Almost every culture around the world included extended family in their day-to-day lives. Young brides were moved into the new husband’s family home and his parents became her parents to a certain extent. How is that for “close family”?
Now, you are able to establish your own rules and desires for the way your children are raised and nurtured. Your parents either live far away or even close by locally, but still in their own home. So you can raise your child in your own way, taking the good from your childhood and leaving the bad.
But if your parents or your mate’s parents are local you may experience some differences of opinion on the raising of a child. This can be a really difficult situation to maneuver, but it can be done.
• First of all, you and your mate need to be on the same page regarding the grandparent’s role in your child’s life. Discuss what things you want to do differently than your parent did. This discussion is just between you and your spouse!
• Keep in mind that the grandparents have “been there, done that” even if it seems like a million years ago to you.
• Your parents may have something very real and helpful to offer you in this new season of your life.
• Gently explain your ideas on child-raising as you spend time with the grandparents.
• Be willing to listen to your parent’s thoughts on child-raising. Listening does not mean you have to agree.
• Tell your parents your rules regarding bedtime, mealtime and playtime and ask them to be consistent when they baby-sit. Important note: If your child’s visits with the grandparents are seldom, then allow for some “spoiling” and departure from your home rules. But if the visits are regular and often, the rules should be consistent in both homes for the child’s sake and your sanity.
• If you disapprove of the way you or your spouse was brought up, you do not need to declare this out loud. You just do it your way without arguing. Keeping communication open between generations is always a good thing.
• If your child’s grandparent is unsafe or otherwise unreliable, trust your own instincts and set up some very clear boundaries. Do not speak negatively about the other adult to your child, but be aware of any contact.
• Grandma may be criticizing you due to her desire be more involved in your family life. Set up some times that are just for her and Baby.
• Your child can never be surrounded by TOO many who love them. In other words, having too many grown-ups who love them is clearly more beneficial than not enough!
Having the grandparents in a child’s life adds great worth and confidence to their self-esteem. You can be thankful that we no longer require new parents to live with their own parents while they begin a new family. But take advantage of all the years of wisdom and experience that is right there for you and your little ones to learn and grow from.