Note: I’d like to start with something personal, so please bear with me!
Last month, I was having a simple conversation with my mom and she suddenly started getting emotional (she’s going through menopause). She was all about how my granny spends more time with us than with her and at that time, I just thought it was her “meno-rage” talking, so I dismissed it. However, two weeks later, when we were at my granny’s place, my mom asked her if she could come back again the next week and my granny replied, “Now, you know I’ve been planning this trip with my friends since a long time, so I have to go.” But, as soon as I mentioned that we would have been coming along too, she said, “Oh of course, you can come sweetheart. Don’t worry about the trip, I’ll cancel it, it wasn’t that much important.”
That sudden change in my granny’s response surprised me but I guess my mom’s reaction was priceless. However, that incident got me thinking: Do grandparents really love their grandchildren more than their children? If yes, why?
The Older People Are, the Kinder and Softer They Are
There’s that perception that the older you get, the more bitter you become. While this might be true for some, that doesn’t mean it applies to all aging adults. In fact, there is a great majority of people change dramatically once they reach old age. Their mindsets and outlooks change significantly and they become less uptight and more compassionate.
There are many reasons for this change, but in my opinion, I believe that when people reach the aging phase, they realize that their time may be short and thus become more tolerant and forgiving.
According to Leon Seltzer, a psychologist, “When people grow older, they start not to become frustrated with and every day and normal setbacks, and become more accepting of the world as it is, rather than how they’d prefer it to be. Their attitude tends to be more tolerant, accepting, and forgiving. As a result, they’re likely to regard the misbehavior of their grandchildren less harshly than was the case when they were rearing their own children.”
Grandparenting Is Different From Parenting
Parenting is difficult because raising a child is not like managing an MBA project or learning to play a musical instrument. There are lots and lots of hidden variables that are outside of a parent’s knowledge or control. As a parent, you can’t always rely on “book-knowledge” and sometimes you even have to listen to your instincts –yes, there is such a thing as parental instinct. In other words, as a parent, you don’t only have to love and take care of your kids, but sometimes you have to take on the role of a tough disciplinarian, which can eventually affect your relationship with your kid. However, you are no longer the “tyrant” parent when you become a grandpa/grandma.
With grandparenting, there is less disciplining and teaching of good and bad behaviors and more loving and having fun with grandkids. Grandparents know they’ve reached the last phase of life and therefore, instead of “parenting” their grandkids, they’d rather spend some quality time with them.
No More Mistakes
For parents, the burden of raising happy, healthy, good and well-adjusted children can become daunting at times. You are bombarded with social expectations, societal attitudes and beliefs about children that make the job of parenting more difficult than it already is. And, during that challenging phase, you end up making a few mistakes.
However, once you reach the aging phase, you learn from your mistakes, realize what you’ve been missing all this time and try to make amends as a grandparent.