Relating to Grandparents

Grandparent Issues

As wonderful as the grandchild-grandparent bond is, it's not without its own share of issues. Indeed, many people find that negotiating relationships with their parents can become quite challenging when they become parents themselves. While you may be on the same page -- you all want the child to be happy and healthy -- you're often not using the same rule book. Some of the problems that commonly crop up between grandparents and parents include:

  • Differing expectations about grandparenting. Grandparents have lives too. The homemaker grandmother of yesteryear may have been content to babysit at a moment's notice, but today's grandma might just have a scheduling conflict because of her yoga class. Respect grandparents' schedules as you would those of any other adult.
  • Communication breakdowns. Grandparents need clear information. Parenting practices have changed since they raised their own kids. They may misunderstand or simply not know about how you're raising your kids. They might also feel upset if you approach them in a manner they consider accusatory.
  • Spoiling grandchildren. Spoiling has almost become part of the definition of being a grandparent. Being a little spoiled by grandparents is one of the great joys of childhood. But like everything else, the key is moderation. Too much spoiling can lead to constant bickering between parents and grandparents, which is probably more harmful to the child than the spoiling itself.
  • Differing viewpoints about child-rearing issues. It's not easy for grandparents to hold back their opinions about how their grandchildren should be raised. When these differ from the parents' opinions, frustration and conflict can result. Parents can feel they're being criticized or held to an unreasonable standard.

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