Are your kids’ grandparents interfering with your parenting? If your children are lucky enough to have their grandparents in their lives, they can be the best in the world, until that is, they overstep the mark! It can signal the breakdown in the relationship, causing unnecessary hurt and pain for everyone involved. Here are some tips on what to do if grandparents are interfering with parenting.
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Grandparents can be an amazing source of extra love, assistance, advice and security for you and your children. I get so much pleasure out of seeing the relationships my parents and parents in law have with their grandchildren, but I can also see how those relationships could easily break down too.
From parents to in-laws, friends and other relations, you will receive parenting advice from the moment you conceive, or sometimes even before! But in the end, you are the parent so it is up to you what advice you take on board and what you discard.
By setting ground rules from birth, and saying how we feel, the relationship we have with all our children’s grandparents has happily flourished.
Setting boundaries really is the best way to avoid any confusion and interference from grandparents on parenting. From asking them not to undermine you in front of children to what foods and drinks are acceptable, to letting them know routines, by having boundaries in place and ensuring they are adhered to (most of the time!) the relationship will flourish and everyone will benefit.
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Be United and Confident
You and your partner must be united. At times this can be easier said than done, so be prepared for a few battles along your parenting journey.
Remember you are the parents of your children so show that you are united and confident in your parenting choices and that way you are less likely to receive well meaning advice, comments or interference.
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Often the parenting advice you receive from grandparents is well meant. And remember, they have been on this journey before and although times have changed, some of the advice they give can help!
If it is not vindictive or undermining, it can be better to listen politely. Remember, you don’t have to follow the advice you receive but it will help with your relationship if you can keep discussions non confrontational.
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Choose Your Battles
There are some parenting choices that are non-negotiable but others that are on the fringes. My advice is to choose your battles.
If you or your child(ren) are not going to come to any harm as a result of the interference, sometimes it is better to turn a blind eye. Remember parenting it is all about balance.
So the next time your Mum, Dad or In-Laws offer your child(ren) chocolate/juice or other ‘banned foods’, turn a blind eye. If is is only an occasional treat, is it really that bad? So long as your children understand that this only happens occasionally and they don’t take it for granted or expect the same at home, it can be ok.
Be Less Sensitive
Often interference is well intentioned and a grandparents way of showing they care. Some comments can leave you bristling but so long as they are not undermining or making you feel insecure, try counting to 10 before responding or ignoring them!
When you hear, “that is not the way to hold the child” or “that child should have a coat on” or “have you not potty trained them yet?”, think about your response before getting defensive and becoming adversarial.
In every walk of life there will be compromises, take on board the advice you agree with, show interest and gratitude for well intentioned advice but in the end, stand firm to your own parenting style.
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If a grandparent is causing you to become upset and lose confidence in your parenting ability, it is best to discuss it face to face on neutral ground without the children being present.
Explain how you feel in a non confrontational way. Have ideas ready to share on how you believe they can help. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you need from them. They may not realise how they are making you feel.
Tell your partner that you are going to meet the grandparent(s), so if they get a call after the meeting, they are not caught unawares. Or, if the issues are significant enough, you could go together, you are a team after all.
And if the interference continues, talk to your partner about how to stop it. It could be that you avoid some of the visits to grandparents and that your partner and the kids go together or that you limit visits until they get the message or that you meet again to give them one more opportunity to mend their ways.
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Most grandparents are super and they love the idea of helping without having the responsibility of raising the child. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren can give so much pleasure to everyone so, if issues can be resolved and not left to fester, you can all reap the benefits.
Over to you now. Do your kids’ grandparents interfere with parenting? Let us know in the comments box below.