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There’s a wonderful, special role that grandparents get to play within the family. Part of that role says that they have an extra bit of leeway with the grandkids—they might take them for ice cream or let them stay up a bit later when they visit, for example. Ideally, grandparents make life easier for the parents, and ideally, parents honor them and make them feel wanted.

Problems can arise when the grandparents interfere, intrude, or undercut what the parents are saying—or when parents forget to take the feelings of the grandparents into consideration.

Unsolicited advice is rarely welcome, and if it’s coming from one’s own parents or in-laws, it will most likely be heard as criticism.

Here are 11 tips for both parents and grandparents that can help clear up roles and responsibilities. Following this advice will help keep your family functioning well—not only in the now, but for generations to follow.

1. Assume the Best

If you’re a parent whose feeling like the grandparents have been stepping on your toes, start by trying to assume that they have the best intentions. Like all of us, they might make mistakes or be unaware of boundaries they’re crossing. Perhaps they feel unsure of what you want or don’t want from them. Let them know how they can be helpful to you. Help them feel included, important and needed.

2. Don’t Criticize

The number one rule of thumb for grandparents is, above all, don’t criticize. No one likes to feel judged or blamed, most of us become defensive and angry when criticized, and then we shut down. Think of it this way—who wants to be near someone who is always judging them? Instead of criticism, ask how you can be helpful. Focusing on the positive will do wonders for your relationship.

3. When a Boundary Has Been Crossed

Let grandparents know when they have stepped over a line that you’re not comfortable with, such as giving you unsolicited parenting advice. You can say, “I appreciate your expertise. I will definitely ask you if I need help.” Or “I know you may see it differently, but I’d appreciate you following the way I do it on this one.”

Give them a role so they feel they have a way to contribute. Invite them to your parenting classes or pediatrician if they’re having a hard time understanding how parenting and medical advice has changed. That way, they can ask questions and learn good ways to support you. This can solve a problem rather than lead to animosity between generations.

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If a grandparent says something to the grandkids like, “Your parents don’t know what they’re doing,” or “I would never do it this way,” or to the parents, “C’mon, give them a break, you’re too strict with them,” they’re stepping over a boundary. If they’re openly saying to the parent, “I think you should do it differently,” or “This is how I would do it,” without being asked, they are also showing a lack of respect for your rules and ideas. That’s when you have to make sure, as a parent, that you are clearly stating your boundaries.

A phrase or slogan you could say to a grandparent when they’re undermining you might be, “I appreciate your concern or your worry. I’m comfortable with the way I’m doing it.” And the slogan you can say to yourself is, “This is about them, not about me.”

4. Unless Asked, Don’t Tell

Unsolicited advice is rarely welcome, and if it’s coming from one’s own parents or in-laws, it will most likely be heard as criticism. If you respect that boundary, you will probably be asked for your opinion, where you will be free to express your advice and wisdom—you will then have more of a chance to have some influence.

If you have a big concern that you feel can’t or shouldn’t be ignored, ask permission, speak to the proper person (it’s probably best to speak to your child) and don’t do it in front of the grandchildren. Use your tact and timing. Above all, never side with one parent or the other. Stay neutral and be careful not to talk badly about the other parent through gossip, commiserating or complaining about one to the other, no matter how tempting.

5. Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle

Don’t let your grandkids put you in the middle when they complain to you about their parents. They might tell you that their parents won’t buy them what they want or how they won’t let them have a sleep over. Just respond with empathy, but don’t take sides or down talk the parents. This will only lead to trouble.

6. Support Your Mate

Support your mate when it comes to parenting. You might have to tell your own parents to back off a bit and that they are intruding. While it’s important to get this point across, be sure to never make them feel like a burden. Communicate boundaries, but find ways to make grandparents also feel respected, honored and wanted.

Let’s say your husband doesn’t want your parents to overstay their welcome when they visit. While this is his issue, he also has to support you in having good contact with your parents. Both of you can decide what the boundaries are for you as a couple. Clear up your issues together first, make sure you’re not working this out in front of the grandparents or making them uncomfortable. Then communicate what you need or expect.

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7. Define Yourself and Your Role

Be clear, honest and thoughtful about what you will and won’t do as a grandparent. Some grandparents feel they have already done the job of raising kids and don’t want to be called to babysit or be at every event. Others long for the invitation. Know what you are willing to do and not do and make this very clear. Communicating honestly will prevent difficult feelings down the road. If you live close by, are you willing to be called to pick up or drop off kids, babysit, called at the last minute, watch sports events? How often? Being clear about your role is better for everyone involved.

8. Unresolved Issues

Parents, if the role that you’ve played all your life in your family is no longer working, change it. Don’t spill your unresolved issues onto the next generation; work out the differences that are still affecting you. Recognize that it might be your own insecurity as a parent causing you to hear helpful advice or suggestions from the grandparents as criticism. If necessary, guide them to better ways of making suggestions that won’t leave you feeling undermined or criticized.

9. Stay in Your Own Box

Grandparents, make sure that by being helpful you aren’t being intrusive. Being a grandparent is such a joy, and it’s your chance to love your grandchildren and be the wise sage, the guide, and the teacher. Your goal is to be loving and supportive, not critical or overly judgmental. This will be best for you and for your children. Not only that, but you will be the joyful presence they will want to have around.

Be sure to fill your life with your many interests and goals beyond just being a grandparent. When you do this, you are taking responsibility for making your life full and complete so your kids or grandkids won’t feel they must do that for you.

Try and let go of expectations of how you want things to go or how you think things should go. Rather, take joy in how things are going. Don’t let expectations get in the way of enjoying and appreciating what is. If you think your daughter-in-law should be inviting you over more, rather than getting hung up on that, enjoy the events you go to. Always keep the communication open in order to work out differences.

10. Trust Your Kids to Parent Their Kids

Even if you don’t agree with what the parents are doing (as long as there are no health or safety concerns), trust them. Remember that you are not the parent, you are the grandparent. Getting in the middle of how your child and his or her mate are raising their kids will only cause problems. Keep in mind that the world has changed, and what worked years ago for you may not work very well now. If it helps, take some parenting classes or speak to a pediatrician to get some firsthand information.

Keep in mind that as a grandparent, even if you don’t agree, you have to go along with the rules. With medical or safety issues in particular, you need to defer to the parent. You can be curious, ask questions and talk about the issue in a respectful way. But your role is not to parent the child anymore—it’s to be the grandparent. Know where you end and they begin. Respect the boundaries and roles.

Love the grandkids unconditionally and be helpful to the parents rather than make things harder for them. And be compassionate with yourself when you mess up. No one’s perfect—not even Grandma!

11. Work to Make It Work

Most importantly, work to make this work. Parents need their parents, grandparents need their children and grandkids. This relationship is enriching for all and doesn’t last forever. Whether you live close or far away, make sure you find ways to make everyone a part of each other’s lives.

