Grandma's Parenting Style

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Grandma's Role

Remember to give your mother-in-law some grandparenting leverage. What your husband says is true: She most likely does do things differently, so accept those differences within reason. If, however, you feel that those differences jeopardize your child's health and well-being, that's when you draw the parenting line and say "no" to her services. Since your mother-in-law lives with you, this situation could be strained. Nevertheless, keep in mind that you're acting for the baby's sake and not for revenge.

Keep in mind that the grandmother's role here is a difficult one. She raised children, and she probably did a good job. When you ask her to care for her grandchild in a way that's different from how she parented, she might unfortunately view it as a personal attack on how she raised her children. Let's hope she's not out to prove that her way is right and your way is wrong. If this kind of tug-of-war is taking place, the person caught in the middle is that baby. Avoid this situation!

To make the situation work, here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Voice your appreciation for whatever she does that meets with your approval.
  • Only give her instructions that are critical to follow. Leave the rest up to her.
  • Ask her advice; doing so validates her credibility as grandparent and caregiver.
  • Talk about how fortunate you are to have her care for the baby, forgoing the need to take your child outside the home for childcare.

By following these four suggestions, the likelihood is greater that she'll be more willing to follow the instructions you feel you must give.



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