31 August, 2017
There comes a day when all grandparents retire - voluntarily or involuntarily and look forward to having more free time to spend with families or doing something else. There are many different ways to define that desire. Some grandparents are eager to become full-time babysitters. Many grandparents want to be involved with their families, while still having the freedom to pursue their interests.
With their years of prior parenting experience, our grandparents may find that caring for their grandchildren is a rewarding and fulfilling way to spend their time. With many parents being career focussed, children are left alone or with babysitters. Parents feel safer leaving their children with grandparents, and the children themselves enjoy being pampered by them. This is nice when parents want an occasional evening out. But in some cases, grandparents are willing to babysit while parents are at work regularly.
However, there are some downsides when retirees become full-time babysitters. The most common conflicts occur when grandparents and their adult children have different expectations.
Active Seniors look forward to spending their retirement years pursuing hobbies, traveling or simply having some well-deserved time to themselves. They often enjoy babysitting for their grandchildren from time to time, but they may resent being pushed into providing free childcare on a daily basis.
It’s important to realize that there is a huge difference between occasionally babysitting and taking on full-time childcare while the parents are at work or school. Before agreeing to a childcare arrangement, both grandparents and their adult children should look at the situation very carefully.
Even when grandparents are willing to babysit regularly, they may quickly realize that they aren’t as young as they were when they raised their children. Lowered energy levels and current health problems may make it more difficult than they expected to keep up with young kids all day long. And keeping track of what the children are doing with their phones, computers, and friends can be a bit tiresome and tricky manually for grandparents.
Conflicts can also arise when grandparents and their adult children have different approaches to parenting. While grandparents may have years of experience, they should also respect the parents parenting wishes. For some families, this can be a tricky balance, which can lead to hurt feelings on both sides.
The best way to find an arrangement that fits everyone is to have open, honest communication. No one likes being taken for granted or having others impose on their time, and parenting power struggles can be uncomfortable for everyone. Issues like these will only get worse if they aren’t discussed openly.
It is better the children realise that when their elderly parents say no, they aren't selfish.. they really mean what they say!
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