Why are the grandchildren so uncomfortable when they are picked up?

Grandpa: “Our grandchildren often get super annoying when parents come to pick them up after a day or week of babysitting. They are 8, 9 and 11 years old. We are a little stricter than their parents and it goes really well in such a day or week. They listen well and are open to a normal, sensible conversation. But when the parents come and stay for a while, it seems as if they see their room for maneuver stretched again. Then they demand enormous attention, react brutally, the parents and grandparents talk through. With some embarrassment, I say we are happy when the parents take the children again. What happens at such a time, and how do we prevent it? ”

Name is known by the editor. (This column is anonymous because parenting difficulties are sensitive.) Want to present a parenting dilemma? Send your question or your reactions to educated@nrc.nl

Keeps an eye on resilience

Louis Tavecchio: „Grandparents and children belong to different ‘parent generations’: grandfather probably grew up in the command household of earlier times, his children have been given a more indulgent negotiation upbringing based on harmony, and people find it annoying to say ‘no’ the children say.

“It could also be that when grandfather is a babysitter, he feels compelled to be a little stricter than usual. Just as much as grandparents can enjoy grandchildren, it can be exhausting to be an entertainer, fix things, settle fights for days in the 70s and over. Then there may be a tendency to take stricter steps, and to limit the behavior of the grandchildren somewhat earlier to prevent or suppress their own irritation.

“These two different ‘educational cultures’ meet as soon as the parents show up at the grandparents’ door. Now the authority of grandparents for the children no longer applies. They are not waiting for their turn, but will, possibly out of enthusiasm and joy, certainly want to join the conversation.

“Grandpa’s resilience may have already taken a hit after all those days, and he also wants to talk to his parents. The whole thing is very understandable.

“The question arises cautiously as to whether parents of grandparents can ask to care for children at this age for several days, or even an entire week, especially if the care has a structural character.”

Make it a ritual

Liesbeth Groenhuijsen: “Such a transfer is unresolved for children at this age because it is a transitional moment between two different parenting styles. It is unclear if the regime now applies: that of their parents or grandparents. In addition, the children probably want their parents’ attention, but the adults may have an eye for each other. The collection also often takes place at the end of the day when the children are already tired.

“Make the transfer a ritual that begins with a longer preparation time. Say: ‘Your parents are coming again soon, we should probably go quietly and pack your things. We are already getting your coats and shoes ready. ‘ This prepares the children for the excitement when the parents stand at the door. You can also do something fun with a ‘parent hat’: Grandpa takes off his hat and one of the parents puts it on.

“Keep the moment when the parents take the children with them briefly: Say hello, exchange a few words and then say goodbye. Save the catch for a regular family visit.

“Do not be embarrassed when you wave the kids away again. It is understandable and normal for grandparents to experience ‘parental fatigue’ after a few days with the grandchildren. ”

Leave a Comment