Grandparents are a great addition to your children's lives but can also interfere with your authority and discipline. Dealing with grandparents who interfere with your household rules can be challenging and frustrating. It is important that parents and grandparents are on the same page so that children grow up with consistent discipline. You can establish a balanced relationship with your children's grandparents by asking for their respect and support.
Pick what battles are worth pursuing with your children's grandparents. After making a list of all the things that bother you, analyze which items really have an impact on your children and which ones are just personal grievances or pet peeves that you can live with. Make it a point to overlook all the minor issues. Keep in mind that your children greatly benefit from having their grandparents involved in their lives.
Have a conversation with your partner regarding the involvement of your children's grandparents and how you would like to address any issues with them. Having established that you are on the same page, agree to approach grandparents as a team and to support each other. "Its crucial that you speak to them as a team," recommends Jill Spiegel, author of "How to Talk to Anyone about Anything," in the "Parents Magazine" article "How to Deal with Pushy Parents (Yours!)." Spiegel goes on to say, "They need to know that you are in agreement about how you're going to care for and raise this child."
Begin the conversation with your children's grandparents by highlighting how much they bring into your children's lives and showing your appreciation for them. Make specific statements about things that you would like for them to change. Use concrete statements such as "I would appreciate if you would support me in teaching the kids discipline by not engaging them when they are in time out." Give them the opportunity to share their own perspective and concerns.
Set clear limits on what is acceptable and unacceptable. Establish visitation times when your children's grandparents can take them on an outing or spend time with them without interfering with their schoolwork or extracurricular activities. Set times when it is okay to give your children gifts and communicate to the grandparents that certain gifts, such as a cell phone or electronic toy, need your approval. Talk to your children's grandparents about your household rules and ask that they cooperate in enforcing them.