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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Raising A Grandchild


Raising a grandchild is not something I planned on doing when I was raising my own children. It can come about in a myriad of ways. But when it happens to us, we have to make adjustments. We have to deal with a new reality, the reality that there are significant differences between being elderly and being a child.

The biggest difference between the elderly and the child is the sense of time. For the elderly, time is going by quickly; for the child, time is going by slowly. This makes for some problems when it comes to deadlines. It makes for conflict. The last thing we grandparents want is conflict, but there it is day in and day out. We grandparents are in a hurry, because time is running out. Our grandchild is not in a hurry; to her time is going by slowly and she has all the time in the world. So, when it comes to getting her dressed, or getting her to school, or getting her to go just about any place, especially places she doesn’t want to go, conflict raises its ugly head.

                “Hurry up, you’re going to be late,” we say over and over again as the child dawdles.

                We’re focused on one thing—being on time. The child is focused on another—the imaginary friend he's playing with, the toy he can’t find, finishing the game he's playing in his mind.

                What are some of the conflicts we encounter virtually every day? Getting the child dressed. Getting the child to eat (eating seems to be the last thing on kids’ minds, at least, until they get hungry). Getting the child to the point of readiness, in general. Getting him bathed and to bed at a reasonable hour.

                What does this mean for us grandparents? It means we have to be patient. We have to control our temper. We have to walk a fine line between prodding the child along without screaming at her, without physically manhandling her and, at the same time, getting her to the state of readiness. It tries us in ways we can hardly tolerate, but tolerate it we must.

                The conundrum is that as elderly people, we want to focus on ourselves and the things that interest us. Of course, one of our interests is our grandchild, and we must focus on him or her first. We must slow down, think, be patient, and manage the conflict.

                What is the reward for this? The reward is that our grandchild loves us. The child wants to shower us with love, and he does. When the child slows down, he or she hugs us, sits on our laps, kisses us. It’s genuine love he or she has for us. And that’s the reward we get for the sacrifices we make to raise our grandchild.

               

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice post.

Tanya Reimer said...

So well said. Enjoy that love and all those hugs! What a beautiful post.