Modern Parenting Means Grandparents Must Update Their Skills | #parenting

Times have changed—plain and simple. Research has been done. Guidelines for things like car seat safety, safe sleep and child milestones have been revised. The modern parenting styles of today’s parenting generation shows that much has developed over the years. And raising babies in today’s world isn’t what it used to be decades ago, when our parents were raising us. 

So if you’re wondering about whether or not your parents need to reform their grandparenting styles, they probably do. And it’s OK for you to be the one to remind them so. 

Related: You have every right to set boundaries with your kids’ grandparents 

When it comes to tending to their grandchildren, many of our parents have likely used some version of the infamous line, “Well I raised you and you turned out to be OK.” 

It’s a defense mechanism that sprouts its head in order for them to reassure themselves that they know what they’re doing. And in many cases, they do have some idea of what they’re doing. But do they have the updated parenting tools needed to help raise their grandkids in today’s modernized world?

I get it, they’ve been there before. They’ve been down in the pit of dirty diapers and temper tantrums. They’ve dealt with food strikes and sleepless nights. And honestly, a lot of us did turn out to be perfectly fine. 

In becoming parents ourselves, we likely have adopted some of the long-known practices such as putting onions in our kids’ socks when they’re fighting a cold and we likely have adhered to some of their well-advised wisdom.

But I think it’s safe to say that a lot of our parents are stuck in the ways of how they raised us years ago—and they have little to no idea about how much parenting tools have been updated over the generations. Many of them also seem to have no idea that it’s more than OK to need to upgrade their skills.

This is where we (their children) come in. 

Educating our parents when it comes to their grandparenting styles will make us feel more at ease when we leave our children in their care.

You may be hesitant to correct your parents’ grandparenting styles, or even uncomfortable with setting boundaries—but understand that it is for the overall safety and peace of mind for everyone. And understand that you don’t have to do it alone. There are things like classes and groups that can help grandparents adapt to today’s parenting guidelines and practices.

I’ve had to have conversations with my own parents and MIL when leaving my child in their care. They were so used to doing things like letting him take naps in his car seat or laying him down in his crib with blankets and toys. They often were unaware of things such as how to reduce the risk of SIDS or how long breast milk was good for after being warmed up.

I remember my mom was so bewildered when I told her that my son couldn’t wear a winter coat in his car seat and explained that I’d put it on before we went outside, get in the car, take it off and then buckle him in his seat. She was even more bewildered when I explained that I’d then have to take him out of his car seat and put his coat on again when we arrived at our destination. Not only was it hard for her to grapple with the fact that doing so would eat up a lot of time, but she also wondered how he would possibly stay warm.

Related: Thank you to the grandparents who are *always* there for us

Things like that situation remind me that even though our parents may have done a great job raising us, times have changed. We’re the parents now. And with studies and findings to support best practices for raising our children, it’s our job to make sure that everyone who will be in our kids’ lives are aware of those things—and have the right parenting tools to do the best job they can.

Though we know that they mean well as they try to be hands-on in their grandkids’ lives, we don’t want our parents to continue following outdated parenting beliefs and practices—especially ones that can put our kids in harm’s way, even if unintentionally.

Educating our parents when it comes to their grandparenting styles will make us feel more at ease when we leave our children in their care. And it will make everyone feel better about spending quality time together.

So help your parents understand modern parenting tools. Take the steps to ensure that they have access to updated information for your children’s health and safety. Parenting is always a learning game. After all, we’re always learning as we go, so why can’t grandparents too?

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