Do you use your own parents as impromptu babysitters or only when the occasion is set up and planned ahead? Will the grandmother be your daycare provider while you go back to work? How do you feel about your baby as a passenger in your parent’s car? What will Grandpa be allowed to feed the baby?
There are also many new questions to answer regarding social media and your baby. Is Grandma allowed to post pictures of Baby online? Is it okay for her to tell the world that she is taking her grandson to the local zoo for the day or write online about what school the child attends?
These concerns and many others ought to be faced early on, optimally, before the baby is born and emotions are high. But such decisions should also be communicated with grace and discretion. Here are some tips on how to do this:
• Discuss these questions at home with your spouse before communicating them to your parents. Be on the same page!
• Do not set up a “family meeting” to discuss your wishes. Let it be casual and gradual.
• Talk about how happy you are that the grandparents are near enough to have a relationship with the new baby.
• Let your parents know that you do not want to take advantage of their free time.
• Ask them if they want to baby-sit or not. Do not assume anything.
• If you have certain food rules, make them clear on the babysitting or visiting occasions, even written instructions are helpful even if they scoff at the idea.
• Talk openly about your online safety concerns with your parents. In this regard, a strong rule is allowed. They may not be aware of the dangers.
• Be honoring in your attitude toward your parents. They have been parents longer than you have.
Hopefully these ideas will lead you into a beautiful and caring relationship with your baby’s grandparents. There is a rich source of history and heritage in your parents that can only add to your child’s sense of self and worth. Embrace what a grandmother and grandfather can deposit in your child’s life.