When grandparents spoil your child

Grandparents are people with really bad memories. This has nothing to do with growing old because their bad memory is selective. They’re likely to remember all the embarrassing things you did as a child and recount it with great relish when your boss comes home for tea and doesn’t really need to hear how you ran around the colony without your underwear.

Their bad memory comes into play only when it’s about disciplining your offspring, that is, their grandchild. “I told you not to give him any more chocolates!” you fume, hands on the hips. “But,” says the grandfather, smiling disarmingly, “He’s just a child! When will he eat chocolates if not now?”

“YOU didn’t give me any chocolates when I was growing up!” you point out, your voice becoming whiny. At this point, the grandfather chooses to act befuddled. You are requested to leave the premises because you’re interrupting Chhota Bheem with your grumbles.

When you are strict with your child and raise your voice a little, the grandparents step in and remind you that you are dealing with a microscopic person who cannot be expected to understand what you’re upset about.

It doesn’t matter that the grandparents are otherwise boasting about this microscopic person’s intelligence to anyone in the vicinity who has a few hours to kill.

“All this,” the grandparents say sagely, “is normal. This is what children are like. Be patient.”

“But,” you say, “don’t you remember how you used to beat me for every small thing when I was little?” The grandmother rolls her eyes and says, “Yes, but you were FAR worse.” The grandfather nods along piously. Stung, you shoot back saying you were a model child who was simply misunderstood. They’re clearly not interested in this self-aggrandizement. Your child, who looks suitably traumatized by your scolding, smiles ever so slightly to denote victory.

All your dreams of raising an independent stalwart who is ready to saw wood and make his own chair go down the drain because his grandparents don’t want him to as much as eat a banana by himself.

Living with grandparents comes with a host of benefits. The support system they offer is incomparable – that is, if all of you can sit in the drawing room together for fifteen minutes without it ending in a bloodbath. It’s great for the child to grow up in a home where there are many adults she or he can trust.

But where do we draw the line when it comes to the pampering? On their part, the grandparents have seen how much worse things could get (their child – you – is MUCH older, after all), so they are unfazed by your kid’s nose-digging. For you, who is doing this for the first ever time and wants everything to be just perfect, it can’t be more annoying. Let’s hope we all remember how pissed we are currently even when we’re sixty and give our grandchildren a bowl of raisins when they ask for deep fried plastic.