Other Set of Grandparents Underminining Parents Wishes

Question:

We are asked to care for our grandchildren when their parents are out of town. Occasionally, the other grandparents drop in and bring the children food or toys their parents would prefer the children not to have.

How can this disruption in routine and behaviors be stopped even when they are asked not to do this? They just laugh, make excuses in front of the children, and continue teasing them, making faces and jesters which the children mimic.

Response:

I understand your concern. So often, grandparents think their non-parent role allows them to ignore the wishes of parents and indulge their grandchildren in ways that parents would not approve.

This is a mistake because supporting parents is the primary role of grandparents. In doing so, trust is built between grandparents and their adult children. Then, if there is a disagreement, both parties can discuss the disagreement in a respectful and God-honoring way.

Next time the other grandparents stop by, you might gently inquire about whether or not they understand the parents’ preferences. It is possible that if you are asking them not to bring certain food or toys, they may think the direction is coming from you rather than from your grandchildren’s parents. If not, you can encourage them to talk with the parents to learn more.

If they continue to defy the parents’ wishes, you can answer honestly when asked by the parents where a certain toy came from. Then, it is up to them to talk with the other grandparents and make their preferences known and to decide what to do if they don’t listen.

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