7 Tips to Keep The Peace between Grandparents And Parents

This guest post is by Mo Mulla, a work-from-home dad, who shares his perspective on the grandparent-adult child relationship. He offers 7 tips to young parents to keep the peace with grandparents who offer unsolicited advice. You can visit his blog, Parental Questions to learn practical tips and advice for everyday parenting.

A friend recently complained to me: “My kid’s grandma disrespects me a lot by criticizing the way I parent my kid. On countless occasions, she says I don’t discipline my kid enough. I keep telling her I do but she argues and says it’s a lie. Does she expect me to start hitting my four-year-old son before she realizes I discipline him differently?”

Often your parents and parents-in-law feel they know better and may want to push their parenting style on you. These unresolved divisions in families can lead to grandparents being denied access to their grandchildren. While this is the last option you want to consider, there are ways to resolve disagreements and avoid the unthinkable.

Here are some strategies to help parents deal with unsolicited advice on how to discipline their kids, the kind of food they feed them, their sleep routine, and more.

7 Tips to Keep The Peace

Acknowledge their good intentions. Grandparents think they’re more experienced with parenting. But they forget that parenting styles have changed over the years. When you get such unsolicited advice, tell them you genuinely appreciate their concern for the kids. You’ll ask for their advice if you feel confused but for now, you’d rather try your own style.

Be calm and have a conversation. When your parenting style is criticized, try to see it as just their opinion. Then sit down and explain how it makes you feel. Help them understand that you’re the children’s parent and your parenting style is different from how they raised their kids.

Explain your family rules. Make it clear that you’re trying to build a sustainable foundation for your family with these rules. Go over the rules with the grandparents and ask for their respect in following them.

Set clear boundaries early so grandparents understand them. Don’t assume they know their limits in your home.

Accommodate the grandparents’ suggestions when it works for you. They want to be a part of your kids’ life. Sometimes you have to compromise, especially if it’s not endangering the kids.

Make the kids your first priority when there’s a disagreement. Look for ways to strike a balance. You don’t want your kids to notice their parents and grandparents are never on the same page.

Think it through before you react. Before you argue over a bit of advice, consider whether it might be beneficial. For example, even experts agree that it’s important to reduce screen time for kids.

Additional Challenges for Dads

Dads face additional challenges when the parents-in-law disagree with the parenting rules.

  • Dads are the ones always caught in the middle.
  • Dads are left to pick a side and forced to be a mediator.
  • Dads face tension each time an opportunity to be with their parents arises.

Grandparents can create lovely memories with kids. But when they openly criticize your parenting choices, they are causing conflicts between the generations. If these conflicts are not resolved, disagreements can fester for a long time. At the first sign of conflict, sit down and have a conversation together. Explain your boundaries and why they’re important to keep the peace. Restricting access to the grandkids should only be the last resort when all your efforts have failed.

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