Related Content:
Your Child Is Not Your “Friend”
Parental Roles: How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Your Child

About

For more than 25 years, Debbie has offered compassionate and effective therapy and coaching, helping individuals, couples and parents to heal themselves and their relationships. Debbie is the creator of the Calm Parent AM & PM™ program and is also the author of numerous books for young people on interpersonal relations.

Comments (76)
  • not the favorite children
    Neither my husband nor I were our parent's favorite children. Which is funny for at least my Mom, because I am her only child. Both our parents have other children (and their children) they like more. The boys see that favoritism now that they're teenagers. I know it bugs them,More but they blow it off and say, "well, that's their problem". It's been 18 years of this nonsense, and quite frankly, I'd love to divorce my parents and their pain in the butt significant others (who I frankly think hate me). I don't really care what my husband does with his, but I wouldn't mind if I never saw them again. I think that playing favorites with your kids is downright wrong. Yet, if they don't want to like us, that's fine, just don't play that game with my two kids. It really gets my mama bear hackles right up. Any time I have tried to have conversations about it, via email or in person, it's always my fault and never theirs. My husband doesn't even bother trying to talk with his parents because he gave up caring what they think about him a long time ago. They fall really low on his radar. I probably need to get to that point fast with my messed up parental situation, because it bugs me so much every time I have to have an interaction with them. I really think there needs to be an article about "What do you do when your parents treat you and your kids, like the black sheep of the family". Frankly, I just really don't want to have any more to do with any of them, and neither do my kids.
  • Frusteratedbyoversteppingmil
    I would like my mil to stop asking for so much time with our daughter. Her son (my partner) doesn’t even want to talk to her. I’ve decided not to talk to her as she’s never shown any respect for me or even acknowledged me even though I’m in theMore same room when she only addresses her son about plans with our daughter. She’s taken me to court over this. I gave her time and for now am not going outside of the time I gave her. She often guilts her son to get time with her granddaughter which is damaging to our relationship. We have sat down and discussed our boundaries with his mom and this will be relayed to her in a safe environment with counsellors. She needs to understand while I’m not saying she can’t have time with her granddaughter she needs to respect our space, rules as parents and parental boundaries with this and we can’t do every week with her. She needs to just stop blaming others for tearing the family apart when that’s not the case at all. It’s not in our child’s best interest to promote such behaviour to our child.
  • Rachel
    Thank you (commenter) GG Love! This is the FIRST article I saw, after quite a search for various persectives, that did not exclusively address gp faults. Is this bc articles are aimed at a younger demographic, or because writers are under age 40? The grandparents of today were the helicopterMore parents of today's new mom's and dads. That could play into conflicts from both ends. Likewise, the path to boundaries, respect and sensitivity is a 2-way road.
  • GG Love
    Too many times I see advise to the grandparents on what not to do, but this issue really needs to be viewed from both perspectives.
  • Ada

    Hi! I'm in need of help. My husband and I are first time parents. We leave in a diferent state from where our parents live

