As a new mother, you're overwhelmed with excitement. Similarly you're parents-now grandparents- also experience such excitement. Sometimes, however; their excitement can come in the form of unsolicited advice and parenting tips that are unwanted. It's important to discuss boundaries with grandparents before the new addition in order to minimize conflicts and hurt feelings. Consider sitting down and discussing guidelines covering topics such as holiday visits, meals, gifts, house rules among others before you have your baby.
Today we discuss 7 tips to setting boundaries with grandparents:
Tip#1: Planning Visits
As a new mom, your energy is limited when it comes to entertaining others. That's why it's important to ask grandparents , as well as other guests, to call before their visit especially in the first few weeks as you and your family get acclimated with the new addition and added responsibilities. Once there is a schedule established, and well rehearsed, let the grandparents know what days and times work for casual drop-ins.
Holidays is busy for everyone, but when you add kids into the mix things can become quite chaotic. As parents, we do our best to make time for everyone but are unable to satisfy everyone's wants and needs. That being said, it's wise to discuss holiday expectations with grandparents and your spouse in order to come up with a reasonable plan that is both accommodating for the grandparents and parents. Unless both sets of grandparents live close to each other, it's unlikely they will both get to see the grandchildren on the same day. Try to find a way to see both sets of grandparents around the holidays so they can still engage in the celebrations!
Parents and grandparents are bound to disagree on something, but it's important to discuss the issue when the children are not around. Also, it's important for both the parent and grandparent to never discuss their frustrations in front of the children to ensure that no harsh words or comments are repeated back to the other party.
Tip#4: House Rules
It's important to have consistency when raising children, so it's imperative that grandparents understand and follow the rules the parents have laid out for their children. Let them know what rules are in place so that the children abide by them when they're home or at the grandparents home.
If you choose to raise your child understanding one religion over another, the grandparents need to accept it and let the parents practice the religion with their child. Grandparents should be understanding and should not try to convince the children to deviate from it to follow another if they practice something different.
Tip# 6 Meals
Make sure that the grandparents are on the same page when it comes to meals. This is especially important if your children has allergies and need to avoid consuming certain foods. If you don't allow your kids to eat sweets past 8 o'clock, make sure to let the grandparents know. If you'd rather your child drink water or milk at meal time instead of juice, communicate that to them. Don't expect the grandparents to know unless you specifically communicate with them your meal-time wishes.
Tip# 7 Present a United Front with Your Spouse
One of the most important things a parent can do it to be united with their spouse when it comes to the boundaries they set with the grandparents. They must agree on the boundaries that are set and not digress from them at any time even when the grandparents question them.
Another thing to consider is that a grandparent only wants the best for their grandchild and their child-YOU. They want to provide for them and love on them, yet sometimes they may not realize when it's too much. Be sensitive of their feelings and understand that they may not be intentionally doing things to bother you. Sometimes a simple conversation regarding boundaries can clear the air and help everyone to understand their expectations and boundaries in the relationship.
Photo credits: Danielle Jones & Ashley Sisk