Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Any Words of Caution?

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Many children in the Arab world are raised in the embrace of grandfathers or grandmothers or in the care of domestic help so that their parents can work.

But is there danger in this? How cautious should you be when it comes to others watching over your child?

There are no official numbers in the Arab world regarding the number of grandchildren being raised in their grandparents’ care. But the number in the United States, where communities are not often based on strong family ties, indicates that there are 3 million grandfathers and grandmothers raising their children.

In our Arab world, a proverb summarizes the relationship between grandchildren and grandparents: “There’s nothing more precious than the child, except the child’s child”. This saying has been passed down for generations, but while the child-rearing and emotional habits of grandparents may be based on it, it may not be appropriate.

  • Of course, grandparents will be sure to provide their grandchildren with a summary of their life experiences and will apply inherited rules to them without being aware of the mistakes they made with their own children.
  • For example, an American study from the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, which included 600 grandfathers and grandmothers, found that 44% of them considered bathtubs full of ice to be the best solution for dealing with their grandchildren’s spike in temperature, when, in fact, ice may lead to a sudden and dangerous drop in the child’s body temperature.
  • The maid also tries to follow the instructions given to her, but this does not eliminate the danger that your child may be exposed to in her care, especially if she has never been trained as a nanny.
  • The solution when facing this kind of danger is to continue communicating with the grandfather, grandmother, nanny or domestic help while the parents are at work.
  • Grandparents should also get used to taking their grandchildren to the doctor whenever the need arises, without delay.

It is still important, too, to pay attention to the health and psychological state of the grandfather or grandmother, as it may prevent them from effectively watching over the children in the absence of their parents.

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