Grandpa speaks: 4 reasons why baby boomer grandparents think today’s parents are crazy

Grandpa Speaks

So here we are again for this week’s edition of Grandpa speaks, where I give up the floor to our resident grandpa, Merlin, to wax lyrical on this crazy world as he sees it. Today…we get into conversation on whether today’s parents seem absolutely crazy in their eyes….

Surely it wasn’t so hard for us? I know that we often see the past through rose-tinted spectacles, but I must say, I’m beginning to think that some/most/all of today’s parent are crazy – or are they?

The title of this blog is therefore a bit disingenuous. In any case, I do want my daughter to post this, and it won’t get posted if it implies that she is a complete fool – which she isn’t! At least, not so far….

So, here goes:

Today’s parents make parenting seem like winning a world war

Honestly, if it was that difficult, the human race would have died out long ago. If you stay calm and listen to the advice of your elders, it would be much easier.

Aherm time to interject! But wait a minute, isn’t that you, grandpa and granny, disappearing over the horizon on your way to a cruise round the Caribbean, leaving us behind to check that their milk hasn’t been delivered despite the note to cancel it, to feed the cats or dogs that you are too mean to put into the cattery or the kennel for three weeks, to check your post to make sure all your bills have been settled and that the tax people aren’t after you to pay unpaid taxes, and to make sure no Amazon deliveries have been left on your doorstep?

Recognise that kids get ill

We did, you did, and so will your kids. And most of the time it is not going to be serious. And if -heaven forbid – it is going to be serious – your doctor is likely to pick it up and help you deal with it. Kids get ill when they are young – that’s how they develop all their immunities.

Hang on, grandpa, I remember you rushing to the doctor with me, pleading with the doctor’s receptionist for a quick appointment to fit in with your busy schedule, begging for pills and injections to save your little darling when it turned out that there wasn’t much wrong.

Kids have to be taught how to behave

It won’t just happen by itself. Babies are born selfish, with an innate desire to train their parents to meet their every need. They are born knowing how to attune their whimpering and crying to ensure that their parents feel thoroughly guilty. They need tough training to make sure that they learn that the world is not at their command, but that they are at the command of the world, or at least somewhere in between. We’ve had to boot-camp our grandchildren, when their parents spoiled them so thoroughly that they thought they could do anything they wanted.

Stop, who are you kidding? Who learnt to spoil children? Are you telling me that we are born with the innate desire to spoil babies when we have them? Surely, evolution would ensure that the survivors are those who know how to manage their kids properly. So, grandpa, you must have done something to train your own kids to do the opposite.

Today’s parents expect the pounds, dollars, Euros or whatever to sort themselves out

They sail blithely into home ownership, marriage/partnering or parenthood without the slightest inkling of how they are going to fund the transition from that blessed state of being single and employed, when money came in automatically from their employer or their business and went out on mortgage, rent, groceries and so on, leaving a lovely surplus at the end of the month to spend on dining out, holidays, pop festivals, theatre, concert and lots of lovely clothes. Then they partner, marry or whatever and their babies arrive, leaving a deficit, to be funded by guess who!

But wait a minute, wasn’t it you who were telling me that you sucked in the savings habit with your mother’s milk? What broke the chain? Wasn’t it you constantly stepping in from when I was only three years old to bridge the gap between my expectations and reality? When did you call a halt? When did you start to train me to save? When did you start to wean me off the money drug that you so liberally supplied?

Looking back at all this, I realise that we baby boomer grandparents have done a grand (ha ha!) job on behavioural conditioning. As most social scientists would say, it’s a combination of nature or nurture that determines behaviour, and in these peaceful times, we can’t blame war, famine or some other external disaster for the way our kids are and how they bring up their babies. In other words, it’s us, stupid!

Merlin is a professional grandpa and baby boomer. He is not a wizard, though he tries to be for his children.

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