grandparent holding a granchild
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
January 17, 2024 ·  3 min read

Grandparents May Be Causing Kids Harm With Their Outdated Parenting Beliefs

Grandparents can be a huge asset to the lives of their grandkids. However, some issues may arise when some grandparents rely on outdated parenting beliefs to raise these children. While some of these practices are harmless, some of them could be potentially very dangerous to the health and well-being of the youngsters.

Grandparent’s Outdated Parenting Beliefs Potentially Harmful To The Health Of Their Grandchildren

The world moves fast, and that includes medical sciences. As a result, things that we used to do decades ago have become outdated, and we’ve evolved for the better. Unfortunately for older generations, they may not have known that the things they did when raising their own children could have been putting kids at risk. And who knows, maybe in 50 years, we’ll be having the same discussion about the current generation?

According to Science Daily, Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, researched this problem. He surveyed over 600 grandparents on various outdated parenting beliefs. His results, which were presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academics Societies meeting, showed that many grandparents, to no fault of their own, use techniques that can cause serious harm to a child.

A couple of the practices in question include how to bring down a fever and what position babies should be put to bed in. According to coverage from CBS News, Forty-four percent of grandparents’ surveyed believed that children should be placed in an ice bath to bring down a high fever. However, this is dangerous and can potentially cause hypothermia. So pediatricians now recommended a tepid or lukewarm bath instead.

A worrisome number of the surveyed grandparents also were unaware of the danger of putting a baby to sleep on their side or stomach. In the last 20 years, pediatricians learned that this practice increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). So instead, they now recommend putting babies to sleep on their backs.

Raising Grandchildren Also Takes A Toll On Grandparents

Typically, grandparents don’t have the same kind of support system when raising their grandchildren as parents do. They don’t typically have the same social connections, either, where often young parents will discuss the latest information in parenting techniques. To top it off, they are older, and raising grandchildren put a heavier strain on them both physically and often financially, too.

“One major takeaway from this study is that for grandparents who are raising grandchildren, their parenting can often take a toll in terms of their own physical and emotional health, and support groups can make a difference,” Dr. Adesman said. “I think pediatricians need to also evaluate not just the health and well-being of the child, but really ask about the physical and social health of the grandparent that has assumed responsibility for raising that child as well. Because although the grandparents often elected to take on this role, it’s not something they planned for, and it can represent a challenge in many domains. Many grandparents are up to the challenge, but it may come with certain costs.”

Dr. Adesman via Science Daily

Grandparents Need More Support

Adesman made it clear that his research in no way intended to villainize grandparents. Rather, it is meant for pediatrician awareness. As increasing numbers of grandparents are becoming primary caretakers for their grandchildren, they will need additional education and support.

“When a grandparent comes in with their grandchild, and it’s clear that it’s that grandparent’s primary responsibility to raise that child, pediatricians need to be mindful that even though these are experienced parents, that doesn’t make them experts,” he said. “Times have changed. Grandparents in some ways may have wisdom of the ages, but on the other hand, some parenting recommendations have changed in recent years, and pediatricians need to make sure that grandparents are aware of them.”

Dr. Adesman – CBS News

If your parents are to take care of your children often, make sure they are equipped to do so. It is a good idea for them to accompany you to doctor’s appointments. It also may be beneficial for them to attend a class before watching your children. This is not to say that all traditional wisdom is outdated or useless; it’s just another reminder that we all have to accept that things change — and all of us need to learn to adapt.

Keep Reading: Watching Your Dad Become A Grandpa Is The Gift No One Tells You About