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How to confront overbearing grandparents

Whether they’re your parents or your partner’s parents, communicating with grandparents who refuse to follow the rules you set for your kiddos is no easy feat. So, how do you guide the relationship your children and grandparents have without waging a huge family war? From how to communicate your rules on parenting to taking your parents’ feelings into consideration, find out how to confront overbearing grandparents the right way.



Stand up for yourself

Be firm and let them know that you must get to know your own baby and find out what works for you, and can’t wait for your little one to spend time with grandma and grandpa when you and your partner are ready. Many parents-to-be find themselves dealing with overbearing grandparents even before your baby is born. But setting precedence now may help you when dealing with overbearing grandparents later down the road.

>> Learn four tactics for handling parenting criticism from the in-laws


Set boundaries

The relationship between children and grandparents is different than a parent-child relationship, so your toes are bound to be stepped upon once in a while when dealing with children and grandparents. Although grandparents want to help you, you need to let them know how. When it comes to rules for grandparents on parenting, let them know you appreciate their help and then clearly explain the rules you’ve set for your own family and your children.


Present a united front with your partner

Whether it’s your parents overstepping their bounds or your partner’s parents disregarding your wishes when it comes to your children, the most important rule is to stick together. When talking to grandparents on parenting topics or boundaries, sending a message that you and your partner are on the same side will avoid having either one of you look like the bad guy.

>> Learn more about parenting as a united front


Tread lightly

It’s likely that their intentions are good, so be mindful of your parents’ feelings when broaching the subject of rules for grandparents when it comes to your children. Even as an adult, your parents are still your parents, so it’s second nature for them to try and tell you what to do, even when it comes to opinions on parenting.

Expert Tips Regardless of how often your parents break the rules you’ve set, you should never shut them out of your child’s life. “Grandparents are a key part to the healthy development of children and teens,” offers James D. Sutton, Ed.D., CSP, “Grandparents serve a unique role in that they are in the best position possible to accept a child unconditionally, a very valuable and much-needed quality.”

Instead of reacting in the heat of the moment, take a deep breath and discuss your feelings with your partner before gently discussing it with your folks. It’s best to maintain the relationship your children and grandparents have, because you never know when you’ll need their advice on parenting!

More on grandparents

Grandparents: What parents really want from you
Grandparents who break the rules
When a grandparent isn’t fair

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