The idea of letting children stay or live with in-laws either seldomly or regularly cannot be over-emphasized. It’s a factor that should be taken into high cognizance as to whose parents should the children stay with often.
Really, It is an interesting question to consider looking at both the beneficial and unappealing aspects of it. In the real sense of it, nothing is actually wrong with leaving your child(ren) with your in-laws in as much as you are comfortable with their own style of patenting. Leaving your child could mean;
Allowing your kids to spend holidays with your in-laws.
Allowing your child(ren) to stay temporarily with your in-laws due to certain developments or circumstances like studying outside the country, temporary hitches with job etc.
Allowing your in-laws to fully take responsibility for raising him/her up.
Precisely, my concern is not on the first two but mainly on the third point.
I have been opportuned to witness cases while growing up whereby it was the mother in-law that practically brought up some of the children and at the end of the day, those children turned out well. Therefore, in the general sense of it, we can outrightly say nothing is wrong with leaving children with in-laws.
Nevertheless, I also know that the world we live in now is quite different from the one that existed decades ago. The sophistication entrenched into every sphere of life in terms of entertainment, technology, media, social norms, evolved cultures, fashion trends; politics etc., all contribute immensely to this paradigm shift. Unarguably, this therefore posits that the ideologies and experiences that we were exposed to by our antecedents while growing up are different from what the current generation is largely exposed to. Some of the differences are highlighted below:
Analogue world versus digital world
Inter-personal relationship versus person to gadgets relationship
Mode of communication
Definition of what relationship is all about.
The learning and teaching style in schools.
Exposure to high level of information
The list goes on and on but with these few extremities listed above, you will agree with me that it is totally a different ball game altogether. If this is the case, then, then a child of brain power to five (5) being supervised by a parent or guardian of brain power to zero (0) will obviously lead to:
Clash of opposing views.
Harassment of the parent or guardian.
Resentment on the part of the child.
Secrecy on the part of the child.
Lack of openness on the part of the child.
Unhealthy relationship between the two parties.
However, my candid take on this subject is:
Do not abandon your child(ren) to your in-laws. Abandonment is different from spending some holidays with them. In-laws will mean well coupled with the fact that they are experienced at raising children and could possibly detect a child’s idiosyncracy and behaviourial cues earlier than the parents, and help amend or nurture such behaviours be it positive or negative.
Aptly, a problem that still lingers is that a larger percentage of In-laws will use the pristine parenting skills to train a child living in a technological driven generation. The old ways of parenting does not portend any negativity but the only issue that comes with it is that it is not fully suitable to the approach required for the children of this generation. For instance, in my generation, when mummy and daddy gave an instruction, I cannot query or question it out of curiosity or for clarity sake. That will be taken as being insolent and there were always consequences that followed suit.
In today’s generation, the cliché you hear is the word, “WHY?”. If they don’t get answers to their curiosity, more questions will be asked. They need to know the reasons behind every statement you utter to them. A very practical example is that of my three children right from the one that is four (4) years old to the one that is eleven (11) years old, will query my actions and instructions to them compared to the old syllabus generation which would have forced this down the child’s mind to accept either by hook or crook. The implication of this is that, the child(ren) will grow up to have a battered self-esteem. This state definitely will not make such children to function at their optimal level.
Abandoning a child suggests some level of irresponsibility on the part of a parent. This could either be an act of irresponsibility or ignorance of the possible implications of this decision.
Children not raised under your watch will imbibe values contrary to your desired values for them. I know of a family that left one of their children with the grandmother for a long period to be raised. When she came back into the family, her ideology, perspectives and way of life were totally opposed to that of her other siblings. When marriage beckoned, she got married, had children but unfortunately she is no longer in that marriage and this has been fully linked to the upbringing, exposure, peer influence, various associations and the culture she grew up with.
It is your responsibility to train up your child. We are meant to train them up in the way they should go, not necessarily what we like them to be so as not to create a dichotomy within them. This is because when they mature, it is the cultivated gift that will make them thrive in life. If you impose your own desires into them, after they have fulfilled your dreams for them, you will be shocked that they will start all over to do the very thing they enjoyed doing. Their trainings therefore should be in alignment with the traits you are seeing in them. Just imagine leaving your children with your in-laws, to what extent can your in-laws go in studying their uniqueness before deciding which direction to channel resources and training towards?
God will hold you accountable for their outcomes in life. Everything we own or oversee in this life we will ultimately be accountable for as caretakers of those children.
It is healthy to allow them to spend time with your in-laws reasonably. It is good our children are close to our in-laws. Depriving them the opportunity to meet them from time to time will make it difficult to be friends with them. You will understand here that the emphasis is BALANCE, not a swing to the extreme.
Putting these views together, I would rather advice that abandonment be taken out. Frequent visits are advised in order to keep the bonding alive as well as knowing the family lineage.
It is important that the couples in question have a proper schedule of how the children will make the visits within the available time from both parties. Unarguably, if all these are strictly followed, we can therefore say that there is nothing wrong with leaving your children with your in-laws as long as it does not translate to abdication of responsibility, ignorance and insensitivity from parents.
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