It’s surprising how our parents behave when they turn into grandparents. From pampering our kids to the extent of spoiling them, to being overprotective about them, they are willing to go the extra mile. Sometimes, you may even wonder if they are indeed the same people who raised you!
Yes, they are our biggest source of strength, our children’s best friend, and the most trustworthy babysitters.
But what happens when they cross the faint line between your way of parenting and theirs? This is exactly what this mum experienced after her mother burnt her daughter’s hair while trying to get her to “fit in.”
Leaving Child With Grandparents: “My Mum Burnt My Daughter’s Hair While Trying to Get Her to Fit in”
She found that her mum had tried to straighten her hair so she would “fit in” at school the next day. | Screengrab: Reddit
Posting on Reddit, the woman explained that she is white and married an African-American man. The two of them have a five-year-old daughter together.
“Our daughter has taken after him both in skin colour and hair type and this has been a huge learning curve for me since my hair has always been straight as a ruler,” she wrote. The mum further went on to explain that she has done a lot of research to learn to care for her daughter’s hair properly.
She also explained that her mum used to be a hairdresser before she retired – but had no experience with African-American hair. Nor a desire to learn even after the woman tried her best.
“The day before my daughter was supposed to start school my mum was going to look after her for a couple of hours while we went on a date. We were called halfway through dinner by mum freaking out and our daughter crying hysterically,” she wrote.
When she came home, she found that her mum had tried to straighten her hair so she would “fit in” at school the next day. So while struggling to pull a comb through my daughter’s hair she had burnt her scalp twice with the iron.
The iron had to be on such a high setting that she melted a section of her hair.
Grandma Wants A Second Chance
That night she conveyed to her mum that would never be allowed to babysit unsupervised again.
“I was absolutely beside myself with her, partly because she had actually hurt my daughter but also because I don’t want my daughter to think she has to look a certain way to fit in at school,” she wrote.
She added, “Now six months later and she is nagging me to give her another chance but I really don’t want to.”
The woman further explained that her mum had been the same with her growing up, including making her get spray tans so she’d be less pale.
“I thought she would be different as a grandmother but now I think it’s just more of the same,” the new mum said.
She asked Reddit users if they think her mum deserved another chance? And, all of them supported the woman.
The Child’s Safety Is A Priority
“I think you made the right decision and you’re doing what’s best for your daughter,” she added. | Screengrab: Reddit
One user wrote, “If it were me I wouldn’t give her another chance either.”
“Your priority is to protect your child and no one should be making her feel like she needs to change things about herself to fit in – especially not a family member who she trusts. I think you made the right decision and you’re doing what’s best for your daughter,” she added.
Another user cited, “She hurt her granddaughter by being racist. She wanted to straighten her granddaughter’s hair so she’ll be palatable for white society.”
“The racism is that she felt the need to straighten the child’s hair at all. It’s not about her not wanting to learn about black hair, it’s about her rejecting the black hair entirely and trying to force the hair to look like a fully white kid’s hair,” a Reddit user chimed in with similar views.
What would have been your reaction if you were in this mum’s place? This brings us to the question will you leave your kids with their grandparents?
Leaving Children With Grandparents? Is it Safe?
Growing up with grandparents helps children become better at coping with adverse childhood experiences and trauma. | Image courtesy: iStock
In today’s world when both parents are working, leaving your child with their grandparents is surely the most trusted and safest option available around us.
But, while the grandparent and grandchild relationship is healthy for everyone in the house, it can also turn into a toxic space affecting the relationship between you and your child.
This is particularly true when grandparents give a green signal to certain rules which you forbid. For instance, watching TV late in the night or not eating junk.
The problem escalates further when your parents get emotional if you try to explain to them that you don’t approve of their action.
But this doesn’t deny the fact that grandparents can be a wealth of knowledge and your kids will learn some of their life’s most important lessons from them.
In fact, a study by the University of Oxford found that growing up with grandparents helps children become better at coping with adverse childhood experiences and trauma. The research suggested that grandparental involvement in a child’s life contributes to the child’s well-being, leading to fewer behavioural and emotional problems.
In fact, there are benefits the other way round as well. Spending time with grandchildren is one of the grandparent’s most cherished pastimes. They also have tangible health benefits like reducing stress levels, minimising depression risk, and boosting cognitive health, among others.
While a healthy relationship between grandparents is beneficial for our kids, there are certain rules to avoid any strain in the relationship.
Grandparents As Babysitters: 5 Ways To Avoid Conflict
Talk to your parents about how you want to raise your kids, at the same time, also respect their feelings. | Image courtesy: iStock
1. Talk to them
Before leaving your child with grandparents, make it a point to talk to them. When you were kids, your parents were the strict with you, but now they usually give in to their grandchildren’s demands. This can often be a source of confusion for your kids.
They will understand that their parents are strict and their grandparents are “cool,” so they will eventually learn to take advantage out of the situation.
Therefore, ensure that your parents understand that it’s perfectly okay to spoil your kids occasionally, but not always. Discipline is important for kids to understand that they are on the right path.
2. Never try anything new without informing you
Whenever your parents or in-laws babysit your kids, inform them that they shouldn’t try out anything new without informing you or your partner.
The idea is not to offend your parents, but to ask them to also respect you as a parent. For instance, even if it as simple as making your kids try out a new food item for the first time.
Setting limitations does not mean disallowing any interference. Instead, grandparents’ actions must be coordinated along the lines of the parent’s wishes, and in this case, it’s you.
3. Make kids understand the rules
Both you and your parents should sit down with your kids. Tell them that their grandparents will babysit them till you are out for work. Make them understand that there is a certain leeway which they get here, which cannot be expected once they are back home. For instance, if they have been watching television the entire noon, they can’t do it once they are back at home. They need to complete their homework before they hit the bed. Also, if mum has said no to something, they can’t come and ask their grandparents for it.
4. Don’t criticise each other in front of the child
Avoid criticising your parents in front of your kids. It is not only disrespectful but can also encourage your children to do the same. If there is a disagreement, deal with it with civility.
Similarly, if you find your parents offending you or mocking your parenting style, stop them right away. Communicate to them why this will hinder your authority in front of your parents.
5. Create a list of non-negotiable rules when leaving child with grandparents
Non-negotiable rules can help you in this situation. As a mum, you need to feel confident that certain tasks will be taken care of every day.
And grandma needs some flexibility to adhere to her own personal style.
So maybe a list of three to five non-negotiable rules can help. In this way, for instance, you will rest easy knowing that your kid is taking a nap every day for a few hours. While your mum can choose the time based on the child’s behaviour.
With careful planning and lots of communication, your child will reap the benefits of living under Grandma or Grandpa’s loving care. At the end of the day, you should not be concerned about leaving child with grandparents, so long as you respect each other and give each space.
News source: Reddit