Training for Grandparents

09 June 2016 Categories: Gerry's Corner

You’ve raised a family, took care of your elderly parents and maybe Grandparents and now you expect me to take courses on how to be a grandparent, what is this world coming to?

Last week while on my riding lawnmower cutting approximately 2 acres of grass not lawn but grass, I was doing my usual thinking. It is a time where I try to figure out the world and solve all its problems or more specifically try to understand and solve my own financial or personal issues. I was thinking why is it so difficult to continue being a parent and be a grandparent. I thought I had come up with the answer. Our kids don’t come to us for advice anymore therefore explaining their continuous questionable decisions which inevitably ripple back to us in the form of worry, concern and unfortunately in some cases financially. I am not insinuating that I have serious issues in my family but it is not the parenting role that I would have expected or hoped for. Of course the first conclusion you come to, is it is only with us. Where did we go wrong and how can we fix it?

The next day I read an article in MacLean’s Magazine entitled “Grandma’ll do it” and there it was, I was not just us but rather all of North American was feeling it too. The role of grandparent has totally changed and no one told us. The role is not as it was with our parents or grandparents but it is being redefined by our kids to the point that now we have to be trained. It is no longer something that you learned by living, growing up, getting experience, figuring it out and following our role models that was our elders. Now everything is put into question. Tradition and status quo is no longer. Instead of seeking advice as we did, we are expected to be on standby for whatever they may need, whenever they need it. That could mean nothing for a long time or change to a lot for long time. The big culprit is the internet. The internet has all the answers and everything is immediate which is what kids expect. The kids today regardless of age do not need their parents except when they feel they have a need. This may sound crazy but it means they do not need their parents for advice and wisdom; they need their parents to do things for them to make their personal lives better. The problem is we don’t subscribe to the same values or life styles.

Here is an excerpt from the MacLean’s article (June 13/16 issue) that explains it all: “The fact is, parents no longer see grandparents as oracles of knowledge; the internet provides ready advice for every bum rash, tantrum and night terror. Grandparents are encouraged to catch up with the research, which explains the burgeoning industry of grandparenting classes at hospitals and child learning centres- but at the same time, in an era characterized by angst-ridden child rearing and a surplus of parenting literature, parents often want to make every call themselves. The Boomers, accustomed to having things their own way, are increasingly faced with a dynamic over which they have little control. The parent-grandparent relationship has never been more complicated”

And I thought this was MY problem.