, and the echoes of this make themselves felt to this day.
It will be much more willing to take care of her grandson by a family grandmother who has remained so despite Soviet stereotypes. But this is not just a housewife who has never worked. It's just that this category of grandmothers, unlike the first, has completely different values in life and the family is at the top of all values. And the top of the top, of course, is the grandchildren. Such a grandmother will offer her services herself, and the child will never have anyone more devoted than her, except for you. This is a person who has a special gift of "grandmotherhood", and in its depth at times surpasses newborn motherhood. Having gone through water, fire and copper pipes, this “babushkonism” is characteristic only of sacrificial grandmothers, for whom a grandson or granddaughter is enlightenment, insight in life. However, there are some pitfalls here as well.
Before you start negotiations with a selfless grandmother, pay attention to the following nuances:
- how trusting is your relationship with her;
- how emotionally responsive she is to your problems;
- how touchy, because resentment can turn even the most sacrificial grandmothers into snow queens.
If your relationship is like a powder keg or a minefield with patches of safe lawns, do not bet on these lawns and become a sapper for the well-being of the baby. Maybe you will be able to enjoy the silence of the truce for some time, but how long this time will be is a big question. Because even with the best relationship between "fathers and sons", disagreements about the upbringing of heirs stick out like needles from a hedgehog.
Even if your grandma is perfection and you've always gotten along wonderfully, even if you both adore the adorable baby equally, dangerous reefs await you, which many daughters-in-law, mothers-in-law, sons-in-law and other close relatives have already stumbled upon.
Jealousy and rivalry - the more the grandmother takes care of her grandson, the more she gives him affection and warmth, not forgetting about pampering, the more often you are haunted by an almost unconscious feeling of jealousy towards her, and you can unwittingly start fighting for zones of influence on your child.
Unforeseen conflicts and quarrels
Hiring a nanny for a child, you calculate the time of her stay with the baby with homeopathic accuracy. But this rule almost does not apply to her own grandmother, and her working day is usually not normalized. And, it happens, an overworked woman (and, moreover, at an age no longer young), being annoyed, gives advice, which, in turn, annoys you (Of course, an outsider would not dare to do this). But, because of the rivalry, which we have already mentioned, no one wants to plead guilty. So often the era of endless conflicts and quarrels begins.
Turning grandchildren into hostages of family relationships
Many grandmothers see in the parents of their grandchildren only their overgrown children who have reached some social status, but have not grown up to parental independence. So they are trying to “educate” their undergrowths with the help of instructions to their grandchildren. These veiled showdowns between two generations of a family through a naive kid are a serious burden on his fragile nervous system.
Disagreements in parenting methods are the most common cause of conflicts between compassionate grandmothers and self-willed mothers. Any indulgence of a grandmother to her grandson is regarded by modern parents as elementary pampering. And pampering is exactly what is forbidden in the house by mom and dad, and its boundaries are unlimited as well as vague. In fact, this is still something that helps young parents look more mature and reasonable in the eyes of others; something for which they were once punished by their own moms and dads. What is not allowed to be done, although you want it to the point of madness, and, despite severe prohibitions and parental retribution, you still do in childhood. Pampering is, first of all, a manifestation of the child's curiosity, testing from the first steps of various aspects and phenomena of our life, the development of creative thinking.
What to do
Seek reasonable compromises Don't impose your parenting methods on your grandmother if she stubbornly clings to the old methods that have already "gone good results". This will be perceived by her as a new reason for resentment. After all, she once already raised you or your husband with their help. Well, the fact that then there were “other times, other customs” does not matter seriously. Everything in the world is changing, except for people: what a person was a thousand years ago, apparently, he will always be like that - there is a lot of good and bad in us.
If you see that the grandmother is coping with difficulty, that she is irritated and splashes her emotions on the child and on you, invite a nanny for a few hours or a couple of days a week. Explain that you care about the he alth of your mother (mother-in-law, mother-in-law), and are not at all trying to wean her from the baby - and you will see how your grandmother perks up. And you can catch two birds with one stone: reduce the flow of grandmother's instructions and show care.
