Grandparents develop a very special and particular love for their grandchildren.

However, there are cases in which this relationship can take on profoundly negative edges. This occurs when they constantly interfere in important decisions in the life of their grandchildren, contradicting and undermining the role of the child’s parents.

Between grandchildren, children and parents

There is no manual to be parents, we all make ourselves on the fly, usually based on mistakes made, many times, for the love of our children.

The upbringing, love and protection that we offer them, change us profoundly and accepting and assuming all the responsibility that having a child implies, throughout life, is what ultimately makes us parents and not the isolated fact. to procreate That responsibility is ours and no one else’s.

But sometimes things are not so perfect: when grandparents want to take the role of parents in the upbringing and education of their grandchildren, taking responsibility away from parents, a host of problems can arise.

a special relationship

The wisdom and experience of grandparents are an exceptional gift in family life, but if they are not handled properly, with balance and prudence, they can cause bitter disputes, affect family ties and damage the emotional development of children. Surely you have noticed that the love of grandparents towards their grandchildren is something very special and particular and that is explained by several reasons.

Normally it is a more mature and wise feeling, since the grandfather or grandmother is at a stage in which they have gone through countless experiences, good and bad, which allow them to focus on life and problems with a very poise and serenity. individuals.

Another important fact is that in most cases, they have more economic resources available, which, together with the desire to do what they could not do with their own children, can lead them to see in their grandchildren a second chance to do the same things. stuff.

In addition, by having more time available, it is possible for them to pay attention to the small details that feed the illusion of a child, details that the parents themselves, due to the logical demands of daily life, often cannot attend to. This creates a very special bond between grandparents and grandchildren.

types of grandparents

Gerontologist Bernice Neugarten, from the University of Chicago, clarifies that there are different types of grandparents and their presence and influence is also different.

Here are some of them:

-The formal grandparents are those who do what a grandparent should do with their grandchildren, recognizing at all times the authority of the parents and not interfering in what does not correspond to them.

-Funny grandparents just want to have a good time with the kids. For them there are no rules, no routines, no order and everything is pure fun, but when things get complicated you have to educate or correct a child, they give it to their parents. On other occasions, they simply tolerate her and even tolerate and applaud her tantrums or whims. -Grandparents who are true surrogate parents, fully assuming responsibility for their grandchildren, either out of necessity or due to lack of commitment on the part of the parents.

-Wise grandparents are a refuge and support for their children who have become parents. They do not judge, they are willing to help when asked, but they do not disqualify parents and they do not interfere in the education or discipline of their grandchildren. For all this, they turn out to be very reliable and loved, their great virtue being prudence.

-Distant grandparents: for various reasons or circumstances, they are not close to their grandchildren, physically or emotionally.

dangerous signs

But not everything is perfect and sometimes things take a negative turn.

These grandparents become toxic for the family dynamics and especially for their grandchildren, having some repetitive and harmful behaviors. For example, they get involved in everything related to their grandchildren: studies, extracurricular activities such as dance, soccer or singing, they enroll them on their own and without consulting them in various activities, they take them to eat and give them food without consulting them, they talk to their doctor etc. The most damaging thing about all this is that they do it without the child’s parents knowing it and, worse still, sometimes they know it but openly contradict them.

Another extremely harmful attitude in these “toxic grandparents” is when they look for a “favorite” among their grandchildren or prefer the grandchild they perceive as more “vulnerable”.

Sometimes, these attitudes are disqualifying towards parents, using phrases like “You don’t know” or “Let me do it”, even in front of children.

All this can lead to a kind of competition against the parents in all possible aspects, seeking to “win over” the child, giving him gifts or letting him do those things that his parents have expressly forbidden him, creating a very negative complicity.

Sometimes, these attitudes reach a form of manipulation of the children, against their parents and in favor of the grandparents.

To do

Grandparents can be the great link between generations and a vast resource of wisdom. Countless studies speak of its importance in the upbringing and development of children, because they give them an idea about the passage of time, inculcate traditions and customs, provide them with another way of seeing things, etc. The key is, as in many things, in a healthy and constructive communication between adults, for the good of the children and the whole family, clearly establishing the limits that should not be crossed.

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