How to Deal with Grandparents Who Have Different Values Than Your Own

It’s nearly inevitable that we’ll disagree with our parents when it comes to how we raise our children. It’s almost like a rite of passage for many! We may have to distinguish between differences of opinion and actual threats to our children as we figure out what parenting works best for us in the here and now.

We have a lot more knowledge than our parents did, which may be both beneficial and terrible. As an illustration, we all know that spanking is harmful, and the research that has been done to date has disproven any claims to the contrary. When it comes to parenting, there will inevitably be situations in which it is necessary to take a firm stance in order to protect and nurture our children.

However, there may also be subtle differences that pose less of a direct threat to our child’s well-being. This is the point at which we need to assess the benefits of a grandparent-grandchild relationship against the possible risks of differing parenting techniques and life philosophies. These three questions can help you get started.

“Do you want to know what worries me?”

Identify exactly how your child might be harmed by the grandparents’ beliefs and practices. Is it possible that they may serve your child a potentially lethal lunch because they don’t recognize food allergies? When you say, “they will never be accountable for feeding my child,” you mean exactly what you say.

The majority of the time, the situation will be hazy. Many families are dealing with conflicts of values in our contemporary political context, for example. No, I don’t think this is a hazard to your child. For example, if your children’s grandparents make biased comments when they are with you, remember that you are a much greater influence, and you may use it as a teaching opportunity.

“Can I limit the amount of time I spend with my grandparents?”

Consider the steps necessary to limit the impact of the grandparents. Is it feasible to maintain a relationship with your children’s caregivers even if that means they won’t be looking after them for a long period of time? Is it possible that this choice may bring even more anxiety than the original worry? While the specifics of each family’s scenario and relationships may vary, it’s beneficial to think about the possible outcomes.

The mental health of your children may be jeopardized if you have concerns about their relationship with their grandparents. Watch how they treat your child for a while if this is the case before letting them time alone with your child. Your partner and you need to set ground rules to limit hurtful statements or behaviors when the grandparents wish to spend more time with the kids on their own. If these guidelines aren’t followed, you won’t be able to enjoy this time with your grandparents until you’re sure they’ll follow them going forward. If you have a child, it’s likely that your parents don’t fall into the “lovely, doting grandmother” category.

“Will they be missing out on any perks?”

As a last thought, consider how your children can benefit from having interactions with their grandparents, no matter how different their techniques and views may be from your own. Flipping our own thinking can help us avoid focusing on what could go wrong instead of what could go right.

How much sweets and screen time do I worry about my kids getting when their grandparents are in charge? Yes. Does it make any sense to complain when my child throws a fit before going to sleep? Yes. It’s heartwarming to witness their excitement, and I have fond recollections of my grandmother’s limitless supply of Oreos (which were never a possibility in my parents’ health-conscious cupboard). As they form their own ties with their grandparents and grandchildren, I’ve learned to (largely) let go.

As with many aspects of parenting, it is beneficial to stand back from the day-to-day grind and look at the broader picture. A special grandparent-grandchild bond is unlike any other, even if the reality of family ties is that they can be thorny at the edges.