Grandparents should not be burdened to babysit grandchildren : Pune court stands up for seniors

“It is not an unusual scene that their children are kept in crèche for their care. It is the prerogative of the old and aged grandparents to willingly accept the task to babysit their grandchildren considering their own age, health, strength, engagement in extracurricular activities and other plans,” family court judge Swati Chauhan said in a recent order.

Observing that grandchildren should not become the sole responsibility and burden of grandparents, a family court has said that parents should steer clear of the assumption that their mothers and fathers are meant to be babysitters for their offspring. “It is the primary duty of the parents and not the grandparents to take care of their infant children. Grandparents may be there to support, guide and assist in raising the children. However, they should not be burdened to babysit grandchildren as their primary duty, by compromising their relaxation, entertainment and travel plan,” said the court in Pune, according to the Times of India.

The case pertains to an estranged couple who had married almost 20 years ago and in 2012, the wife had moved the family court for maintenance for her kids and herself. The children were both minors, then, with the youngest being 10 years old. The woman had alleged that she had joined her job within four months of giving birth because the father of her children neglected their financial needs. Additionally, she also said that her in-laws had taken care of her infant for a few months and then gone travelling and this had resulted in her having to keep her kids in a crèche for which she had to pay out of her pocket.

“It is not an unusual scene that their children are kept in crèche for their care. It is the prerogative of the old and aged grandparents to willingly accept the task to babysit their grandchildren considering their own age, health, strength, engagement in extracurricular activities and other plans,” family court judge Swati Chauhan said in a recent order.

The paper further reports that family court added that it was “a very prevalent presumption of majority Indian families” that grandparents are akin to nannies. “This should not be an imposed duty of grandparents. After performing all the duties and the responsibilities of life in their young and adult age, old age is the time for an old couple to live for themselves. There can be no doubt that the grandchildren are one of the precious endowments an old couple looks forward to. But this endowment should not become their burden,’’ said the judgment, according to the TOI report. It added: “It is very conveniently forgotten that the grandparents have their own life to live. They need their own space, time, entertainment, pleasure and rest.”

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