    My father who is now single since my mother pased away 4 year ago is into meeting people through internet. On Octuber I had visited him and while on our stay in his house he would video chat with a lady who he met in the internet and who is from another country. Some times when he chated with the lady he would show her my baby. It bother me as well as my hudaband because we dont know her or her intension and my father has not met her in person nwither. Yet since I was staying at his house I did not told him anything. I mean its his house so I have to fallow his rule. This week he came to visit us. The first thing I told him was that I did not whant for him show my baby while video chating with the lady. I thaught that he understood. A few days passed and my husband saw him video chating with the lady while holding my baby. My husband is now furious and does not trust him or whants to speak to him. Im in the middle of it all because I love my father and I love my husband.I dont whant them to be figthing. Are we over reacting about not letting my father share pictures and video of his grand child to his internet friend?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Thank you for writing in. While this is a relatively new area of disagreement between parents and grandparents, it is quite common nonetheless. In the end, you are the parent, and thus you have the right to determine what you are comfortable with for your baby. IfMore you do not want pictures or videos of your baby being shared online, you can set that limit, whether it is with your father or anyone else. I encourage you to use the tips outlined in the article above to address this with your father, and to set clear boundaries moving forward. Take care.
  • Debra
    How old should a child be to start being disclipine?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      You ask a great question. Discipline involves many different aspects. Accountability and appropriate consequences can vary greatly depending on a child’s age and development. Another component of discipline is setting consistent limits for the child, and it’s never too early to start teaching a child about these.More Dr. Joan Simeo Munson outlines some steps every parent can take (even those of young children) in How to Discipline Young Kids Effectively: 4 Steps Every Parent Can Take . Please let us know if you have additional questions. Take care.
  • Joanne richardson
    Hi I have legal guardianship of my granddaughter as my daughter passed away when my granddaughter was only six weeks old. Her paternal grandparents used to see her on a Saturday till Sunday but this was stopped as they were saying nasty hurtful things to her and it was upsettingMore her . They got social services involved saying she was neglected etc but nothing came of that as she's very well kept . She then took me to court but I was told to do a parenting plan so she can have contact again but I don't no how to do this or what I would need ... I don't want her staying over night either.
  • Frustrated mother of 4
    I'm having a hard time with my child grandparentstepping on my toes as far as my kids go. For instance, my youngest child has some behavioral issues. I ask her gma to watch her because she acts so bad, and because I just need to get away sometimes when sheMore is that way. Now, she is over there as a punishment. I drop her off and say no computer/tablet/ or playing on gmas cell phone. I told her in front of her grandparent. I go to pick her up a couple hours later and she's on the computer. So I said "I thought I said no computer!?" To which I get the reply "gmas house, so she can do what gma says". If I tell her I said no to something they want to do, she lets them do it any way. My husband goes on a hunting trip for a week every year, I told my mom the kids will ride the bus home from school. They are all old enough to stay home for a couple hours til I get off work. She went and got my youngest after school and took her home before I got home from work. She does the same thing on any given day of school. I say my kids need to go home and learn to get along. Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong? How are my kids gonna respect me and what I say when grandparents let them do what they want!? And people wonder why my kids don't listen to me. The same grandparent also tells to to leave my oldest along and butt out as far as things with her. She is 18, but I am her mother. She tells me to shut the F up and stop talking to her. Seriously it's BS. All because I call her out of skipping school, and having a job to support herself. The grandparents instead hand her money hand over fist. She will never learn to stand on her own 2 feet that way. It drives me crazy. They aren't helping her. Now she says I'm a bad mom.
  • Ninjamedix
    My wife and I adopted my nephew back in July just before he turned 2 years old. My parents raised him from the time he was born until he was a year and a half old. They have their own way of raising him which is allowing him to doMore whatever he wants. My mother can seem to figure out that cutting his hair without asking is a no, no! Also, we personally don't like my kids pictures of them without clothes on being posted on social media. There are also respect things that we don't allow my kids to get away with but they do. I'm stuck in the middle as their son, they are older and I want to address the issue without hurting them. However, I do have a duty to my wife to make sure the issue gets brought up in a way that tells them they are for sure crossing the line. When we do bring stuff up my mother says, " I guess I keep messing up again." Like oh darn. I try to be respectful to my parents but when things keep piling on I feel like I'm going to explode on my mother and we will hurt our relationship.
  • Dolomite
    Quick fact pattern: Two daughters, 17 and 14. 14 year old has some mild OCD/anxiety issues. When we visit grandparents, they adore 17-year old and always side with her. When little sister takes a long time to get ready, GPs only see older sis' side of it -- this encouragesMore big sis to be dramatic about all she has to go through living with little sis, but that (of course) is only part of the story. Both kids are wonderful, but they both also have their faults. It's different, but pretty-much equal. But GPs only sees older sis' side of it, and she plays up the martyr role, "I try to be good to my sister, but I have to wait for her all the time, and she's so awful to me." And that's what GPs hear (since little sis doesn't feel comfortable talking to GPs, for obvious reasons). Me and my wife try to explain that situation is more complicated than GPs realize, but Grandma is extremely rigid and can be very scary, and she thinks she's seeing everything clearly with a week's visit, and us (the dumb old parents) who live with these kids don't understand. AAAUUUGGGHHH!!. Immensely frustrating and unfair, but this dynamic has been happening for a long time, and it doesn't get any easier. Advice?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Dolomite It can be so painful when you witness others, such as grandparents, playing favorites with your children and appear unwilling to hear another side of a situation.  In times like this, it can be more helpful to focus on where you have control.  Ultimately, you cannot “make” Grandma seeMore a situation from another perspective, or feel a certain way toward either of your daughters.  You can only control your own actions and responses.  As Debbie points out in the article above, it can be useful to come up with a slogan or a response you can use when the grandparents cross a boundary.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
      • Dolomite
        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Dolomite I certainly will. Thank you so much for reading and your advice/analysis. It is genuinely appreciated.
  • All about kenzie
    just have to say my granddaughter is profoundly affected by the way her mother takes her away from our family we have a bond it's damaging to a great extent my granddaughter is now not been able to see us for a month only a couple days in that monthMore and she is going downhill fast her attitude is nobody loves her at her mommy her mommy hates her very very much these are the things that she says to her I cannot for the life of me tell you how aggravated and upset I am I don't know what to do
  • All about kenzie
    I have been raising my granddaughter since she was 3 months old the mother decided to leave she was unhappy with my son I have done hours and hours and hours and days and days and days of care for my granddaughter since she was that old she is nowMore 6 and the mother is still trying to take her away from our family we have done above and beyond what parents should do for their children and their exes I feel unappreciated and overwhelmed I don't know what to do about my granddaughter's care the mother uses her as a pawn and a paycheck what should I do
    • ForConsideration
      All about kenzie Very sad story. Just a quick thought. Not sure how helpful it will be. But it sounds like your granddaughter is at the center of this. You may find it helpful to shift this around just a bit and make it about you and your daughter. NotMore negatively, but positively. Take her to lunch (no agenda). Take her to a movie (no agenda). Give her a little gift (no agenda). Seems like this is the relationship that needs repair. She's your daughter. Perhaps she feels like your granddaughter has become the apple of your eye and not her. If you can re-establish a healthier relationship with your daughter, you might find her more receptive to accepting a stronger "supporting" role for you with your granddaughter. Just a thought. best wishes for a better year ahead.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      All about kenzie I can only imagine how upsetting this situation must be, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support.  I can tell how much you love and care for your granddaughter, and how her mother’s actions are affecting both of you.  In the end, herMore mother is allowed to make her own decisions, even those that you do not agree with or support, as long as she is not making unsafe or abusive parenting choices.  At this point, it might be useful to look into local supports, such as a counselor or a support group, to help you look at your options and create a plan moving forward.  If you are not currently working with anyone, try contacting the http://www.211.org at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service which connects people with resources available in their community.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Healing Heart
    It's centered around today's generation. We unfortunately have so many procedures as grandparents that most of the joy gets so lost. Thanks for saying that, it's a big emotional investment being an involved grandparent?
    • Barbara kirkham
      Healing Heart thank you healing heart for your advice. I am going to try and handle situations with more sensitivity from here on out. Merry Christmas too all !
  • Healing Heart
    And don't let the holiday be a major stressor, it's an even road...they want ya around as much as you want them, demonstrating powerless is not good. Holidays always seem to control our emotions and create fear of being rejected, plan out your holiday with your husband and ifMore you daughter decide to shun you then you'll be the better person by not getting cheated of the true celebration of Christmas...Gods gift to you...your life on his sons birthday.
  • Healing Heart
    Your daughter seemed to be consumed with emotions forgetting her role in the situation, so don't blame yourself. Maybe you go do something girly with the granddaughter to balance out the field. sometimes it will be just one ticket or a bonding moment with one so just planMore out something with the other ..you take one husband gets other and make it good quality time. This is a minor rift, let it go and redo next time. It will all workout
  • TeeDeeTeeDee
    I feel this is a very parent-centered article and condescending to grandparents - I'm not a grandparent, and I resent it, so I imagine many grandparents would find this extremely grating.
  • Barbara kirkham
    Any advice from other grandparents?
  • Barbara kirkham
    My daughter gave permission for my husband to t a ke our 12 ya old grandson to a professional football game that he was given 2 free tickets too. After they got back my daughter texted me and said from now on her cHildren will be treated fairly. Our 8More yr old grandaughter, his sister was very hurt she couldn't go.  My husband and I felt bad but I got angry because my daughter approved and then later corrected us. Now there is a family rift right before the holidays. I was so upset I got a headache foe 2 days. I never get headaches
    • jlkminakis
      Barbara kirkham I think your daughter needs to be reminded of what the word "fair" is really all about. Fairness isn't about equal treatment. 'Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.'
    • Lizzy333
      Barbara kirkham Why not use this opportunity to have a special outing with just you and your granddaughter, maybe go shopping or have tea together, something girly.  This might help you patch things up before the holidays.  Then, in the future, perhaps schedule outings such that if your husband wantsMore to take the grandson out, you also have something scheduled with the granddaughter, so no one's feelings get hurt.  The worst thing to do is focus on being mad with the parents, just try to let each child know they are loved and try to forgive your daughter for her inconsistency.  The main thing this time of year is loving without measure.
      • Barbara kirkham
        Lizzy333 Barbara kirkham Thanks Lizzy for your objective advice. I will try and mend this rift , as the matriarch in our family it is my responsibility to be the best example.
  • Healing Heart
    Take it from someone who knows, savor the moments with her and don't analyze things that are not life threatening. Sadly some parents will use their kids as pawns. Enjoy, live and let live.
  • grandma dawnl
    So I have been trying to follow the advice of  enjoy my time with my  4 year old granddaughter and just keep my mouth shut when I see or hear things I don't agree with and sometimes I feel that is more stressful then seeing and hearing the crazy things,More I now get to see her when they need a sitter they leave when I get there and dismiss me when they come  home I know I should be great fun but when I pick her up from school she is wearing high heel shoes that are to big she is tripping , she is always too tired to take her any where cause they let her stay up till she falls a sleep
  • Mimi 2008
    I have guardianship of my granddaughter but she lives with her Aunt because I live in the Willy Wacks (LOL).  Everything had been going fine until last night.  She got mad at me because I didnt ask permission to have my granddaughter next month.  This is how I worded it.More " I thought about taking her on Veterans day weekend and do this and that but will ask you and her (she is 8) when it gets closer.  She got pissed and told me I need to ask permission.  I told her it was a thought just putting out there in case she wanted to make plans that weekend of her own.  Does anyone here have the same issue or giving me feedback if you ask your Adult children?
  • aydanmommy23
    How do i tell my parents to back off me and my boyfriend relantionship they think he not right for me and my 3 week old son. Its got to the point were they said he can only visted at me and my parents house i am only 17 butMore almost turning 18 in few weeks. I dont think they have the right to do that but i dont want to come off disrepesctful to them getting to point where i just want to move out and live with him instead
    • Healing Heart
      As long as you live under another persons roof, they set the rules and they are helping you and your child. My first focus would be getting priorities inline by becoming independent and figuring out how to get a future in order for you and your child. IfMore the guy is right for you, in time he will be there and prove your parents wrong. As for visiting only at your parents house, they should know that it's not realistic when you're an adult...but adult comes with much responsibility. You're young and can create a wonderful future, many resources out there...work hard it willl happen for you, anything is possible!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @aydanmommy23 

