My 3 year old must argue and debate everything!
The Great Mom Debate: Do Grandparents Get to Make Parenting Rules?
They raised you so you should automatically all agree on ground rules for parenting, right? Right, and Elmo can really play the piano. Whether it's a sign of the times ("Yes, carseats are mandatory even just down the street, Dad!") or a genuine difference of opinion ("I know you let us trick-or-treat alone, but we're just not comfortable with that."), disagreeing with your parents can seem like you're questioning their parenting credibility. Something you really don't want to do if they are your only option for babysitting for that weekend getaway you were hoping for. For those of us lucky enough to have our parents involved in our kids' lives, deciding whose rules rule can be a tricky question. (And multiply by a factor of 10 if it's your in-laws you're dealing with.)
On one hand, you're the parent and you know your children best so ultimately you should have the final say, right? Dr. Paul Coleman advises, "Yes, grandparents deserve respect and flexibility, but you are the child's parent, and you have a right to insist that rules be followed. A well-meaning grandparent is usually willing to follow your rules, even rules that he or she may feel are arbitrary or a bit too lenient (or too strict). If a grandparent seems consistently defiant or always questions your judgment, 'Because I said so' is appropriate."
But on the other hand, they've been at this parenting game a lot longer than you have so perhaps they have a point? "Have faith that your parents or parents-in-law will respect the boundaries you've set and live up to your expectations. If you come home and the kids' clothes are a mess or toys were put away in the wrong places, think twice before speaking up. Just because the grandparents cared for your children differently than you would have doesn't mean they're wrong," says the site Bratfree.
Plus, Dr. Coleman points out, letting the grandparents make some of the rules can work to your advantage at home. "It is wonderful when a child and grandparent have fun together. If a grandparent gives a child extra time or extra gifts or extra treats, it can actually make it easier for a child to tolerate not having those things at home as often.
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