If there is no understanding between mother-in-law and mother-in-law and their views on raising children are too different, try not to push them together by dividing spheres of influence. Let one take care of the child at home, and the other leads to sections and circles. Thus, less and more mobile grandmothers will feel significant and needed not only for their grandchildren, but also for grown-up children.
Lead by example
Psychologists have noticed: in those families where the grandmother is respected and honored and she feels it, there are almost no conflicts between "fathers and children". If there is no respect and love for the members of the older generation in the family, the grandmother tries to defend the right to her own opinion, and this gives rise to quarrels. Therefore, in order to maintain peace in the house, educate the child's respect for the grandmother by your own example: give her signs of attention in the presence of the baby, do not forget to call her more often, take an interest in her he alth.
All the antics of grandchildren with grandmothers, neglect of them is the imitation of children's parental behavior and, to some extent, direct playing along with mom and dad. But if today all this is just innocent childish servility, then tomorrow it will become common behavior towards you when you become a grandmother. Don't be afraid to talk about grandma's pay. In many countries, it's customary for parents to pay their parents for time spent with their grandchildren. This confuses us, but there is nothing shameful here. After all, in America, for example, this fee is so meager compared to the maintenance of a nanny that it is more like a tribute to traditions. In Russia, pensioners live worse than in America, so most working children consider it their duty to help their parents. In fact, this financial assistance will not be a payment for raising grandchildren at all, but simply a care that allows the grandmother not to feel obliged. does grandma's love have a nationality?
Many are convinced that the tradition of sitting with their grandchildren almost to school is a purely Russian tradition. However, I am convinced that this is inherent in women of the older generation at the subconscious level. Yes, I was told about a grandmother from Germany who gave her daughter a Christmas present of colorfully decorated gutshines (gift cards) for 10 hours of "freedom" from caring for a baby, which a young mother could use over the next year. That is, the grandmother gave the time that she will spend with her own grandson. But I also know another story of a grandmother, a native German woman from the former FRG, who fell into depression and even ended up in the hospital only because her daughter, having given birth to her grandson, did not consider it necessary to invite her mother to help care for the child. The young mother did not even know that her grandmother took a special vacation for this.
So, the mentality is the mentality, and "grandmother'sism" is "grandmother'sism". And even in America, in recent years, there has been a trend atypical for the traditions of this country: 21% of kids under four years old are at home with grandparents and only 7% with nannies, and only 12% of children attend kindergarten.
No one loves us like…
Among the "old-fashioned" grandmother's methods of upbringing, passed down from generation to generation, there is always a textbook set: tenderness, affection, "permissiveness", hyper-guardianship, perceived by parents as ordinary pampering. But it is tenderness, affection and overprotection at the beginning of life that is the main thing that ensures the psychological safety of the child. And reasonable “permissiveness” instead of mother’s “non-permissions” is the key to enjoying life and creative thinking and, most likely, an underestimated antidepressant. A child spoiled with affection is unlikely to become a violent terrorist. A child surrounded by attention is unlikely to become a heartless and cynical adult. But parental myopia in many grandmother's undertakings can only see the sources of selfishness and imperfection for a preschooler: the baby, according to parents, is more important to learn how to brush their teeth than fantasize and listen to grandmother's tales.
And far-sighted, probably, we all become over time, and not just like that - this also encoded a special and not yet unraveled wisdom. And, perhaps, this grandmother's "far-sightedness" allows her to look beyond the horizon of the child's traditional capabilities, freeing him from the "Procrustean bed" of parental expectations. The age of a grandmother is the time of atonement for her former parental sins due to her former maternal myopia and inexperience. This is the time of comprehending, finally, that one and only true human love - the main essence of motherhood, which comes belatedly to many women. This is the time of the thaw of human feelings, which is necessary for starting a successful life. And in order for such a start to take place, the wisdom of the grandmother will delicately correct the numerous problems of “fathers and children” invariably in favor of the grandchildren. Because, as the Polish biologist Ludwig Hirschfeld said: “Children are good or bad, but grandchildren are always amazing.”