      We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

      sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about the conflict between you, your

      boyfriend, and your parents.  Because we are a website aimed at helping

      people become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice and

      suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. 

      Another resource which might be more useful to you is the Boys Town National

      Hotline, which you can reach by calling 1-800-448-3000, 24/7. They have trained

      counselors who talk with kids, teens and young adults everyday about issues

      they are facing, and they can help you to look at your options and come up with

      a plan.  They also have options to communicate via text, email, and live

      chat which you can find on their website, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ We wish you

      the best going forward. Take care.

  • Elizabeth
    Okay let me start of by saying that I had a baby outside of marriage but me and the father are and have been in a relationship for over a year and half . While I was pregnant I live with my boyfriend and his mother , who was smokingMore in the house and doing bad things . It got so bad to the point that she was smoking pot while I was Pregnant she was on drugs and has even gotten violent with me more than once . She even tried to run me over with my boyfriends car when I was 6 months Pregnant . The night of my baby shower she had gone out and had done drugs she got pulled over and arrested ... She was in jail for nearly 7 months , so quite honestly I don't want her around out daughter . But I bit my tongue and tried my best so she could have an incentive and get her self straight . But recently I have noticed that she is relapsing back into her habits , so I threatened to not bring my daughter around . And now she is claiming that she can go to court and have grandparent rights . I'm not sure what to do but I really don't want her around our daughter
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Elizabeth  

      We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

      sharing your story.  I’m sorry to hear about the issues you have faced

      with your boyfriend’s mother. Because we are a website aimed at helping people

      become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice and suggestions we

      can give to you regarding this situation. It may be helpful to look into local

      resources to help you develop a plan for addressing your particular issues. The

      211 National Helpline is a referral service available 24 hours a day,

      nationwide. They can give you information on the types of support services

      available in your area such as counselors, support groups, legal assistance as

      well as various other resources. You can reach the Helpline by calling

      1-800-273-6222 or by logging onto http://www.211.org/. We

      wish you the best going forward. Take care.

  • Anstasija
    I am so happy to find that website. Thank you for the article. My mom lives over seas. She has some narcissistic trays and she never evaluates me emotionally and lies sometimes. My daughter is 7year old. My mom came to visit the second time and it came toMore an incident between my high need girl and my mom. My mom is upset and responses really badly to my daughter, does not talk to her, mimiks/gives my daughter bad and ironic looks and strongly prefers my 2year old son which does not help. My daughter sees that and is heart broken/does not understand why grandma will not play with her at all. I was telling her that she has not been responding to grandma in a nice ton and was not listening. Grandma is now upset and it will take s long time if ever until my mom softens up. My mom does not accept apologies. My heart is broken that my daughter experiences the same withdrawal of love I had to. My mom does not care. What can I do?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Anstasija 

      I

      can hear how much you care about both your mom and your daughter, and want your

      daughter to have a different relationship with your mom than you did.  Ultimately,

      though, you cannot make your mom interact with your daughter in a certain way,

      and it’s up to your daughter and your mom to figure out their relationship with

      each other.  You are only in charge of your own responses, boundaries and

      relationship with each of them.  If you are not already doing so, it could

      be helpful to have some support for yourself as you figure this out moving

      forward, such as a counselor or support group.  For assistance locating

      these and other resources available in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I

      recognize what a difficult spot you are in right now, and I wish you and your

      family all the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Linda
    I asked my 10 yo grandson if he wanted to go on a 4 day vacation with his grandfather and I.  He said yes.  Now, 3 days before vacation, he doesn't want to go. His mom says it anxiety.  Should I just accept that he doesn't want to go nowMore and let it go?  I think since he stated he wanted to go he should go.  I could really use some advice.  Thanks
    • Healing Heart

      I would sit down with him and he talk it out, he may change his mind again, especially if you approach it with love and an open heart without any pressure tactics.

      If it is not a paid airfare or something refundable then don't sweat it, If it is, then throw that into the mix

    • jeffcloes
      That's ridiculous every kid backs out of the unknown. You sit down with him and his parents and tell him what a great time he is going to have , he can play with his friends when he gets back and off you go.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Linda 

      It’s not uncommon for kids your grandson’s age to change

      their minds for a variety of reasons.  For example, it could be anxiety

      about going on vacation with only his grandparents, maybe he found out that

      some friends were planning to do something fun while he would be gone with you,

      or any number of other reasons.  It could be helpful to talk with him

      about what is going on to figure out what contributed to his change of

      plans.  In the end, though, I would not recommend getting into a power

      struggle with him or trying to “make” him go on vacation with you.  I hope

      this helps; take care.

