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You’ve just welcomed your first child and during all of the excitement of becoming a new parent, you’ve failed to recognize that life has also changed for those around you. Those individuals who your husband and yourself call parents are now grandparents to your new baby.
How do you deal with the new responsibilities of becoming a parent? Most new parents rely heavily on their parents for the first few months while they adjust to their new responsibilities. Grandparents offer up advice and suggestions to their children as they parent their new child. Some of their advice can be unsolicited though, so it’s important to set boundaries with the new grandparents preferably before the baby arrives. Oftentimes if boundaries are not set, it can affect the relationship between the parent and grandparent as the child continues to grow.
1. Scheduling Visits
As a new parent, it’s time to muster up the energy to entertain a constant flow of people. Though grandparents mean well, it’s important to ask them to call before they stop over, at least for the first few weeks as you and your family get settled into your new roles. Once a schedule is outlined and well-practiced, let the grandparents know when a good time for a visit would be. Keeping a schedule as the child grows creates a great routine especially if talks of more children are in the works.
2. Consistent House Rules
Make sure that grandparents understand what rules are active in your home.
For instance, if your child has to eat all of their dinner before dessert, have a bath and story before bed or have TV restrictions, it’s important to ensure that both the parents and grandparents are on the same page. That way there is consistency and your child won’t develop the “but grandma lets me do it!” mentality.
Regardless of whether your parents required you to attend church as a kid, it doesn’t mean that you have to make your child. It’s important for grandparents to know that religion is up to you and not them. If you want your children to attend church, you will be the one making that decision.
Some grandparents are known to spoil their grandchildren. They purchase lavish gifts that may cross the line. Try suggesting that the money they’re spending on gifts go toward a college fund or toward something else that the child can benefit from long-term.
You may have thought that spending adequate time with relatives during the holidays was difficult enough as a couple, but when a child is added to the mix, holidays become much more complicated. Consider sitting down with your spouse and discussing your holiday plans early so that you can share them with the grandparents. That way everyone knows what to expect, and everyone feels that they are getting to spend some time with you and the child.
6. Disagreement Management
There will be times when parents and grandparents will not agree on something as it pertains to parenting-styles, so it’s important to agree that those disagreements be talked about out of ear-range of the kids. As kids get older they become little sponges, so it’s important to keep disagreements at bay around them so they’re not repeating it back to anyone.
7. Remember it’s just a Phase- Relax
As a new parent and as a new grandparent, there will be kinks to work out, but those kinks won’t be resolved overnight. It’ll take time to adjust on all levels, and it’s important to work together to make this new bundle of joy feel as welcomed as possible both with the parents and grandparents. As the child grows and as new children are added to the ‘grandchildren’ posse, the boundaries will already be well established, so there will be less disagreements.
There is no doubt that when one becomes a parent and a grandparent, both parties involved are elated and want nothing but the absolute best for the child. That’s why it’s important to communicate and work together as a team. The relationship between a child and their grandparents is an important one.