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Maternal Or Paternal – The Battle Of The Grandparents

Posted: September 2, 2019

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Grandparents and grandchildren always have that special bond. But what happens when there’s a tug-of-war between both sides of the grandparents?

Grandchildren, undoubtedly, are the crowning glory in a family. What with stealing all the love and affection that rightfully belonged to their parents before they made their royal entry into this planet. Their laurels and successes are celebrated and placed on a pedestal much higher than actually deserved.

The bond between the two

A few years ago, my partner objected to the idea of video-recording our college freshman son controlling and operating a robot for his computer programming class. And then sending it to my parents. He said he was thinking about (and sympathising) in advance with those individuals whose ears would be filled with my parents singing a paean, glorifying the grandson’s achievement. Though it actually was one of his assignments at a very rudimentary stage.

The bond between grandparents and their grandkids is a pure and magical one. Lives are completely transformed with the arrival of a grandchild in the family.

The grandparent tug of war

But there is the other side of the coin too when this privileged class is caught in a tug of war between grandparents from opposite sides. Or when a parent prefers that the kids have loyal allegiance to their family over the in-laws.

One of my fellow teachers shared over lunch how her mother was her three-year-old daughter’s absolute favourite. She happily boasted how her chubby, bubbly bundle of joy runs to her mother with open arms, but hides and sulks every time her mother-in-law visits them. The woman basically felt triumphant about the state of affairs in the grandparents’ domain.

My neighbour was highly disappointed when her son, on being asked to draw his grandpa’s house, sketched the home of his paternal grandparents.

She figured out so because while her parents lived in a duplex, her in-laws lived in a ranch house, and the drawing apparently was that of a single floor house. It made her insecure that her little one was leaning more towards his paternal side.

Grandparents and birthdays and other events

At times, couples traveling home are caught in a sticky situation of not being able to decide where they should celebrate their child’s birthday if it falls during that period. The ultimate solution rests on the decision to choose a park or a restaurant to keep both sides of the family happy.

This game can sometimes get even tenser!

A jovial lady I regularly meet at the gym narrated an interesting episode. Her in-laws are divorced, and both have remarried while her parents have had smooth sailing for 45 years. Her kids now have six grandparents, so when she had just three extra tickets for her son’s high school graduation, she decided to be fair and give one ticket to each of the three couples. Her mother snapped and emphasised, “Is this the price I pay for being married to the same person for so long? Your father and I BOTH should go to the event! It’s not our fault that your in-laws got divorced!”

The best of both worlds!

A cousin of mine discovered to his surprise how his kindergartener had outsmarted them for a very long time. My aunt and uncle had always rejoiced over the fact that their five-year-old granddaughter had kept telling them how they topped the list of her favourite family members. They literally pitied the other set of grandparents who they felt missed out so much on her affection. The cat was out of the bag when once over tea, my cousin’s in-laws very proudly announced that whenever the little one visited them, she never wanted to leave because she said she loved THEM the most in the world!

Well, in a tug of war where doting grandparents from both sides compete for affection, can we blame the poor child caught in this dilemma?

We may underestimate them, but little ones do have the intelligence to wriggle their way out and get the best of both worlds!

Picture credits: Screenshot from the movie Kapoor And Sons

The article was earlier published here

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Born in India, Rashmi Bora Das moved to the United States in the early nineties.

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