Grandparent Issues

There are two general guidelines for deciding to address a grandparenting concern.  The first is to decide if it is a health and safety issue.  Let’s say a grandparent spanks and you are strongly against, this would be considered health and safety so even if they only visit a few days a year you address it.  Speak with them about it and come to some conclusions.  If it is not a health and safety issue, better to let it go and allow them to build an individual relationship.  When a grandparent is corrected often, they may pull back from the relationship which likely isn’t worth fixing the issue if not for health and safety.

The second is to consider how often they visit or how often the behavior occurs.  Let’s say the grandparent gives the child a piece of candy each day.  If they only vists a few days a year, this is likely not an issue.  If they are your 5 day a week childcare, this is likely an issue. 

You might also weigh intent.  Even when it is annoying to you, a grandparent may be coming from a place of love and connection.  When you do address an issue, avoid blaming the grandparent.  Blame yourself and your own concerns for behaviors, blame the child and their reactions.  Ask for help with the situation rather than blame.  If you do address an issue, do this out of earshot of the child.

A mom in our program recently shared how she puts grandparent issues in perspective.  When grandparents visit, she posts a strange quotation on the fridge to remind herself, “gnaw off their arm.”  She says this reminds her whenever an issue arises that grandparents are likely the only other people in the world that would gnaw off their own arm to save her child’s life.  It helps her to let the frustrating but managable things go.

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