Many people can’t wait for the joy of becoming grandparents and find great comfort and happiness in being able to help their children with childcare, whereas others prefer to hold onto their independence in retirement or simply do not have the time to commit to babysitting or helping with school runs.
Now one woman has questioned whether grandparents are being relied upon too heavily by adult children, asking whether they feel any resentment at being effectively “held hostage” by their children’s demands or expectations. Writing on online forum Gransnet, the woman suggested grandparents should be allowed to enjoy their retirement in whatever way they choose.
“I see on this site, grandparents who love their grandchildren/children unconditionally and those who don’t get to see their grandchildren, are estranged from their children…all of which hurt,” she wrote. “What about those who see TOO MUCH of their grandchildren; are expected to be there at their children’s whim to look after grandchildren? Quite apart from what they envisaged retirement to be? The emotional threats?”
The woman went on to point out that she was not speaking from experience. She continued: “How may actually resent being held hostage like this? How many people would love to just decide what they want without having to consider their families, once they are retired? Do they do it anyway? or do they feel guilty?
“My thoughts are…you have done your lot! Now is YOUR time. Do what you want and help when you can but don’t feel obliged. If your kids don’t like it…then tough!”
A number of people replied to the post and offered their thoughts on the topic. While many suggested that grandparents should simply “say so” if they don’t want to care for their grandkids.
“Actually your point about ‘not speaking from experience’ says it all. You cannot speak for grandparents who enjoy helping their children and seeing and caring for their grandchildren. If it is too much, then the individual can say so.” one wrote.
Another user commented: “There is nothing more special than being involved in the life of grandchildren but surely you can say if you think it is too much.”
However one Gransnet user suggested adult children should consider why they had children of their own if they did not want to spend time with them. They wrote: “The saddest ones for me by far are the ones [grandparents] who had their retirement stolen from them by adult children who not only expected childcare during school holidays but school runs, evenings and weekends as well, while the parents pursued outward bound hobbies etc.
“You wonder why they became parents if they never wanted to be with their children and I know the grandparents look back and say they didn’t realise it was going to be so full on and that their other grandchildren didn’t get a look in!”
While another user wrote: “I was happy to look after my grandchildren while their parents were working but I know some people thought I was being put upon and said that they wouldn’t do it. They wanted to go out and about with other pensioners and I could understand their point of view but I wouldn’t have missed those years with my GCs for anything.”
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