How to Set Boundaries for Your Kids’ Grandparents
Your parents would gladly spend every extra second with your kiddo… and they seem to have an endless number of extra seconds. Not only are they all about going to the park, taking your little one to the store (the toy store, that is), and grandparent-child sleepovers, but they’re also totally into giving advice, even when it’s entirely unwanted. You love your mom and dad (or MIL and FIL), but are starting to wonder where you should draw the line. We’re here to set the record straight on how to navigate the tricky issue.
Your parents make it possible for you to go to work, run errands, or have a romantic dinner without crayons or paper placemats. Yay! But sometimes you need Grandma the babysitter to take a break in favor of some nuclear family time. It’s not easy telling Grandma she can’t stay for dinner or letting Grandpa know he can’t come over on Saturday too. This is an extra-tricky challenge when your parents play the role of sitter.
So how do you tell them they’re overstepping? Mom and Dad have given you so much — they gave you life! So telling them that they’re taking their grandparenting duties too far can feel kind of… well, gross. Instead of turning the you’re-way-too-involved discussion into a major argument, focus on the positives. Praise Grandma and Grandpa for the ways they step up and care for the kiddo. Show your gratitude for everything they do. On top of that, make sure you mention how much your child loves them. Once you’ve put the spotlight on their pros, come up with concrete “rules” that clearly spell out what you need. If you need Sundays for yourself and your child, say so. If you need Grandma to stop talking to your preschooler’s teacher, tell her. Draw the line, spell it out, and let the grandparents know that it’s coming from a place of love.
It’s also important to show some understanding. Before brushing Grandpa off as an annoying old man, think about what’s really going on. Maybe he spent so much time at work when he was younger that he missed his own kids’ childhoods. And maybe this is his way of making up for that now that he’s retired.
The grandparents love their grandkids, and they love you. It’s perfectly okay to make some rules and draw some lines. Just do it with compassion and understanding. Someday you’ll be the grandma. Think about how you want your kids to treat you when that day comes.
How much time is too much for the grandparents to spend with your kids? Share your answer and tweet us @BritandCo!
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