In many families, couples feel they should be setting rules for grandparents for the welfare of the children. The little joys of welcoming the hands of a small child bring happiness to different people. Most especially, grandparents love to scoop in their grandkids with a tight hug. More than kisses and treats, grandparents tend to go over the top in dealing with their grandchildren. And sometimes, grandparents overstepping boundaries becomes an issue in the household.
Learn how to set ground rules in various aspects of your relationship with your parents in simple ways by reading this article.
The Nuclear Family
Over the years, the notion of nuclear families declined because of different factors. Compared to 1960s, the family structures today have alterations. According to a recent study on progressive family culture conducted by the University of Virginia, nuclear families, those headed by married couples, remain a popular “personal idea” among individuals. Right now, “alternative” family ties are prevalent in the society. Data from the 2017 American Community Survey showed that 63% of the American population are married and still living with their spouses.
Despite the changes in the way families form in the community, W. Bradford Wilcox, a fellow from the Institute of Family Studies, says that the nuclear family continues to be the “most stable and safest environment for raising children.” However, the process of childcare is more than the effort of the mom and dad. As the popular African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child; it also takes the determination of the whole family to nurture a kid.
Role of Grandparents
Too much of everything can be dangerous. And sometimes, some family members tend to overstep the line to control the childcare procedures of parents. So much so that setting rules for grandparents become a game-changer. Grandparents become overbearing because of their experiences with raising kids. So, as parents, how do you handle this kind of behavior and viewpoint?
Grandparents are special—they glue families together, bring comfort to confused feelings. However, people can’t deny some toxic behaviors emanating from grandparents. Before talking about dealing with toxic grandparents, we have to first establish the roles of grandparents in the family.
After years of meeting and dealing with different people, grandparents have seen many personalities. Perhaps, they’ve met extraordinary individuals and have traded secrets with them. With all those stories wrapped up in their heads, kids find comfort in listening to their narrations. And when your toddler talks about his favorite Disney character, your mom would be excited to share her experience. In a way, grandparents keep kids excited with all stories they got tucked up in their sleeves.
If there’s one thing grandparents know, it’s how to deal with life problems. The struggles of working mothers and fathers are all too familiar with grandparents. With that, they are wonderful teachers for the youth. Importantly, grandmothers and grandfathers can share life lessons and insights on maintaining a cool composure during problematic times.
According to a study from the University of Oxford, grandparents contribute to children’s wellbeing and emotional character. The grandparental involvement helped develop positive attitudes among children and minimize behavioral problems. Although these attributes are not credited to grandparents alone, they are significant figures in the lives of children. Besides knowing how to care for toddlers, they also know health tips and home remedies—for example teething reliefs for babies. Truly, grandparents are excellent babysitters!
Like how they cheered you on as an adolescent, they’ll also express words of encouragement for your kids. If your child wants to be an astronaut or scientist, then grandma and grandpa are here to provide excellent points. Even when they live away from your neighborhood, they’ll continue to be the best cheerleaders for your kids. This unending enthusiasm encourages your children to be the best they can be in school and in life.
Types of Traits in Toxic Grandparents
With the grandparents’ roles established, we take a look at their toxic traits that are problematic in the long run. By identifying these toxic attributes, we can establish proper techniques to counter them.
The Undermining Grandparent
Even when you’re married with kids, your mom or dad is still insistent about how you run your household. They complain about your cooking and interrupt you mid-sentence. When you start to look at potty training modules, they protest about it. The undermining and interfering grandparent uses any means necessary to get her or his own way in your own home.
The Controlling and Manipulating Grandparent
This particular grandparent use bribery (monetary or materialistic) to attract the attention of your kids. Instead of talking to the children, they use money and unnecessary gifts. They control the children and manipulate them through favoritism and nonessentials. They easily get upset or insulted when no one listens to their demands. The controlling and manipulating grandparents will pressure parents and children about time, money, and attention.
The Backbreaking and Challenging Grandparent
Instead of forming a healthy relationship with your in-laws, you face difficult tasks and unequal treatment. This kind of grandparent will continually hound you with questions and chores even when you have other things to do. Additionally, they’re hard to please, often nagging you to be a “better parent.”
The Overbearing and Uncompromising Grandparent
Unlike other types, this grandparent is the hardest to deal with every day. They have a domineering and unyielding attitude. Rather than helping, they would choose to go on a different path. They don’t want compromise and will use strategies to get their way around the house
Why Setting Boundaries Matter
While intention to help is evident in how most grandparents act, it can be unnerving. Parents can’t think for themselves when grandparents are around to make decisions for them. Hence, there is no personal development—stagnancy. Parents will never learn the ropes if grandparents are handling the disciplining process and other activities.
Therefore, setting boundaries and limitations becomes crucial for parents. Grandparents have to understand that creating limits doesn’t stop them from loving their grandchildren; instead, it helps with the growth of the family.
One excellent way of setting boundaries is by implementing house rules. Parents can purchase family house rules signs and attach them around the house. These rules act as an understanding between parents and grandparents. So, what are some useful house rules to place around the house?
Setting Relationship Rules
While the task of setting relationship rules is daunting, it is necessary for the family. But, why does it matter? How does it affect the ways to deal with toxic or overbearing grandparents?
According to licensed marriage and family therapist Becky Stuempfig, overly involved grandparents has pros and cons. She shares that grandparents can add affection and care for the kids; however, it can create tension between the couples if respect is not part of the equation. To point out, overstepping boundaries and developing toxic behaviors can disrupt harmonious relationships in the family. Hence, setting up rules and broaching up the topic carefully should be on the minds of parents. If relationship rules are set it allows couples to communicate more clearly with their parents.
Although these boundaries are introduced, these are not written in stone. In some instances, parents can extend quality time with the kids or choose the food items picked by grandparents. But then again, parents have to establish that boundaries are still part of the relationship.
When it comes to dealing with parents, it’s a taxing activity. It can drain your energy and take significant time from your schedule. Despite this, it is vital to form a strong unbreakable bond with your extended family. Later on, they can provide advice and perspective which can be helpful for your family. Always communicate with them and be assertive.