Parents vs. Grandparents

As a new parent, it’s funny to see how your parents, now grandparents, treat their grandchildren.  I’m sure some grandparents treat their grandchildren just as they treated their children.  That has not been my experience.  Strict, rules-based parents turn into coddling, exceptions-based grandparents.

Here’s one small example.

Growing up, I ate most things.  I wasn’t a particularly picky eater and liked lots of food that wasn’t particularly common for kids of that era, like sushi.  One thing I did not like was my mom’s salmon.  She usually cooked dinner four nights a week, with salmon for dinner once a week.  I would eat all of the other dinners without complaint, but I really did not like her salmon.  I was quite stubborn and so was she. She refused to allow me to make something for myself or make something else for me.  I would eat the sides and refuse to eat the salmon.  My mom wouldn’t let me get up from the table until I ate it.  Because misery likes company, I decided to share the pain.   We would sit at the kitchen table in silence for hours until I eventually ate enough of the cold, mushy salmon that she would let me leave.  It was not fun for me.  I can’t imagine it was fun for her.

My parents often have Lex, Z, and me over for dinner along with some of my nephews, a niece, and maybe a cousin.  At these dinners, the adults all eat the same meal, but there are often special meals for each of the grandchildren and the great nephew.  If one of them isn’t eating their first special meal, additional special meals are offered.

Maybe it’s because my mom has more time now and is less stressed.  Maybe it’s because she thinks that rules are best imposed by parents who are with their kids more often than grandparents who are around less often.  Maybe she’s just gone soft.

The cooking and pampering is just one small example.  It also happens with respect to board games, sports, and all sorts of other things.  And it is funny to watch..

As an adult, I actually like lots of salmon–lox, smoked salmon, barbecued salmon.  But I have not and will not eat it if my mom cooked it.  Because although people change and mature, taste buds (and people) can still be stubborn.

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