During my stint as a magazine writer (2002-2005), I was tasked to do a story about the plight of grandparents at the time. What I realize now is that my interviewees might have aged since its publication, but grandmas and grandpas here in the Philippines have remained pretty much the same. They still love their grandchildren to bits and dote on them to the point that they’ve become important figures in their grandkids’ lives.
Maybe quite unheard of in other countries, is that Pinoy grandparents in particular are not only involved in childcare but are also actively contributing to their grandkids’ growing financial needs. What’s worth mentioning is that instead of regarding such responsibility as an unnecessary burden, Pinoy grandparents view this unusual development as an energizing factor in their old age.
This particular Pinoy tradition though has received polarizing views throughout the years, with some sectors finding it hard to understand why instead of enjoying retirement, grandparents are still beset with problems in raising their grandchildren.
Whichever school of thought you’re coming from, it is undeniable that Pinoy grandparents are truly in a class all their own! It’s simply amazing how they’ve never ceased to inspire us with their unconditional love and sacrificial giving all their lives.
Here’s a second look at my article first seen on Health Today Magazine, a decade since publication.
LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES
Lydia makes sure her house rules are consistent with the wishes of his grandson’s parents. “Anything I do with and for my grandchild, I consult first with his parents.”
Some grandparents withhold vital information about their grandchildren from the parents. Family and relationship experts, however, believe that this practice undermines the relationships among the parties concerned. This is one of the reason why a majority of parents never seem to appreciate grandparents’way of raising their children.
Nancy doesn’t keep secrets from his grandson’s parents and never asks her grandson to lie for her. Grandma Celing, on the other hand, is very cautious when it comes to giving her daughter childcare and parenting advice. Instead, Celing works as a “team player,” and foster openness and understanding in the family.
Celing discovered that the bond she has with her grandchildren is very different from that between her and her children. Her advice to other grandparents: “Learn from the mistakes you made when you were raising your children and try not to make them with your grandchildren.”
Laugh a lot, have fun, says Nancy. “Don’t feel embarrassed to express how happy and excited you are about being with your grandchildren.”
Plan games and activities with their parents ahead of time so that come playtime, you will not run out of ideas, advises Nancy. Lydia asks her grandson what he wants to do and gives careful thought on how appropriate the activity is to his age before they begin. Pete Galvez, coordinator of The Yogurt Company, a support group for senior citizens based in Metro Manila, found out that his two grandchildren enjoy watching stage plays and concerts.
“Giving children choices increases their self-confidence and is a great training tool for them,” says Lydia.
Although it is difficult to turn down your grandchildren’s requests, grandparents must learn to say “no” whenever necessary, Celing stresses. Children must learn the value of obedience and self control. Celing says she wants to prepare her grandchildren for the real world where wanting doesn’t necessarily mean getting.
Nancy also believes that grandparents should not use presents to win their grandparents’ affections. “Gifts are more meaningful when they are unexpected.” Gifts don’t have to cost a lot. Research shows that “time together” is the best gift you can give to your grandchildren.
For Celing, being a grandparent is a privilege. “It offers many of the joys of being a parent without the daily responsibilities and struggles of parenting.”
Parenting, part 2 was first published on Health Today Magazine in May 2004. For more articles on childcare and parenting, please go to this link.