Becoming a grandparent can be a big adventure filled with gift-giving, trip-taking and other spoiling. It can also be a difficult path to navigate as parents establish where a grandparent's obligations and duties begin and end. Knowing how to communicate with your parents or in-laws can keep relationships running smoothly.
Improving Relations with your Parents or In-Laws
Each person has a viewpoint on how kids should be raised, which may mean butting heads with your child's grandparents. Remind grandparents that child-rearing practices have changed since they raised kids. Be firm and make it clear when you do or do not want advice on raising your children, according to Focus on the Family. Give clear advice on how you expect grandparents to treat your children, from how they should handle discipline to what kinds of treats the kids can enjoy and when.
While your parents or in-laws may dream of whisking the kids away for a fun-filled day with grandma and grandpa, you and your partner may have a different idea. Encourage grandparents to call in advance if they plan to visit or take the kids somewhere. Grandparents should accept your reasoning and avoid undermining you in front of your kids, according to Yale Medical Group. You can always explain your decision to grandma and grandpa later on.
Correcting a Grandparent's Mistake
Everyone makes mistakes, and being a grandparent is no different. If your child's grandparents overstepped or did not do what you asked of them, give everyone some space to calm down, according to KidsHealth. Arrange a calm time to discuss everything that happened. Your parents or in-laws may forget the rules you have set from time-to-time, so keep that in mind when you approach them about problems. If your parents served your little one pizza against your wishes, you might want to say, "I'm trying to make sure that Junior has a healthy diet. I'll pack a lunch for him when he visits you." Keeping a polite, non-confrontational stance can improve your relations with your child's grandparents.
Relationships with Grandchildren
Give your child plenty of time to bond with her grandparents, whether that involves going out for the day or getting help with homework. Since parents and grandparents may clash when it comes to views on religion or politics, you may want to encourage grandparents to let you answer any questions about those topics with your children. Grandparents should support your relationship with your child, including any rules that you make. If a grandparent is undermining your decisions, explain that it is causing confusion for your child and tension for you.
- Yale Medical Group: Let your Children Raise Their Kids
- KidsHealth: Bonding with Grandparents
- Raising Children Network: Being a Grandparent Carer: In a Nutshell
- KidsHealth: Living with Grandparents
- AARP: When Generations Share Space
- Focus on the Family: In-Law Relationships
- Focus on the Family: Advice for an In-Law
- KidsHealth: Apologizing
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images