  • Loo
    My dad came up to help me put in my garden. He brought his rototiller and needed to pull this SUV and trailer through my yard to get to the garden. He took my 15 month old son and let him ride up front. I wasn't cool with it atMore all and I know if my husband would have been home he wouldn't have either. I didn't say anything because my dad and his girlfriend get really butthurt when I say anything. It's definitely not safe for a toddler to be in the front seat of a car no matter the circumstances. I'm so angry I let this happen.
  • Concerned
    My daughter in law asked me to talk with my granddaughter cause every time she discipline her or ask her to do something she tells her "I want nana or nana will" etc. I want my granddaughter to know that first and foremost her mom & dad are herMore parents not me. I don't see I'm doing anything but I must be cause there's a problem and I don't want that for my son / daughter in law
    • Healing Heart
      That's just a natural reaction for kids, because grandparents are usually not disciplinarians in this stage of life. In time she will see that unfortunately, it's out of your hands and will need to comply with her parents rules. The parents shouldn't take it personal when she pleasMore those cries and should be mature enough to suck it up.
      • Healing Heart
        As for talking with the child, what exactly does she want you to say.....it's silly
  • junebugbri
    PLEASE!!! HELP!! I need a phone # !! Please! I'm in desperate need to talk to someone, and get advice on how to begin with handling issues/problems in regards to my 3 step grandchildren. I don't have any family to talk to, their parents will not answer my phoneMore calls, won't return my calls or texts, and I'm soooo confused with the whole situation. I have tempory custody and it ends soon, as its Provisional Mandated Custody. I love these kids so much, it's killing me that the parents act as if the girls don't exist, haven't called them since September last year, or seen them..so much more than I should type. These lil girls deserve so much more than this!! Oh my!! I need to talk with someone who can help me with what, where, and how to do what is best for these 3 lil ladies. The oldest is 11, the middle is 10, and the youngest just turned 5. Please Lord, help.
    • Healing Heart
      I hope tho have gotten better for you and the girls. Stay strong
    • dnewtonwairaka

      junebugbri hello June, firstly i would explain to the girls that mum and dad are going through some difficult situations. keep assuring the children that mum and dad love them very much and that one day you hope they will return home. Tell the girls that you love them very much and you are there to take care of them and help them through their schooling years. at the end of the day its whats in their best interest that matters. Take a lot of interest in their interests and help them to develop in those areas. Let the girls know that you miss mum and dad,,,,but sometimes in life people make choices that can separate the family as in their case. 

      Stay positive and strong, cause if you were not there for your grandchildren think of the consequences and lifestyles they may be living if they were placed in the care of other people. At least they are safe with you and are cared and loved by you. They will never forget you for what you are trying to do for them. Most importantly they are all together,,,,there is nothing worst than separation.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      junebugbri

      I can hear your concern. There are a couple resources that

      could be useful for your situation. The first is https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/, an organization

      committed to protecting children from abuse. They have a 24/7 helpline that

      will connect you with a counselor. All you have to do is call them at

      1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and you can talk with someone about your

      situation and concerns. Another helpful resource is the 211 Helpline. This is a

      nationwide referral service that can give you information on services and

      supports in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling

      1-800-273-6222 or by visiting them online at http://www.211.org/.

      I hope this information is

      useful. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Cathy
    How can it be OK for the parents, to let the child watch tv and or play video games all day and night. They sit with him on the couch all day watching him or playing games with him. No outdoor playing. No bedtime. 7 years old. They never brushMore his teeth, give him breakfast, have him do his homework, make him eat anything other than chicken fingers fries and pizza, all take out. Parents never clean the house, garbage, filth, inside and out, the town has called them for cleanups several times. Both vehicles have old food containers, with food stil in it, wet clothes,  2 years agos skates etc.. My Grandson has to climb all over these mountains of junk to get in his car seat. The mother is my daughter. They buy big  toys and big  screen tvs, but don't pay bills. Cars are repossesed etc. How can I agree with this parenting.  I am the mean mother and grandmother. When we babysit him,  three or 4 times a week, 3 to 5 hours at a time, I make him wash hands, brush his teeth, do homework, bathe him, take him outside, etc. My parents don't make me do that, he says. My daughter and I argue, my husband says let him do whatever he wants, we argue. How do I Iet this go and say nothing. Is letting the child do whatever he wants ok and I am to say nothing??? Is this today's parenting? Thanks for somewhere to vent.
    • Healing Heart
      If it's really as you describe, then it's considered child neglect and should be reported. If it's not, take advantage of your time within your control by savoring the time he spends with You and make it different from his home life but fun. Don't become a dictator butMore the loving grandparent you're destined to be. Grandparenting is a priveleage...believe me, take it from someone who knows, while you have them in your life enjoy because someday they may decide to cut you out of the picture..not getting to see them anymore. I used to pick my battles and have no regrets and the nine years I reflected on him alone may stay ingrained in his mind forever as the role model he will lean on to inspire a healthy future.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Cathy

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. It sounds like you

      are very concerned about your grandson’s well-being. Whenever you think a child

      is at risk of harm of any kind, it’s helpful to find someone to talk about it..

      We would encourage you to call ChildHelp to talk with a specially trained

      counselor about your concerns. You can reach them 24/7 at 1-800-4-A-CHILD

      (1-800-422-4453). The counselors there can help you determine the best way to

      proceed in this situation. We wish you and your family luck with this. Take

      care.

  • entry mats

    I think they are not to judge my parenting since they themselves were

    so clueless as to what was happening in their own family that they lost a

    daughter and a sister to illness!! Who is more careless than them!!!

    • Healing Heart
      I agree nobody should judge your parenting as we all do our best. However you're judging them for something out of their control? An illness of a child and death is pretty harsh and is painful to them, which may explain thier overprotective demeanor. Maybe have a crucial conversationMore with them and setting boundaries.
  • Respect
    Is was this article written by a teenager? I never shoved, hit or spoke disrespectful to my grandmother. My daughter never did this either. My son-in-law allows his 8 year old daughter with ADHD to behave this way to everyone in the family and tells me notMore to "harp" on her. Her ten year old brother goes ballistic when she crosses the line and quite often gets chided for his behavior when the sister has no boundaries. Every child needs to learn to respect others. She will have difficulty with relationships and not to mention that employers will not shrug their shoulders at bad behavior.
  • Lizzy333

    to grandma dawnl

    If you are banned from seeing your granddaughter, you can use the time off to make use of the mail.  Collect cute coloring pages (for three year olds), print some fun hidden pictures off the internet, etc. and mail them to her.  Little ones love to get things in the mail.  This way, you are still sending your love to her, and she is reminded of you in a very happy way.  Nothing is ever wasted...our children love each and every thing they get in the mail, and its a great way to do something positive in a difficult situation.

