Grandparents can be a tremendous source of love, encouragement and happiness for children, often acting as the essential “glue” that bonds the family together. Many also provide relief for stressed-out parents. Whether or not grandparents live with you, differences of opinion in how you want your children cared for are bound to arise. Parents can clash with their parents or in-laws on rules regarding safety, treats, bedtimes or curfews for older children. Here are steps parents can take to create a unified front that will benefit everyone in the family:
1. Pay attention to how your parents are holding up. Watch for signs that you may need to lighten the load. Many children look forward to quality time with their grandparents, and most of the time, busy parents are happy for the help. However, it’s key to make sure you’re not overloading or exhausting grandparents, who may start to feel more like babysitters than members of the family.
Has grandpa sacrificed making several tee times at the golf course to drive your child to school? Is grandma watching more children’s television shows with her granddaughter than seeing the latest movies? Don’t take advantage of a good thing by overburdening grandparents. Spend time reviewing everyone’s schedules and communicating with all parties to ensure the time spent with grandchildren is not starting to feel like an obligation to them.
Next: Recognizing the value of the older generation