Children used to be seen and not heard. Now it's grandparents who are advised to take a vow of silence and bite their tongues any time they find themselves on the verge of offering advice. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that grandparents do have the right to make decisions about grandkids under certain circumstances, specifically when the grandkids are in our houses or under our care, especially if the parents aren't on the premises. Read on for five decisions about grandkids that grandparents can make.
1. Grandparents Can Require Respect.
Coming from an era when social interactions were more civil, grandparents are sometimes shocked by the language and behavior of their grandchildren. Grandparents have the right to require the grandchildren to observe a certain level of civility in their presence, even if the standard is higher than what is expected by their parents. It's probably wise, however, not to set the bar too high. It's perfectly okay, for example, to ban profanity in your presence. It may not be advisable to require "sir" and "ma'am" if the parents don't require it. Grandparents do not have to tolerate backtalk from grandchildren, although they should discuss how to handle such behavior with the parents before taking any disciplinary action.
2. Grandparents Can Restrict the Use of Electronic Gadgets.
Our grandparents could have never conceived of a time when the use of electronic gadgets would become an issue in families, but in many families, it is. Grandparents who think that the grandkids overuse electronic devices can approach this issue in several ways. One way is by having a wealth of other activities on tap. The other two strategies are best discussed with the parents ahead of time, although the grandparents do have some rights under the "my house, my rules" clause. They can designate when and where electronic devices can be used, or they can limit the time spent on such devices. Some grandparents espouse instead the idea of bonding with the grandchildren through sharing their electronic diversions.
3. Grandparents Can Protect Their Property.
Collateral damage may occur when grandchildren are on the premises, but grandparents can and should insist that grandkids show respect for their belongings. It's a good life lesson, and somewhere down the line a spouse, roommate or friend will thank you for teaching it. When your grandchildren are very small, you'll have to make a decision: Do you want to put some belongings out of harm's way, or do you want to teach the grandkids to leave them alone? Chances are that you'll make the same choice you made when your own kids were small. On the other hand, maybe your more relaxed attitude as a grandparent means that you'll want to put your treasures out of reach so you don't have to worry about them.
4. Grandparents Can Enforce Rules About Safety.
One of the surest ways to get in trouble with your grandkids' parents is by not enforcing their safety rules. Good grandparents always use child restraints in vehicles and respect other parental guidelines about safety. In addition, grandparents can enforce higher standards of safety than the parents if they choose. Try to resist the temptation to wrap your grandchild in cotton wool, but if an activity strikes you as dangerous, feel free to call it off. There are tons of activities that aren't dangerous. Save the ones that are marginal and let the parents make the call.
5. Grandparents Have Some Say Over Grandkids' Eating Habits.
Like safety issues, food issues can cause discord between parents and grandparents. Grandparents should respect the wishes of the parents in regard to the grandkids' diets, and they should be especially careful about food allergies. In the grandparents' home, however, they have the right to make grandchildren eat at the table and to set other parameters for dining. Wise grandparents do take the time to learn what foods their grandchildren eat readily and to offer some of those foods at every meal. If every mealtime becomes a struggle to get the grandkids to eat, there won't be an opportunity to emphasize those other niceties dear to grandparents' hearts, such as manners and good dinner conversation
Author: Susan Adcox