Grandparents play a great and extra special role in our kids’ life. The unconditional love that your little ones share with them is very precious and unique. Grandparents are the historians from whom your kids learn about your family tradition, history and ethnic heritage. But, they are famous for over indulging and spoiling the kids. Kids love visiting their grandparents as that is the only place where the word ‘no’ is unheard of.
If the ‘grandparent mistakes’ are occasional, they can be forgiven! For every parent who grumble about overindulgent grandparents, there are equal number of parents who feel their kids lack attention from their grandparents. Grandparents are supposed to spoil our kids a ‘little’ bit. But, ask yourself, how bad it really is? Balancing the love of grandparents and preventing the kids from being spoilt is a very tough and delicate role for the parents.
Here are some of the ways to deal with grandparents who spoil your kids.
- Make them a part of the solution and not the problem. For example, most of the parents will not object if the grandparents give their kids occasional treats of candies and sweets. But, you will have to object when it’s going to ruin your kid’s healthy eating habits. Now, try making them understand by asking ”My little one eats a lots of sweets and there could be a possibility of tooth decay. Tell me how to take care of his teeth?”
- Talk to them about your areas of concern. For example, grandparents buy too many toys for their grandchildren. Don't stop them from buying, but influence them on what they buy.
- Firstly, if they buy toys that are not appropriate for your child's’ age, give them the list of appropriate ones that would suit your little one.
- Secondly, if they buy the kids expensive electronics(like toy guns, video games) that doesn’t encourage their analytical and creative abilities, explain them the benefits the children reap from the toys and activities you prefer.
- Thirdly, ask them not to buy something every time they visit a store together. Explain them that it would leave an impression on the little one that every time they visit a store, they will get a toy.
- And, finally, request them to open a savings accounts for your little ones, rather than buying expensive toys.
- Set boundaries, but, in a very subtle manner. It would be unrealistic and totally unacceptable to stop grandparents from pampering your kids. But, it is absolutely acceptable to set limits gently. For example, it would be very mean from your part to stop them from feeding the kids with chocolates or ice-cream. Instead, ask them to give smaller portions and only at certain times of the day(not before their mealtime or bedtime).
- Be firm when boundaries are crossed. When you see that boundaries are crossed, make sure you do something about it. But, don’t be unkind or harsh. For instance, if the kid is offered a piece of cake just before his meal time, deal with it immediately. Tell your kid “Mom doesn’t want you to have cake before your meal time. You can have it once you are done with your meal.” In few situations like this, it is better to deal with your kids first. And, don’t argue with the grandparent in front of your child. It will send conflicting messages to the child. Explain them the consequences of such indulgence when your kid is not around.
- Stay open-minded. Grandparents bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. They have experiences and perspectives of already having raised a children. You can accept grandparents’ way of doing things and tweak it to your parenting methods. Stay open minded and don’t miss out on their experiences.
Grandparents are role models and play a very special role in your kid’s lives. At times, the best way to deal with the grandparents is to go with the flow. Accept their role and let your kids have fun. If it is not really bad, let it go unnoticed and get tough on those that can’t be ignored. Let your kids not miss the special treatment they get from their grandparents.
“Grandparents are so easy to operate, even a child can do it” -Unknown. Happy parenting!