Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why Grandparents Rule

Grandparents generally have a reputation of spoiling their grandchildren. My parents are no exception. They buy them things, give them candy, sugary drinks and let them watch TV endlessly. But I saw a different side of them the other night. A side that showed me that my husband and I are not alone in our pursuit of raising responsible and kind men.

Our town has a little event where trees and bushes are decorated with Christmas lights by different groups and you can vote on the best designs. They have a tree lighting with free cookies and offer a visit on Santa's lap. My mom & dad asked if we would like to come and it sounded like the perfect event for small kids. We piled into the car and made it just in time for the lights to be turned on.

All the little scenes were so beautifully done. There was a Florida snowman with flip flops, a 40 foot oak tree with every branch covered in lights and, of course, Santa and his reindeer. These iconic Christmas scenes were not blocked by any fencing and my oldest continually made himself at home in the lights. This was fine until he started trying to take them apart. Before I could say anything my mom jumped in and said, "Stop. That's not ok. You can look but don't touch." He responded immediately and went over to hold her hand.

Near the end of the event (and obviously near his bedtime), we ended up at the cookie table. My oldest was helping himself to cookie after cookie and ignoring my statement that one was enough. I gently ushered him away from the table and a colossal fit ensued. He screamed, "NOOOO!!! and AHHHHH!!!" like I was trying to kidnap him. These are always my favorite moments of parenting. My dad marched right over, looked at him on his level and said, "Your mom said one cookie is enough so that's enough. Let's go." My son gave it one last, "But why?" to which my dad explained the need to share the cookies with all the kids that were there to see Santa. My oldest backed down and said, "OK Papa."

While I know I could have handled both little situations, it was so nice to not have to. It was wonderful to watch them lovingly correct his behavior and feel comfortable knowing that they will never lead him astray. I had never thought of this particular benefit before. Having not grown up around my grandparents, I had never realized how much my children would learn by being surrounded by family members that share the same values. And there's that bonus of getting a break from dealing with a full scale tantrum...

How do your parents or in-laws help to back you up in discipline? How can they help you to shape the values of your children?

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