I’m lucky that my parents are an important part of my child’s life. Not all of my friends still have their parents, and not all of the ones that do are on good terms with each other. But having my child interact with his grandmother and grandfather on a regular basis is very rewarding for both his self-esteem as well as his personal and social development. My kid is always excited to go to Grammy and Grampy’s house, and since my parents are respectful of my own parenting, the same rules that apply in my house apply in theirs as well. I can trust that my kid doesn’t only want to hang out with them because they let him eat candy and stay up past bedtime.
Aside from myself, no one loves my son more than his grandparents, and they enjoy being a source of wisdom, love, and “a home away from home.” That being said, to ensure that we can work together in raising my child, we’ve had to establish some ground rules and improve our communication skills over the past few years.
It can be difficult to approach your parents and let them know that you’d like for them to do some things differently when it comes to your child. Maybe they think they know best, as they’re older, wiser, and have raised several children of their own. Whatever the reason, the best way to establish parenting parameters for when your child visits Grandma and Grandpa is to simply approach the subject honestly and respectfully.
For example, we try to cut down on the amount of sweets in our house, and we found out that my son was eating candy at his grandparents’ house. I told my mother that we were concerned about his sugar intake, and asked if she could help us to limit his sweets. I didn’t get angry or tell her to stop giving him candy – but simply asked to help us keep an eye out for our son’s health. Trust is important in my relationship with my parents, as it should be, so reminding them that I trust them with my child’s health shows that I respect their role as grandparents.
This isn’t to say that our parameters can’t be a little flexible here and there, but thanks to our ability to communicate, my parents know the limits. Going over to Grammy and Grampy’s house is supposed to be fun, and different than being at home, so it’s okay for my son to have just a bit of candy and to stay up an extra hour past bedtime – but no more than that. And we are sure to regularly check in with each other, so my parents are always aware of what’s going on in his life.
Things are a little different now that my parents have had to hire a Delray Beach home care service to help them out with chores during the day, but my son still enjoys visiting every now and then. I’m grateful for having an extra layer of support in raising my son, and I know that my parents’ role in my child’s life will only increase in the years to come.