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When Grandma’s Rules Are Different Than Mom’s Rules

The scene is a common one. Mom says “naptime” and it means that it is time for the child to get on his bed, close his eyes and go to sleep. Grandma says “naptime” and it looks a bit different. Maybe she allows Junior to sit up and read a book or play a hand held video game.

Who is right?


Or Mom does not allow any between-meal sweets and Grandma has a special jar just for that! One expects a totally clean plate at the end of a meal and the other only requires a taste of each thing on the plate.


The scene is common but the “bad guy” and “good guy” are totally interchangeable. Sometimes the parents may be more lenient than the older generation of grandparents. But it is a well-accepted standard that grandparents have relaxed about the rules of parenting and so they are ready to “spoil” the grandchildren and even boast about it!


What do you as the parent do about this situation?


For the child’s sake, it depends on the amount of time spent in the care of the grandparents. If your parents or your spouse’s parents are consistently caring for your little one while you work or go to school, all of the adults will need to come to an understanding regarding the rules of the house.


As the parent, you will need to make your desires clear when you first set up the care giving plan. But some compromise should be expected on both sides. Above all, the child must have a clear expectation of his behavior so he is not walking into a land mine of unknown consequences.


If you are a stay at home parent and the visits to Grandmother’s house are not a daily activity, the “home rules” can be relaxed unless they put your child in danger. A child can understand the concept of different homes having different rules, as long as the differences do not compromise the values of the family.