Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, but some people have noticed that baby boomers seem less interested in being grandparents than previous generations. Let’s explore some of the different perspectives on this issue.
One person said, “My parents and their cohort friends just seem overly concerned with boundary setting and their own self-interests in grandparenting as opposed to helping raise and nurture their grandchildren. Obviously it wasn’t their choice to have grandchildren, but it’s so disappointing to see their disinterest in my children. In essence, they make clear that if they are going to help with the kids, we owe them because it’s a hassle. It’s just so disappointing.”
Someone else pointed out, “As a member of Generation X, I’d like to remind you that they weren’t too keen on raising us either. I learned to make dinner for me and my siblings at twelve. We’re talking about the “I’ll give you something to cry about” generation. Being called a latchkey kid was common for us.”
Seeing Both Sides
Another share a perspective from the grandparents’ side. “I have seen a lot of people talking about grandparents’ ‘involvement’, when they mean they want every drop of the grandparents free time devoted to the grandkids. That’s not realistic or fair. Also, a lot of parents waltz in with a list as long as your arm micromanaging every moment of the kids’ day and how things are gonna go. There’s a middle ground here.”
All About Culture
Grandparents’ attitude towards caring for their grandkids may also have something to do with culture. “My in-laws are Indian and Indian culture LOVES kids and very much have an “it takes a village” mindset. My parents’ cultures are a bit more hands-off.”
Are They Retired?
Another made a good point about how much time grandparents’ have to devote to grandkids. “My in-laws are retired, my Dad isn’t, so they have much more time to devote to their grandkids. My in-laws live much closer than my parent do.”
Fear of Overstepping
“My parents don’t want to be perceived as not following our rules or stepping on toes. My in-laws feel like part of “the village” and feel more autonomy to “parent” how they want. It has resulted in a few disagreements though.”
One person couldn’t care less about their desire to be grandparents, but said, “I’m mostly irritated that none of them want to be called grandma and grandpa. Instead they want to be addressed but these increasingly absurd names. I do believe that everyone gets to choose how they’re addressed but I feel like an idiot telling my kid to call their grandparents Gogla and DoPop or whatever.”
Social Media Grandparents
“My parents are Facebook grandparents. Have never babysat, bought a gift or helped in any way, but boy do they proclaim their love for these kids on social media.”
“On the flip side, and I’m a parent of a 3.5 year old, I think some people who have kids act so entitled regarding childcare and grandparents, and take advantage. Grandparents can be a great bonus, but in my house, it’s not a given regarding childcare.”
“I do not think it is surprising. Parents these days are so my way or the highway about parenting. So many rules and restrictions and going no contact over the smallest issues. It makes sense why grandparents are less involved.”
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