Relationships with grandparents can be some of the most meaningful in a child’s life. But sometimes, a lack of clear communication and boundaries can strain this dynamic. Here are some great tips to strengthen bonds between grandparents, children, and grandchildren by laying out clear boundaries for grandparents and keeping communication open.
For a grandkid, few things are as fun as making special memories with their grandparents. Instead of being primarily responsible for enforcing the rules, grandparents get to dole out gifts and teach them exciting things. They can tell them stories from “the olden days” when Mom or Dad was little. But sometimes this special relationship can become muddled with issues relating to parents and discipline.
Every family is different and will have its own set of values, but it’s so important to set boundaries with grandparents for the well-being of all. Be sure to share your dynamic relationships with grandparents with other parents on your favorite family app!
We Have a Baby! How Do We Set Boundaries With Grandparents?
One of the struggles of parenting is setting boundaries with grandparents. While you’ll want your parents and in-laws to have a good relationship with your child, you might have differing opinions on a variety of issues like discipline, bedtime, or nutrition. Grandma and grandpa may not mean to, but they can sometimes get involved when they shouldn’t interfere. While they likely mean well, it’s important to communicate so you can enjoy being a mother and father.
How to Set Boundaries With New Grandparents?
Talking it out is the most important way for parents to let grandparents know where they stand. Establish a time and place away from the children, where you can address potential areas of friction. Share your communication tips on FamilyApp with other parents!
- Determine Your Roles – There’s a good chance your grandparents will be visiting a lot when your child’s a baby or a toddler. That’s why it’s important to decide the rules for grandparents around discipline. Whether your child is exhibiting bad behavior or just won’t sleep, they need to know who’s in charge. This will ensure they’re not confused about what is and isn’t acceptable.
- Define the Rules – The best way to keep a given boundary in check is to define it. For example, when grandparents undermine parents’ authority and let your child stay up too late, talk about it. If you’re dead set against it or there is some leeway, discuss the options. Likewise, if they like to spoil your child with gifts and excursions, make sure you’re comfortable with it. It may be a grandparent’s job to “spoil” your child but it’s important they don’t take it too far!
- Plan the Conversation – If you’re having issues with your child’s grandparents, it’s best not to have a spur-of-the-moment conversation. An emotional outburst can create defensiveness and may upset them. Instead, plan for a discussion in the right setting so expectations and boundaries for grandparents and new baby are clear.
- Pick Your Battles – Whether your child has the world’s best grandparents or they’re challenging, it’s important to decide what’s worth the fight. There are situations where grandparents undermining parents may not be worth addressing. However, if it’s impacting your ability to parent, it’s important to have a discussion. Share your experiences with other parents on your favorite family app!
- Adopt Some Strategies from Nonviolent Communication – It’s better to express your own feelings and thoughts than reproach your parents or in-laws for their behavior or actions. Send messages about your views in a kind and respectful way, for example: “We know you did this and that with the best of intentions and we appreciate your help and you caring for our child very much. But as parents, we agreed on …”. This way, you all will be able to respect each other and can work together to your child’s benefit.
Grandparents have seen it all, and can offer great support! By defining your roles and giving leeway when it’s needed, you’ll be on your way to an even better relationship. Ultimately, it’s all about respect. Grandparents need to respect their children to make the right decision as parents. Parents need to respect the wisdom and relationship of grandparents with their grandkids.
Do you have any more tips for setting boundaries with grandparents? Share them with others in our comments! Communication is key in ensuring the healthy development and happiness of your child.