Grandparents’ visits can be a blessing as well as a challenge. Sometimes our parents might have different ideas about child-rearing and upbringing – this could create tense situations and arguments. On the other hand, grandparents are special people for our children. We do want them to know each other, share their love and time together.
What can we do to make grandparents’ visits pleasant and stress-free?
Try not to criticize and correct everything they do
I know many of you take your role as a parent seriously, you know what is best for your children, plus you have done research on different parenting styles, read books, and attended classes. So it might be hard not to offer suggestions or share your knowledge.
However, grandparents might apply(practice) “old school.” When we try to teach our parents how to take care of our babies and encourage them to do things differently, grandparents can react with strong emotions and protest. Our parents might interpret this as criticism of how they parented us – this can play a big role in their emotional reaction.
Chose one to three things that are very important to you
Share only one or three points that are important to you about parenting. It can be overwhelming for them if you give them a list of do’s and don’ts :
1. Let the baby/toddler know before doing something to him
2. Slow down
3. Wait – pause – give time for the child to respond
Model how you want others to talk to your child
Modeling often works better than telling.
Focus on the individual child
Say something like this: “We realized this works for Susie very well ______”
This way you are implying that you just learned it and it’s about your child’s individual needs.
Trust the grandparent with at least one area
Pick one area where you don’t need to intervene much, for example: taking your baby for a walk, sitting on the floor and watching them play, or feeding.
Let the grandparent be in charge of that area.
The other day I was watching how one of the moms from my class said, “No, I am not going to give soup to my daughter – this is grandma’s area of expertise.” I thought it is a good idea.
Let me know if you need more information about RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes.
Wishing you all the best in this difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!