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Grandparents' Role in Disciplining Grandchildren


Batya33

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I'm sure there are a wide variety of opinions here but I'm interested to know since I'm still working on my own views/opinions on the subject. For those of you with children (and I'm talking more about young children but I guess it doesn't matter), how much say, if any, do the grandparents get in matters of parenting/discipline/behavior? I am not talking about situations where grandparents babysit or take care of the child where the parents are away - I would think that that's a different situation as far as what the rules/standards are -at least somewhat different. Should a grandparent defer to the parents' views on child rearing if there is a disagreement or do you feel otherwise? Maybe it's a case by case basis.

 

I'd be interested to hear your views.

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I expect my parents to back up my parenting philosophies and decisions. I've only had to discipline my daughter a few times while at my parents....she had just gotten back from her dads house and was wired on sugar...and didn't want to sit at the table for dinner. I told her she could sit at the table quietly, or she could sit in time out....she ended up in time out....I could tell it bothered my parents because she was upset...it bothered me too...my mom looked over and said, "you didn't have another option, you're doing a good job, kid." and that helps.

 

I was raised on junkfood. My mom grew up on a farm and they didn't get treats...she wanted us to have everything she didn't...so we had pop with dinner (which was usually take out or fast food), we always had dessert....my school lunches always had cookies and other junk in it...and...I didn't want to raise my daughter that way. We don't drink pop...we eat mostly vegetables. Treats are mostly fruit. When my daughter was old enough to be fed junk food...my mom would buy her yop and...crappy f....oods that I don't want her eating...I would comment on it....but she kept doing it. I talked to my dad about it...he would talk to my mom about it....but she would still give it to her. Finally, I started only coming over once every few weeks instead of a few times a week....my mom was upset. When she asked why, I told her it was because I was limiting my daughters junk food intake. It finally sunk in. Now my mom buys my daughter exotic fruit (that I don't normally buy because it's too expensive) as treats...and I think that's a great compromise.

 

As a parent, you have to stand up for your child and do what you believe is right....but at the same time...I see a lot of parents that let their children be disrespectful....and children that aren't all that well behaved....and...sometimes grandparents do feel the need to step in and act like a parent.

 

If my daughter was ever disrespectful around my parents and I wasn't there to correct it...I know they would. I'm glad.

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I'm sure there are a wide variety of opinions here but I'm interested to know since I'm still working on my own views/opinions on the subject. For those of you with children (and I'm talking more about young children but I guess it doesn't matter), how much say, if any, do the grandparents get in matters of parenting/discipline/behavior? I am not talking about situations where grandparents babysit or take care of the child where the parents are away - I would think that that's a different situation as far as what the rules/standards are -at least somewhat different. Should a grandparent defer to the parents' views on child rearing if there is a disagreement or do you feel otherwise? Maybe it's a case by case basis.

 

I'd be interested to hear your views.

 

None. They are not the parents. The grandparents should always defer to the parent's views unless the parents are being abusive.

 

My mother is extremely fundamentalist xtian and I and my sister are not. While it wasn't as much of an issue for me, it was for my sister as my mom moved to live with my sister after my sister had her daughter. My mother has tried to circumvent my sister's wishes that she not interfere with my sister's intent upon raising her daughter out of my mother's church (we were raised catholic and mom became protestant about 30 years ago). They have had many rows over it--my mother gets highly upset when my sister and daughter watch "Harry Potter".

 

So yes, I believe that if grandparents want access to seeing their grandchildren, they must defer to the parent's views on chld rearing--otherwise, all that is is a power struggle to usurp the parent in the affections of the child.

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Well, my son is little(almost 1), but my mom tends to follow my direction. The one thing is food, though. I am, I wouldn't say rigid but I did have some poor eating habits when I stayed with my own grandmother, so I don't want to get in the habit of giving him junky or processed stuff. For the most part, my diet is quite clean and I want him to grow up like that as well. She asked me about spaghettios the other day. I was like Mom, you joke? No spaghettios. "Ok, ok." She does run that kind of thing past me always and doesn't go against my wishes on it. I suspect as he gets older more and more I will have to keep on top of it. I know she does not agree with that, but she does go with it.