    • grandma dawnl

      Lizzy333 thanks lizzy

      I will give that a try

  • grandma dawnl

    Hey,  I am the mother of a 40 you old son he married a woman with 2 now teens and I have a 3 you old granddaughter we

    When ever they fight I get banned from seeing  the baby what would  you do

    • Healing Heart
      Yes, that sounds just about right for this generation. Live your life and squeeze in as much love as you can for those times they don't fight but talk to the son and explain your perspective if it bothers you too much.
  • jas5
    My mother was cruel and manipulative with me and I stopped all contact 5 years ago for my own good. Yesterday my 16 year old left home and revealed she was going to live with my mother and had been secretly meeting her for months. IMore feel my mother has brainwashed my daughter. Today she has contacted the school to say she now has guardianship and I don't know what to do
  • katie
    Hi I'm a mother of a 6yr old boy and I am divorced my first marriage didn't work out due to complications things have been tough over the past 6yrs  I've done the best I can for my little guy I love him to pieces but I feel like IMore don't get to make important decisions in his life . I am very sick with a terminal illness and due to the fact it can strike me down wherever and whenever I am sick frequently in the hospital 2weeks at a time usually every two months this happens my family has never been the most supportive bunch ive always had to make it through my life deciding what I thought was right with my son over the past 6years I have gotten criticized by my family saying I'm making this mistake or I'm being to strict with my son but he is very out of control sometimes and whenever I try to step in to correct him I'm always told you "never let him have any fun " or  my grandfather would always get angry with me and say what is he doing wrong ? are you gonna punish him some more so I know these comments might sound mild compared to what ive read on here but with how things are going I do the best I can and my parents are basically letting my son get away with chaos even though I do attempt to put him in time out or take things away they undermine me and make things tough for me to get him to listen and I'm always being put down in front of him Ive also tried talking with them on several occasions about this issue they have selective hearing so they will not listen .
  • Joan Larson
    We are grandparents of 8. Our divorced daughter and her 2 special needs children have lived with us for 14 yrs. She remarried, had a child and divorced after 2 yrs. She and all of her children moved back in with us. We have a son whoMore lives close by who is married and has a son. We attend his son's athletic activities and see our son, his wife and our grandson frequently. We have another daughter who stated after she got married that she did not want to live close to family so moved over a thousand miles away. We see them 3 or 4 times a year. They have 4 children. We call our daughter often. She rarely calls us nor does she have her children call us. We send birthday cards and talk to our grandchildren on their birthdays. We have attended some of their school activities but because they live so far away and my husband is not retired we are not able to attend things like wevdo out other grandchildren that live close by. This daughter is very controlling and we have allowed her to be that way over the years. We are now standing up to her and because we are sharing our feelings with her she had decided we are not good parents or grandparents and we need to sincerely apologize to her for that. Her complaints against us are we do not love her or her children because we do not know who her children's best friends are, we do not know their teachers names, we do not know the name of the church they go to, and we do not know she and her husband are trying to start up a new business. She never told us about this business so how would we know. She has told us until we get extensive counseling and apologize she and her children will not have any contact with us. It has been 7 months now. We still send BD cards and holiday cards but do not know whether they get them or not. We send a text message every week to our school age grandchildren to have a good week at school. We got a text from her husband to not do that. We no longer live with our daughter and my husband has retired so now we have more time to travel and visit them but they do not want any part of us,. It is so sad because we want a relationship with our grandchildren,. What do we do and how do we handle this! Help us to understand! Joan and steve
  • Reena

    Hello all,

    I am writing to ask about a very tough subject.....the grandparent who withholds desperately needed aycare as a means of controlling the parents. I think this is as low as a grandmother can go personally. Financial security comes from being able to work, that means everything that said grandchild needs!!! That's a pretty serious thing to mess with and it causes hardships that you-as a grandparent-should NEVER want your kids and grandchild to have to go through!!! Shame on any grandparents that use the help they give as a method of emotional blackmail!

  • Eva

    My mother thinks my son was a gift from the angels sent for her. She has gone as far as telling me that he should live with her and that he'd be happier with her. I defended my position as a parent on the issues of soda and good saying "he's my son" to which she replied "you can think that.". The way she would hold him close to her face when he was a baby made me extremely uncomfortable as it seemed far too intimate for anyone with a baby. I said something to her as nicely as I could saying that I knew she loved her grandson but any onlookers would likely be uncomfortable with the extreme PDA. Let's just say that it made me more uncomfortable than watching two teenagers groping each other. Every time I approach her on what I think is overstepping I get shot down, sometimes brushed off and other times made to feel like an ungrateful daughter. She and my father continually wanted to buy my kids their first this or that and take them to first movies. I have two kids. My parents can't curb their buying for my kids and told me to get a bigger house when I protested I was out of room for toys. They told me I shouldn't build my basement the way I want because the kids should have another playroom. My husband's parents are vilified and my mother said recently "I just don't like them spending time with my grandkids. They can't love them like I do!" I told her that she sounded deranged and asked how anyone is supposed to deal with that? She laughed me off. When they disrespect my wishes they point out that they raised me and I can't do anything about it. I am told constantly how to raise them. I was verbally threatened with a lawsuit if I cut them off from their grandkids by moving away. When I was looking for a job in another state my mother called me and screamed at me, crying, telling me I shouldn't move with kids and I had to leave them with her. I was told that I should have thought about this before having kids. I am emotionally exhausted. I stayed where I am at.

    So here is where I am at... They already took my kids on a long day trip this year and they are taking them again later this year on an overnight trip. They spend the night often and get plenty of time. My kids are spoiled, and right now I'm battling the "I wants". So when my parents asked for yet another overnight trip with my kids I said no. That isn't sinking in. I have had no less than 6 conversations with them on this now. My dad even called me at work and told me it isn't fair and I get to do whatever I want. Trust me that this is bull. I have a job a dislike and I balance my hobbies with the needs of my family always coming first. My mother called again to tell me I'm spoiled so my kids should be too.

  • Lizzy333

    To Tired of Fighting

    The destructive relationship between you and your step mother is not helping anyone.  She is overstepping her bounds and it sounds like you feel powerless to do anything to stop her.  This might be because you are at her house, on her "turf." It may be a good idea, even though it is hard to take away "grandparents time" with your son, to stop visits for awhile and let the entire situation diffuse.  Your son will not be hurt or damaged, kids are very flexible.  Maybe you could occasionally have your parents meet you and your son somewhere like a park or playground, where it is a neutral place.  Definitely avoid their home.  When parents are stressed out, it makes a huge impact on children.  Your son will be much better off in the long run with a less stressed out mother.  You cannot change your step mother and its not fair to your dad either to always be putting him "in the middle."  Try to put some distance between your life and theirs.  Time has a way of healing, and it sounds like you could use a complete break for awhile.  May God give you courage.

