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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Your Child Is Not Your “Friend”
Parental Roles: How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Your Child
Empowering Parents Podcast: Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher
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.
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I am struggling with my adults “rescuing” me from their son … I believe in boundaries and accountability and certainly do not need rescuing from a 3 year old. I give him accountable boundaries … if he does not comply I refuse to move on, which works well. Just this morning he threw out the blocks and then did not want to play with them … I then insisted, if he did not pick them up then I would not fetch or play with the other set. He did this without effort. But he is showing awful regression around his 1 year old sister
Baby talk and yelling and pushing her and pulling her hair …he is quick tempered and emotional by nature. I observe him play up, with empathy, but also fear his emotional manipulation is a vicious circle of detrimental damage to all in his village. I try to hold myself in calm and do not offer advice unless asked. I do not know how to help constructively nor how to abide the hurt and tiredness that resides
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!!!
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.
Lizzy333 thanks lizzy
I will give that a try
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
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!
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.
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.
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?
@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.
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.
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.
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.