Parenting the parent

On an overnight stay with my parents, the people who bought me up, I happened to start explaining the difference between right and left to my toddler daughter. 

My dad helpfully (as he saw it) voiced his opinion that he thought my daughter was ‘a bit young to be learning about left and right.’ I held my tongue as I didn’t see the point in getting into a lengthy debate about child developmental milestones. He has raised his own two children (I’m one of them) and we are now adults in our thirties. 

My feeling though, is who decides at what age we can learn things? My daughter is already demonstrating quite well that she is capable of learning. She can say lots of words and string little sentences together. She feeds herself with her spoon and fork. In my mind, I see it wholly possible that she could learn the difference between right and left if it is explained to her. 

The difference between me and my dad (aside from the obvious gender/ age/ life -experience ones) is that I want my daughter to be enlightened. So I continually talk to her as we’re going about our day. I tell her what things are. I describe them. She is a sponge absorbing this information and she is learning and remembering information on a daily basis.

So whilst grandparents may have ‘been there and done that’ decades ago with their own children, parenting responsibility lies with the person raising the child/ren. I’ve decided my daughter can learn and so I will explain as much as I can to her. It’s about making it accessible for her. I will learn the best way of communicating with her as I go along. 
But if you are ever a grandparent about to pass on some words of wisdom to your ‘child’ about how to bring up their own children, be mindful that we all have our own ways. And with hindsight did your approach work? Maybe it did for you at the time. What is more helpful though,is encouragement. A simple, ‘that’s great to teach about X or Y’ is more welcome than your opinion on the matter. 

Thank you for reading my thought for this day. Please comment if you have had similar experiences or wish to make a point (I won’t take offence at those differing from my own, it’s good to have various perspectives). 

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