Do Your Parents Undermine Your Parenting?

Do Your Parents Undermine Your Parenting Skills?

Grandparents really are truly wonderful people to have in your children’s lives. Whether it is your parents, or your partners’ parents, the first thing you should feel is blessed that they are there for your children and will help you raise them along the way. At least this is the way I feel about Cassie’s grandparents – and I know just how lucky is to have Neen, Gregpa and Nana in her life. I know just how lucky my husband and I are as well, after all, the days of free babysitting and the night’s off to ourselves are worth their weight in gold.

However, of course, this doesn’t mean they don’t come without conditions. And no – I’m not talking about the kind where your parents expect something in return for their care. I am talking about the conditions that are unspoken and you both know are there. The ones that push the boundaries. The ones that some days make you grind your teeth as you listen. The ones that on other days have you fighting back a little, before you remember just how much you really do appreciate and need their help. This is what happens when grandparents think they are the EXPERTS in raising your child, and aren’t afraid to tell you so, whether your child is in front of you or not. They raised you (or your other half) and think they did a damn good job (well, are you going to argue?) so they feel they are doing you a service sharing their knowledge with you.

Many of you will have experienced it, and those that haven’t, you truly are blessed. Here are six ways in which grandparents undermine your parenting:

When They Break the “No Bad Food” Rule

I knew this rule was out the window before we even had Cassie. I had watched my parents with my nephews and saw how much they weren’t able to help themselves. In their eyes, this was exactly what being a grandparent was all about – being able to spoil your grandchildren rotten so they beg to come over and see you. Cassie is only 20 months old and knows that as soon as Gregpa walks through the door in the evening (after Neen has been looking after her that day), he will give her a treat from the treats cupboard. She knows exactly where the goodies are stashed and will often try her hand at getting a few more throughout the day. The way I figure it – she eats healthy 90% of the time with us, so why now let her grandparents spoil her.

When They Don’t Follow Directions

There is one thing I know about my mum – if she doesn’t like what you tell her to do, she just won’t do it. I knew it the minute I told her that we were doing Baby Led Weaning (BLW) with Cassie. Mum minds her one day a week, and everytime I dropped her off, I would remind my mum: “That means no purees and she gets to feed herself”. Everytime I left to work I knew that there was no way mum was following my instructions. It wasn’t until about a year later she finally admitted to me that she spoon-fed Cassie each and every time.

When They Let Your Child Get Away With Everything

I think I am lucky in having my parents back me up on the way I discipline Cassie. She has been a bit of a hitter in the past, and the key to getting it to stop was consistency, and this was something I wouldn’t have been able to achieve without their help. But we all know grandparents are notorious for being a little soft on their grandchildren – after all, they don’t want them scared to come over for playdates. I know once Cassie is in Gregpa’s arms he will do whatever she wants: whether that means a trip down to the pool, outside to play or back to the treats cupboard.

When They Question Your Decisions In Front of the Kids

Parenting is hard. There is no doubt about it. The last thing we need is for our own parents to question our decisions in front of our children. Decisions such as when to stop breastfeeding, what preschool to send your child too and how many days you are going back to work are yours and yours alone to make.

You may also like: Other articles by Felicity

When They Openly Criticise Your Parenting Style

Mostly, I feel I parent similar to the way my mum does, and being my first child, I go to her for advice most of the time anyway. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t told me from time to time exactly how she would have managed a certain situation. They’re grandparents. They can’t help themselves. You are there telling your child off and hearing the remarks coming in from behind.

When They Tell You That It Worked for You, So It Can’t Be That Bad

Yup. This one is the holy grail of the grandparenting world. The sentence usually begins with, “in my day”, and it doesn’t start the minute you have the child. It can start as early as conception when they remark on the foods you are choosing not to eat: “in my day, we could eat everything, I am not sure what these new rules are all about”. They then extend to breastfeeding, sleeping, settling and beyond, and they will drive you up the wall. Yes, I did turn out fine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do things just a little differently with my kids.

Let’s face it, we love grandparents to death and don’t know where we would be without them, so most of the time, we just turn a blind eye before reporting back to our other half about the absurdities we had to deal with that day. But then we pack up the kids and send them back the next. You can’t beat that free babaysitting.

Felicity Frankish


Tags: Parenting
Felicity Frankish

Felicity Frankish is married and a mum-of-one to a little girl, living in the suburbs of Sydney. Having worked with children all her life and also having a great a love for writing, Felicity combined her two passions when she was on maternity leave and set up her own parenting blog: The Baby Vine. She survives day to day on coffee, loves keeping busy, and enjoys getting out an about on her...

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