  • Tired of fighting

    I am a single parent of an awesome little boy. He is well mannered. He's happy 95% of the time. Very caring and loving. In a way, he's somewhat spoiled, but he does get disciplined when need be.

    My father wasn't the best father... but as a grandfather, he's awesome. He loves my son so much. My step-mother is very criticizing towards me. When I got pregnant, she wanted me to have an abortion. I refused. She kicked me out of the house. When I got further along, she wanted me to put my child up for adoption. Again. I had refused because I felt this was the only chance I was going to get to become a parent. My pregnancy was a high risk one. He was born a month early at 7lbs 9oz. He was a healthy baby though.

    Over the years my step-mother has expected me to raise my son with perfection and she does not hold back on any sort of what she calls "helpful" parenting tips even though she knows I continue to ignore it. She is very disrespectful. I had my dad and her over for dinner a few times but one day over the phone she told me that I shouldn't use fragrant  products in my household. I ignored her and haven't invited them over for dinner since then. My dad wanted my son to go over there for a sleepover. My step-mom brought him home and said "Would it help if I bought you some fragrant-free laundry detergent?" I told her, "Why would it? I'm going to buy products that I like. this is my home" She then told me that my son and I weren't allowed over there unless I switched over. I talked to my dad later, she hadn't even mentioned it to him and my dad was upset. I got a voicemail from her saying "You should have kept that conversation between the two of us. It's my house and I get to decide who is allowed to come over" It's not just her house. It's also my dad's house too. And I felt my dad deserved to know why he wasn't going to be able to see his only biological grandson  as much. This I felt was very sneaky and manipulating thing for her to do. My dad came up with the plan that they would buy some clothes to keep over there so all they had to do was have him change into those clothes when he got into the house.

    Over the last year, she has cut his hair 3 times without talking to me first, which I find rude and disrespectful. She wouldn't cut her other grand-kid's hair without talking to their parents so why is she doing it to mine?

    When my son and I are over there visiting, she constantly tells me, "This is my house so only one person tells him what to do." My son hears it and at times he's told me that his grandma was the boss and not me.  My step-mother's mom is currently in town (this being said, I now know why my step-mom is the way she is). Step-mom's mom had made some peace-sauce and said that it was for my son. I told her that my son had recently eaten so he didn't need it. I looked at it awhile later and saw some ants in it. My dad was going to put it in the sink when she came out and said, "that's not trash." My dad told her there was ants in it. She scoffed and said, "If she doesn't want him to have it, then I'll eat it." Later after my step-mom came home from work I was telling my son to pick up the toys. I had to repeat myself a few times because he was refusing to move. My step-mom jumped in and started to tell him he needed to pick up toys or go to the bedroom. He ran to the bedroom. Short time later, he came back and started to pick up toys. My step-mom then said, "Your mom is getting your plate ready for dinner." My obviously very hungry boy came running to the table and sat down in his chair. My step-mom's mom then said "Oh, he doesn't need to pick up the toys now?" So my step-mom started taking the toys away and my son was then extremely upset and he was trying to stop her from taking them away. She told him, "Your mom told you to pick them up and I told you to pick them up. Now you can't have them for a week."  He WAS starting to pick them up before she told him that I was making his plate, which means it's dinner time so come to the table and relax for family time. After she took his toys away I tried taking him outside to calm him down and she came out and said "Get your stuff because I'm taking you both home." She claimed his meltdown was due to him being overly tired.

    On the way home she again had asked me to sign forms that give her the right to make medical decisions in emergency situations. In the last year she has asked for my son's medical card countless times. I have even asked the doctor what she thought, she told me that if it was her, she wouldn't do it. So, I've told her multiple times, "I'm not giving you his card." This time in the car, she told me, "Unless you sign papers, I'm not taking him on trips anymore. (Trying to manipulate me again?)" It upset me. Things always have to be done her way and if she doesn't get her way it's the highway. Also, when she doesn't get her way she also takes it out on my dad. She also told me, "As grandparents we don't have any rights to him." Yes, I know that... and I'm intending to keep it that way because honestly... I do not trust her at all! 

    My dad a few days later had to get out of the house because he was tired of dealing with my step-mom's mom always getting into his business. He told me that she tried to apologize to him for the nightmarish dinner disaster. My dad told both his wife and her mom, "It's not me you should be apologizing to, it's my daughter. You both disrespect her all the time. You constantly undermine her and he sees it. She may have some hard times with him but I think she's doing a good job because if she wasn't he wouldn't be so well-mannered most of the time."

    I feel as if she treats me as if I'm inferior to everyone else and it makes me feel like I don't deserve to be a mom but then I look at my son and I see how wonderful and happy he is. I have to be doing something right if he's got good manners. She's said maybe one nice thing in the last year, "You've taught him some good things BUT he also needs..." But it's never good enough for you... nothing ever is. There have been times in the past where she would say something extremely rude when I was feeling vulnerable. I've tried doing family counseling but after awhile, I felt it wasn't working so it stopped.

    At this point... I'm fed up. I can't keep on fighting when in the end I am told that I am in the wrong. I'm tired of fighting with her all the time. I'm at the point where I seriously don't want her in my son's life but then again he loves her so much and it would break my heart to smithereens to see him so hurt by not being able to see her.

    What would you do in this situation?

    • Darlene EP

      @Tired of fighting 

      It sounds like you and your son

      have gone through quite a bit with your family. I am sure it has not been easy

      to deal with. I can understand you feeling torn about the situation. If your

      son would be upset by not seeing his grandmother then there must be some

      positives to keep in mind when you are making your decision to continue a

      relationship or not. Because we are a website aimed at helping parents develop

      more effective parenting skills, we are going to be limited in guiding you in

      your situation. Only you can decide what is best for you and your son. If you

      are looking for more guidance in coming to a decision, you may want to reach out

      to local supports in your community, like a counselor or pastor. You can find

      more information on resources in your area by contacting the 211 Helpline. You

      can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also

      find them online at 211.org. Good luck to you as you continue to work through

      this. Thank you for writing in. Take care.

