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Grand support!

By Ghadeer Habash , Family Flavours - Mar 24,2019 - Last updated at Mar 24,2019

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

By Ghadeer Habash

Internationally Certified Career Trainer

 

Previously, not a lot was expected of grandparents beyond the occasional babysitting, spoiling with treats and passing on wisdom. But now, as more women join the workforce and pursue hobbies and interests outside of strictly parenting, teta and jiddo have never been more visible and indispensable to parents in Jordan.

How do parents (both mothers and fathers) succeed at working their jobs, practicing their hobbies, doing sports and staying healthy and fit while taking good care of their children?

 

They do so all thanks to a support system

 

As grandparents are living longer, healthier and more active lives, they are becoming a bigger part of the family support system. Many are part of the practical, emotional and financial support system that provides a safety net for the whole family. With more free time at their age, they are usually happy to spend it with their grandchildren so it’s a win-win situation.

Our parents (as grandparents) are our greatest blessings. We guarantee a safe and happy environment for our children when they are cared for by their grandparents. They also pass on their life experiences to their grandchildren, so kids learn a lot about history, culture, family values, food (we know teta’s food is the best!) and grandparents are delighted to share their stories with an eager audience so they, in turn, feel respected.

Thus, grandparents not only solve a major problem for their adult children or daughters and sons in-law, they can be an important part in raising well-rounded kids. Children usually enjoy everything at their grandparents’ home — they won’t want to go home easily and you can even see a bigger smile if sleeping over is an option!

 

When it’s not all 

smooth sailing

 

When you’re working hard to plan balanced meals, limit sweets and stay away from sugary drinks and then it all goes right out the window at jiddo’s house, it can be very frustrating. You know grandparents mean well so what do you do when your parenting styles don’t align?

There’s no reason to make your parents or in-laws feel like bad people who don’t care about your child’s health. Be sure they know how much you appreciate them spending time with your child and leave emotions out of it when you’re being direct with them like, “Majid had a cavity at his last dentist visit, so we’re trying to limit sweets.” But also be flexible and open to compromise. Think of going to teta and jiddo’s house as a chance to try different things that your children normally would not experience at home. Let them associate special things (heaps of attention, gifts, special foods) with their grandparents. These “extras” allowed at their grandparents’ house is the spice of life! There is no harm in breaking some rules sometimes!

 

Get involved

 

Although grandparents can be a wonderful support system, we should be mindful that they already raised kids of their own — they shouldn’t be burdened 24/7 with raising another generation. In other words, remember that you are still the parents, not them.

More should be done to support labour laws and employment options that allow for more on-site day care and flexible hours. Jordan’s Ministry of Labour announced recently measures to establish nurseries in private and public sectors.

I also advocate examining successful work models of other countries and assess whether they can be replicated in Jordan. In some countries, the start and end time of work at public and private companies and organisations are the same, including pre-schools, schools and universities, so everyone leaves and returns home at the same time! I love this idea because it helps working parents and reduces the pressure on grandparents.

Find out what more can be done and how you can help by contacting the Jordanian National Commission for Women and SADAQA (towards a friendlier work environment for women).

 

Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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