 

Also, I caught her saying "bad boy" the other day and I had to set that straight immediately. I told her I don't like that - The problem is the behavior, not the child, and "bad boy" doesn't convey the right message. Plus they have no concept of that at this age. I told her I do redirection and expect that she do the same, and he is understanding "no" so saying that in a firm tone is ok, but there will be no "bad boy" stuff. She said she understood and appreciated my explanation.

 

This is early days, so that's all I got

 

None. They are not the parents. The grandparents should always defer to the parent's views unless the parents are being abusive.

 

I agree.

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"As a parent, you have to stand up for your child and do what you believe is right....but at the same time...I see a lot of parents that let their children be disrespectful....and children that aren't all that well behaved....and...sometimes grandparents do feel the need to step in and act like a parent. "

 

That's interesting -I was thinking about it the other way -grandparents who indulge the grandchildren where the parents are stricter (I guess your example of the junk food is more like this). Thanks for sharing all of this - your examples were really helpful -I really could see the issues and liked how you resolved them.

 

I agree in a perfect world grandparents should defer (other than in cases of abuse) but in reality I've seen more diverse situations. It also depends I think on how often the grandparents get to see the grandchildren -so if geography is an issue should parents bend the rules a little as needed to make the grandparents' visit more special/more fun? I don't think this is easy stuff all the time or black and white.

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No, because children can smell a rift at 500 paces. If the rules get relaxed while the grandparents come around, then once they're gone back, the parents have a devil of a time re-introducing their authority and rules. Consistency with children is the best gift you can give them.

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No, because children can smell a rift at 500 paces. If the rules get relaxed while the grandparents come around, then once they're gone back, the parents have a devil of a time re-introducing their authority and rules. Consistency with children is the best gift you can give them.

 

Yes I agree. My grandparents consistently spoiled me ;-). I actually did understand and appreciate the difference -I did not expect the same indulgence from my parents. Then again that wasn't a "rift" -that was my parents agreeing with the grandparents' indulgences and explaining that it was a special treat or similar. I do agree that there's a limit to that and I think that's more of a case by case basis. I also think children have to learn that rules might be inconsistent depending on who is making them and the environment. So, his teacher might have different rules in the classroom than we have at home, etc and a grandparent might have different expectations of a child. But yes I agree that as much as possible the child should understand why it seems "inconsistent" and should see his parents enforcing their rules consistently.

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No, because children can smell a rift at 500 paces. If the rules get relaxed while the grandparents come around, then once they're gone back, the parents have a devil of a time re-introducing their authority and rules. Consistency with children is the best gift you can give them.

 

I think children are way smarter than we give them credit for My daughters father...*sighs* takes her every weekend. He lets her stay up until 11 pm (or whenever she passes out on a couch) and lets her eat whatever she wants, takes her for slurpees...one time he even gave her a mocha latte (I wanted to kill him because he gave it to her on the drive back to my place ? lol)...when they go shopping he buys her whatever she wants...to the point that he now complains to me that she's always begging for him to buy her stuff and she throws tantrums....

 

That's not the child I know. We have strict bedtimes, we have meals...I never buy her things when we're out or bribe her...so...I've never seen her throw a tantrum. She doesn't ask me to buy her things...she doesn't ask for junk food...she eats her dinner and is a very sweet, pleasant child.

 

It's like a switch.

 

If children respect you, they treat you differently. While I completely agree that consistency is key with raising children...and I would prefer her dad acted like a parent instead of an uncle...it is what it is...and she knows the expectations that each caregiver has for her, and she acts accordingly.

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Should a grandparent defer to the parents' views on child rearing if there is a disagreement

 

Yes. Grandparents are not THE parents, and should respect the parents, whether or not those parents are their own children. When the grandparents and parents are in the same room, the parents can do the parenting unless they have specifically asked grandparents to take over for a spell while they are focused on something else, and the grandparents have agreed. When grandparents are in charge, they can use discretion.

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From the outside --- as a kid whose grandmother was not a huge role in our lives because she and my mum didn't see eye to eye....allowing grandparents

to discipline older children based on grandma's idea of "not acceptable" behavior --- may back fire. I would listen to my mum...I would have told my grandma

she had no right.

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and I would prefer her dad acted like a parent instead of an uncle...it is what it is...and she knows the expectations that each caregiver has for her, and she acts accordingly.

 

At least he's the one that experiences the negative behavior. And like you said, she's learning about people, and expectations and boundaries can among them.