  • DJack3
    I have a 11/2 and 3 yr old grandaughthers and I cant sit back and watch what is going on anymore.  My daughter and her husband are wrecking my granddaughters.  The three yr old sleeps with them still and sucks a pacifier still as well as wants nothing to do withMore going on the potty so they don't really even try to make her.   She throws screaming fits to go to the store and get a toy and 9 out of ten times after making many threats like she wont get this or that they will litterly take her to the store and buy her what she wants.  Hell she throws a fit in the store while buying her stuff. She eats what she wants when she wants for the most part. She screams at her parents and me and they like with all the above they do NOTHING about it.  The 11/2 is totally fallowing suit.  They fight for attention from my daughter when she comes home from work and trust me its not from lack of attention. They give especially the 3yr old anything she wants and all bad behavior has no consiqunces.  The straw that broke the camels back was the other day I was out there helping with the kids my daughter had to work and day care was closed but my son  in law was there but on call for his job cause it was memorial day.  Anyway my granddaughter is scraming at me about something and her dad latterly laughed at it in front of her I said that is NOT funny and he laughed again. My 2 granddaughters are so preciouse and the fact that they are spoiled misbehaved kids is sooooo not their fault and I don't blame them for any of this mess.  I know that my daughter knows what they are doing and not doing is wrong, but its the easy lazy way to deal with it.  Im going to have to do something derastict to open their eyes.So I have to stay away until they take parenting classes and start making  some changes with their kids.  It tears me up watching whats going on and seeing no effort to better it.  I cant be a party to it anymore and I plan on telling them so.  I don't think I have a choice.
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    @latha vasudevan

    We appreciate you writing in. Parenting a toddler can be

    challenging, especially when it seems like you are getting conflicting messages

    and different types of support from your parents and your in-laws. As Rebecca

    Wolfenden points out in her blog http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/motherhood-fatherhood/what-is-the-right-way-to-parent/, new parents are exposed to many different

    parenting theories and it can be difficult to decide what is the right thing to

    do. Due to the age of your daughter, we are very limited in the

    advice we are able to offer you. The tools and techniques discussed on

    Empowering Parents are designed for children who are 5 and above and would not

    apply to a child who is 15 months old. We would recommend talking with your

    daughter’s pediatrician or doctor about your concerns. S/he would be able to

    offer you some guidance around feeding schedules, sleep routines, and other

    concerns. We appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck moving

    forward. Take care.

  • Savitri
    My MIL and my husband think that they have the right to judge me as a parent of my 1 yr old... Saying i'm careless and immature for giving my daughter her toothbrush to hold because she was crying for it. I think they are not to judge my parentingMore since they themselves were so clueless as to what was happening in their own family that they lost a daughter and a sister to illness!! Who is more careless than them!!!
  • Screwedupfamilysituation
    I am in a different situation. I am the parent in the middle between a grandfather, child, and step-father. My husband thinks I am too lax on my 11 year old son. He often spanks him for being disrespectful to me or to him. I don't always like how heMore disciplines but I have a hard time being firm myself. Sometimes I agree with my husband, sometimes I don't, but my father never agrees. He doesn't think my son does any wrong ever. My son uses this to say I'm going to tell papa, and has snuck called him before even to complain. Then I have my father angry telling me to get my husband under control or he will do something about it. My husband thinks I should tell my parents to butt out, but my father is a very stubborn, powerful person. Our relationship is complex and I hate to say but I depend quite a lot on him for emotional support as well. My relationship with my husband is less than perfect and I often turn to my parents for help as I don't have any other close family or friends. So I know that I fear losing my parental support as well. When it comes to my son though it is impossible to get my father to listen to reason. Counseling would never be an option for him because he never believes himself to be wrong in anything. He also favors this one child over his other granddaughter even, getting all over me if I punish my son for doing something to her, saying she does things to him and I don't punish her. He is completely defensive of my sons behavior. My son can be a very good boy, but he is also mouthy, argumentative, and disrespectful frequently. I have the fear of my husband losing his temper and hurting my son on one hand, and the fear of my son simply moving out because he is angry all the time with stepfather. I have the fear of my husband and father coming to blows or legal action being taken over the issue. My life is a total mess and it just keeps getting worse.
  • lizfbistudio
    Sarah Woodward they will  find out, soon enough, that he is aggressive. My main concern would be their reaction. Would they call the police?
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Sarah Woodward

    What an upsetting situation. It can be distressing when your

    teen uses physical aggression to express anger and frustration. Many parents

    become fearful that if they try to set limits or hold their child accountable,

    they may get hurt in the process. While some parents may find their child

    becoming physically abusive hard to imagine, other parents live with that

    reality every day. Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner discuss this very

    real problem in their article http://www.empoweringparents.com/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you.php. It is going

    to be important to have a safety plan in place of what you can do if your son

    becomes physical with you again. It may be helpful to contact your local crisis

    or domestic violence hotline and speak with someone there about steps you can

    take to keep yourself safe. The 211 Helpline can give you information on these

    and other support services in your community. You can reach the Helpline 24

    hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by logging onto http://www.211.org/. It may also be helpful to seek out

    other resources, such as a support group or counselor, since it doesn’t seem as

    though you have a lot of support in regard to the issues you are facing with

    your son. Speaking with a counselor could also help you determine where your

    limits and boundaries are, as well as what you do actually have control over.

    See, while you may not be able to control whether or not your son goes to his

    grandparents when things get heated nor what his grandparents do in that

    situation, you do have complete control over how you choose to respond to it.

    It can be difficult to see that when you are in the middle of such a

    contentious situation. Lastly, I hope you are taking care of yourself when

    things become seemingly out of control. Talking with a close friend, going for

    walk or doing another activity you enjoy can go a long way towards helping you

    cope with what is a very challenging issue. We appreciate you reaching out and

    sharing your story with the Empowering Parents community. Be sure to keep in

    touch and let us know how things are going. Take care.

    • HeatherRebeccaYoung
      I have lived through a similar situation. The Crisis Center / Detention Center worked very well. After I called the police, they handled it from there. The judge and I explained to my much larger son that if he were an adult he would have assault charges and that anyMore abuse would be dealt with accordingly. I expressed my love for my child to him and also expressed the love I have for myself and drew a definite line in the sand. The judge's support was so important and I'm grateful I had it. My course of action corrected the issue from that 1st occasion till today. I think follow through is key
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Guest6667

    It can be upsetting when your child parents in a way that is

    different from how she was raised. It’s not uncommon for parents and

    grandparents to have these types of disagreements, as Debbie Pincus explains in

    the article above. As she points out, the number one rule for grandparents is

    to not criticize your child’s parenting choices. That can be hard not to do,

    especially if the choices your daughter is making run counter to how she was

    parented. While we do advise against spanking on the basis that it doesn’t

    teach a child how to make better choices, the truth is your daughter and her

    husband are the parents and, as long as there aren’t any safety issues or

    possible issues of abuse, they are allowed to parent as they see fit. If there

    are concerns around safety or abuse, we would recommend contacting ChildHelp to talk with a specially trained counselor

    about your concerns. You can reach them 24/7 at 1-800-4-A-CHILD

    (1-800-422-4453). The counselors there can help you determine the best way to

    proceed in this situation. I can hear how upsetting this situation is for you. It may be

    helpful to find someone in your local area you can talk to about this issue as well. The 211 Helpline can give you

    information on services and supports in your community, such as grandparent

    support groups and counselors. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by

    calling 1-800-273-6222 or by visiting them online at http://www.211.org. We wish you the

    best of luck moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know how things

    are going. Take care.

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