27 November 2018, by Flora Isabelle
I wanted to write a post in celebration of this month’s Grandparents’ Day (25 November) but when I got down to it, I felt quite conflicted. Because I don’t know exactly how I feel about them.
You see, in the days before Nate came along, it was no secret on the Internet (read this old blog post of mine to get what I mean haha) that I LOVE my in-laws and my extended family. But after the arrival of the lil one, I must admit that things started to get a liiiiitttttle different.
As much as I love and respect them, it is inevitable that we have differing views on discipline and raising a child. I know they are practically experts, having raised 3 wonderful kids of their own but to put it bluntly, this is my child.
And I have to do what I think is best for my child, and also myself.
So after 14 months of trial and error and gingerly trying to work how to raise a baby between parents and grandparents, here are some guidelines that have worked for me:
1) Let go the small things
In a perfect universe, everything will be done my way. Everyone will wash their hands 3,500 times a day, they will speak perfect English and they will dote on, but not spoil my child. But unfortunately, we don’t live in utopia and I’ve since tell myself to let go the smaller things and correct the bigger things. After all, nobody likes to be told what to do (I am referring to the grandparents) all the time. Of course, what’s small or what’s big is a case of personal judgement and it’s up to you to pre-determine your own boundaries.
2) Explain that disagreement is not disrespect
One thing that took me (quite a while) to explain and establish with my in-laws is that just because I choose to raise my child different, I don’t think they are wrong.
I respect them. Even when I disagree with them.
I honestly believe that they have eaten more salt than I have eaten rice lol, but I explained to them to please respect me, and trust that I’m doing the best I can for my baby.
3) Remind myself that grandparents have spoiling rights
Yup, I’ve said it.
But it’s true. As much as we want the grandparents to discipline them and make sure they don’t turn out to be the biggest spoilt brats in town, it’s just somehow a strange automatic thing that once people become grandparents, they become the kindest, can-never-say-no-to-a-child people in this world.
(My Dad, trust me, was the fiercest disciplinarian in Singapore and I dare say whole world but the second he became a grandfather? You want to eat this? Ok, grandpa give you. You like this toy? Come, grandpa buy for you. Never mind that I can barely complete my “Noooo, don’t spoil him” sentence. *inserts roll eyes emoji*)
But to be honest, you’re the parent, not them and as morbid as it sounds, how many more healthy and active years do they have left to play with and indulge your child?
At the end of the day, I prioritise happiness and laughter because I believe that a positive environment is a much better one for my baby boy to grow up in, than one that is constantly full of conflicts and unnecessary negativity.
What do you think?