In India, we live in multi-generational family setups, also known as joint families, where we live with our parents, children, siblings, and their extended families.
A joint family setup can be a boon in many ways —If both parents are working or in the case of India if you are a working mother, you can leave your child with grandparents or share responsibilities with your other in-laws However, this set-up can prove to be a hindrance too, especially when disciplining your kid.
Problems that parents usually face when raising a kid in a joint family:-
- Different Parenting Styles: Different generations may have varying approaches to parenting. This can lead to conflicting ideas about discipline, education, and other aspects of child-rearing. For instance, your brother-in-law allows his children to stay up late at night, This will lead to arguments with your child about how you have bound her to sleep early.
- Problems with Disciplining Children: One major concern parents face in joint families is how to discipline their children while also being parented by their own parents, who want to do everything best for the grandchildren. For instance, if you've already said no to your child wanting chocolate, but then the grandfather steps in and gives the chocolate to your child behind your back, it doesn't help with discipline at all.
- Different opinions and perspectives: Children in joint families are exposed to a wider range of role models, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older cousins. Everyone has their own preferences and habits. For instance, if you eat healthily, and eat balanced food, while others in the family don't give importance to their health, your child may get inclined towards their eating habits.
- Children do not open up completely: In joint families, children may not feel completely comfortable opening up. They often experience shyness and a fear of being judged by older family members. Additionally, they may be hesitant to express themselves due to a fear of being compared to their cousins or siblings within the family.
Here are the Parenting Tips for Raising Kids in Joint Family:-
Living in a joint family, especially for working parents, is a boon and the benefits are plenty. This is especially true with grandparents at home who love pampering their grandchildren. However, it's important to address conflicts and issues, as children thrive in an environment with the support of their grandparents and extended family.
Set clear boundaries and convey them
Parents will have to draw the boundaries and let the children and all the adults know the rules. Rules like these should be non-negotiable. Parents should make such rules after discussing them with grandparents and other people so that nobody tries to change them afterwards.
For example; the bedtime is 8 pm and the wake-up time is 7 am. No junk food during weekdays. Children should also know these rules, and tell them that not even their grandparents, uncle, or aunt can change these rules.
No heated discussions in front of children:
In case of any disagreements between the parents and grandparents or with other adults, never discuss those issues in front of your child. Parents and grandparents should not underestimate the social intelligence of a child, children know exactly whom to approach to get what they want. Hence, parents and grandparents/adults should discuss the disagreements and handle conflicts behind closed doors.
For instance:- When one adult is correcting the child, the other adult should not intervene and contradict. Adults should sort out their differences behind closed doors or privately.
Give some autonomy to Grandparents
Your parents were also raised by their parents hence acknowledge their wisdom and experience grandparents in raising children. They will make a huge difference in the grandchildren’s lives. Parents should take them into confidence and seek their advice in finding a solution. Let the grandparents know that they are important in the upbringing of the children and that their advice will always be valued.
For instance: They should also have the autonomy to take their grandchildren to gardens or family gatherings if it doesn't interfere with the child's study or sleep schedule. Granting this level of autonomy can make grandparents feel happy, and they will likely better understand and assist parents in setting the necessary boundaries for disciplining the child.
Parents should have a final call
In case of any decisions regarding children's feeding, time schedule or outings. parents should have the final call. Others can share their inputs, and parents should take them into consideration but the VETO POWER lies with parents.
For example, if a child refuses to eat anything, grandparents should not resort to force-feeding them chocolates or junk food just to fill their stomach. Instead, they might advise parents on how to create healthy alternatives to junk food or attempt to influence children by offering sweets only after they finish their meal. But the final call would be of her parents.
Show appreciation to Grandparents
It never hurts to say thank you! to Grandparents for taking care of your child. As parents, we sometimes tend to over-discipline our children, especially when it comes to any pampering from their grandparents. This is not always necessary. We should remain flexible and occasionally say yes to their pampering, as they are the elder ones who love their grandchildren just as we do.
For example, if your parents want to offer a sweet to your child or give them a gift after returning from a trip, don't immediately say no. You can accept it and gently suggest to them to avoid such incidents in the future."
Discuss, Discuss, discuss(communication is the key)
If parents are feeling overwhelmed by opinion clashes and different parenting styles and perspectives of other adults in the family, it's important to discuss it with them. Never keep any conflict in your mind, as it might escalate someday and negatively affect relationships, which you might regret later.
For instance, if you don't like your parents comparing your children to other children in the family, you should have an open and honest conversation with them. Try to convince them to change their habits to avoid any future conflicts among the adults and children of the family.
Speak calmly and gently.
It is extremely challenging to communicate kindly and fairly when you’re frustrated. Always try to understand each other perspectives and opinions before making any abrupt and biased judgments.
Speaking in a gentle, soothing, direct way is more effective and gives the impression that your style of parenting is well-thought-out and has merit. If you’re in an emotional state, try to reason with yourself.
For example:- Address every issue with a calm tone to demonstrate to your children how to react when things don't go as planned. We should never lose our composure and raise our voices while talking to elders.
Share the article with your family members and ask for their opinions, You might add your own ideas if you have to raise kids in a joint family
Communicating openly and setting boundaries with grandparents will help make your multi-generational family functional and rewarding for a long time to come. In India, joint families play a vital role in parenting children. They provide a strong support system, instil cultural values, and offer a sense of belonging and identity to the child, which is invaluable in their upbringing.
LOVE AND SUPPORT ALWAYS...!!