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The grandparents do not get to decide my parenting role or influence my decisions. My mother backs me up. She does the things that I have decided for my child. My in-laws completely disregarded anything I had to say about my child.

 

I'm sorry about this situation.

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I am really glad my son is older now. (16) My in-laws are old now,80's so they can not do anything with him anyway. But they ALWAYS completely disregarded anything I said and did it their way. They REALLY made me mad because my son has disabilities and they would not even accept that and put him in situations that distressed him. Then I would get in an argument with my husband over his parents. It is at the point now my son only sees his grandparents on his own once a year. I cannot take the BS otherwise.

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Yes, I can imagine -and I know it's hard to deal with your husband on this particular issue. My son's grandparents are near 80/in their 80s too so the role is different than with the typical 60s (or younger!) grandparents of a 4 year old.

 

For sure!!

I am lucky my mother is only 20 years older than I am. So she was 51 when my son was born. But my mother accepted my son more readily. She was in his life from the day he was born until he was 13 every day. Now that we have moved though she only sees him once every couple months.

 

My in-laws were never really that into my son though. There was always something "off putting" about him. My father-in-law doesn't want to deal with children as babies that needed caring for ,diapers ,bottles ,soothers he didn't want any of that. He wanted children that came out of the womb that were already grown up and respected him. And in his house his word is law. So my husband's family never really got close to my son. But now they are jealous that he is close to his other grandparents. Go figure.

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I think a combination of both. You always want grandparents to back up the parenting style of their sons or daughters but I also think that if you leave your kids with their grandparents for a weekend (let's say) then it's their rules the children need to adhere to under their roof. If those rules get broken then I would have no problem with my parents disciplining my kids on their terms.

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I think alot of it depends on exactly what and how the grandparents choose to discipline the kids over versus the parents. Also how much the grandparents may be trying to force ideas and activities on to the grandkids that a parent deems not healthy or wrong in some way. My grandmother half raised me and my siblings for several years when our parents were working jobs that took them far from home. During those times she and my parents were pretty much on the same page discipline-wise. My mother has been pretty easygoing with my kids too, mostly deferring to me on major issues although she has no problem speaking up to the kid or kids if they are doing something she feels is rude or wrong. And she'll tell me about it, just the way my dad always did. They looked to me to provide the final discipline, but weren't shy about speaking up if they saw something wrong. The one area we disagreed on is my mother is uber-religious and kept after me to take the kids to church. I refused explaining I'd let them choose it themselves when they were old. Finally as each of them got old enough to do some reading up and understand things for themselves I'd send them to church with Grandma. In the case of my oldest son he took to it like a duck takes to water, the other two not so much. But I won't let their grandmother ever complain about it or comment on it, because I told her all along it was their choice and it is. So my oldest son happily takes her to church and the other two happily clean house and enjoy a peaceful Sunday doing things for Grandma while she's out. It works.

 

That's alot different to a friend who had to stop taking her kids around her dad, because he'd hit them with a belt same as he did to her when she was little. She found out about it one day when she arrived early after dropping the kids off for a visit and that was that. She'd already had trouble just getting him to acknowledge it had hurt her physically and emotionally as a child and he'd promised not to do that to her kids, but when she caught him the new rule became he only gets to see them when they are all under the same roof and she can keep an eye on them all. He doesn't like it, but she told him that was the only option he got if he wanted to ever see his grandkids.

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I'm curious to know why most parents here seem to prefer having the grandparents defer to them? Assuming that no one is spanking, cursing, or doing any other extreme behaviours.

 

I don't have kids, but I watch my niece and nephew a lot, often with my mom (their grandmother). My mom's parenting style is different, but my brother and SIL don't seem to mind. I mean, say the grandparents spoil the kids while the parents are strict, what's the problem there? Or vice-versa? Eventually, they will grow up and understand people have difference values and they will make up their own mind. I mean, unless the kids are spending the majority of the time with grandparents, it's not likely going to make a terrible difference... is it?

 

I think my mom and I are more strict than my brother and SIL. When the kids are with us, they are mannered, pick up after themselves, etc... When they are at home, they do whatever they like.

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I don't want my in-laws decided anything for my child because they are dimbulbs. They know nothing about his disability and made no effort whatsoever to learn one thing about it. They just do what they want because they know will tick me off. And they rejoice in ticking me off.

 

That's my reason.

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