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You are here : home > Raising Children > Parental Dilemmas > Interfering Grandparents?

Interfering Grandparents?

There is a thin line between being interfering and being helpful, and a child's grandparents seem to be constantly crossing that line.

When a child is born, the child's grandparents can be a great source of help, support and encouragement. Grandparents almost always know what to do when their grandchild child is unwell, not eating, not burping, not sleeping, crying too much, sneezing, hiccupping.... and so on. In fact, many women would call their mothers or mothers-in-law before calling their husbands, for advice regarding health issues. But when it comes to advice regarding child rearing, it suddenly seems as though grandparents have it all wrong.

There is a thin line between being interfering and being helpful, and a child's grandparents, (especially if they are your in-laws!) seem to be constantly crossing that line.

If you discuss your child's behavioural aspects with his grandparents, be prepared for advice. If you don't want to hear advice, then don't discuss their problems with them. It would be unfair on your part if you unburden your worries on them, and then when they offer solutions, argue with them about why what they are saying doesn't make sense.

Be prepared to heed some advice. Don't be completely closed to their inputs. After all, they did bring up your spouse, didn't they? And how wrong did they go? If you love your spouse and if he turned out to be a sensible, balanced and nice person, it makes sense for you to at least give their ideas a fair hearing even if such ideas oppose yours. It is always better to have an open mind with regard to child rearing since everything is so subjective.

It is true that you can bring up your child the way you feel is right, but in your strong desire to do this, don't discount good tips. Many mothers, feeling threatened by constant interference from in-laws, make it a point not to heed their advice. This is completely understandable, as it is just a defensive reaction. Instead, if you have a problem with your child's grandparent's interference, discuss it with them. Let them know that you feel a certain way on certain issues, and that you would welcome their suggestions on other matters or when you ask for them.

It is all too easy for parents to critisize in-laws for interfering, but not all understand the emotion behind such interference. True, many in-laws are unnecessarily dominating, but irrespective, if you feel that their ideas do not completely go against your beliefs, you could perhaps give in to them every once in a while to maintain peace, especially if you are living together. Don't refuse to listen to them because you know that your husband is on your side or because you know that you have enough freedom and really can do whatever you want. Instead of simply turning a blind eye to what grandparents feel, discuss it with them and let them know why you feel strongly about doing things in another manner.

Always remember that grandparents nowadays have valuable experience, and make for the best baby sitters. These days, with people staying healthier in their old age, grandparents can participate in various activities with their children. They can tell them stories of the days gone by, inculcate in children a sense of family pride, and increase a child's knowledge about his culture and heritage. In addition, they love your child more than any aayah would. So bear this in mind the next time you are tempted to snap at them for interfering. It is for your own peace of mind.

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Recent comments (26 comments)
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Name: Leah
Country: USA

i"ve got ex in-laws and they are always interfering. i want the boys to be independant and they want to pay car insurance gas money here and there always here it is for nothing. i want our children to know life's not that easy. i've got one son he's quit school with 5 month's to graduate and quit his job because he coud'nt see his sgirlfriend every night. and still they give give give
Name: sarago
Country: India

nice article..well said..shld help moms who grib abt inlaws or parents and feel uncomfortable..
Name: donna
Country: united kingdom

my mother in law always tell me im too harsh on punishing my child .....i would mind but she says it in front of him so he try to pull the fast one with grandma says
Name: frustratedmom
Country: U.S.A.

my mil is known as a queen bit*h at work. she uses emotional blackmail on her son (my husband) and cannot say no to my son (her grandson). it scares me to death thinking of leaving my son under her care even for second. she doesn't abide by the rules and lets me son do what he wants.
Name: vicky smith
Country: India

all i say is keep calm with grandparents keep it balanced on both sides and put you ground rules down first. if they dont respect that then do what i do ignore the comments they make with nodding it really works you'll see x
Name: mya-brandy
Country: djibouti

grand parents r our eyes wen wen we need sleep they r our second hands wen we got full work they our legs wen we r to tired to stand but they r not our boss to raise our child
Name: Urmi
Country: india

with a working mother and possessive grand parents the child does not get time to bond with the mother.
Name: supriya raja
Country: india

i feel that u need to remember that u r the mother of the child who finally decides what is good or bad for the child. my in-laws too are interefering , in fact they would keep on insisting that i follow their advise without thinking twice and not follow the pediatrician.if i feel that what they say is i follow else i follow what i think is right, but i never argue with them.
Name: vicky smith
Country: India

my inlaw keeps pestering for my daughter we have told her before in good time but we are not ready. she sees her once a week so its not like she doesnt see her
Name: frustratedmom
Country: U.S.A.

my mil is known as a queen bit*h at work. she uses emotional blackmail on her son (my husband) and cannot say no to my son (her grandson). it scares me to death thinking of leaving my son under her care even for second. she doesn't abide by the rules and lets my son do what he wants.
Name: Teresa
Country: Australia

my mil is maybe a little too helpful at times. sometimes i feel like i am not the mother when she is around as she just takes interfering when im trying to discipline my son, always making suggestions. talking over me etc etc... i find the more she sees him the more she interfers. she makes me feel very inadequate. i also find my son prefers her to me when shes around which really hurts.
Name: John
Country: United Kingdom

this is very patronising to parents and quite obviously written by a grand parent. while i take on some of the points it seems that the whole article is geared to either agreeing with the grand parents or sparing there feelings. they can be over baring and very annoying and a lot of them dismiss modern methods completely they should back off unless specifically asked.
Name: Jennie
Country: United Kingdom

my partners parents babysit our 2 yr old each sat and i know that our son has a good time and enjoys spending time with them. but i feel because of this it feels like they think because they do that we have to go and visit them on the sundays aswel. we only have 2 fulls days together, sat and sun, because we work but its got to the point now where were spending most sundays with them aswel. they are quite controlling sometimes with our son and we are going on holiday with them next month and im not really looking forward to it as the last time we went with them they kind of took over and made all the decisions a lot of the time. the article has helped me a little but is there any1 out there who is in a similar situation as me ? helppp
Name: Adlozo
Country: U.S.A.

my own mother will correct my kids infront of me. she will point her finger at them and yell at them. when ever she is around she just takes over. at a recent event i was trying to take a picture of one of my daughters and she stepped right in front of me. this is the norm. i dont know what to do. if i say anything oh boy!!!
Name: Smita
Country: U.S.A.

everytime my inlaws come, they critize too much to me about raising my daughter. i understand they are parents but i've never said anything to them how to raise their kids, etc. they never tell their daughter not to beat up her children. but they do tell me.. its actually getting on my nerves that daughter in the family gets whatever they want & daughter in laws dont. my sister in law hits her kids in front of parents & yell at them. anyways, in our indian society we have to teach our kids not to learn anything from their grandparents. god knows how they'll turn out. i dont want my daughter feel like she's the only one in the world.
Name: jenny
Country: Italy

my in laws are complete disaster, sometimes think she wants to take my daughter home. daughter in laws seem to have problems with their mother in laws when a baby comes along. in laws keep your eyes on them
Name: Trish
Country: Hong Kong

smiling and nodding and saying nothing. this is what i have been doing for 10 years and i have come to a point where i feel i want to blow up. so smiling and nodding is not a permanent solution because how long can you continue to smile and nod at their criticisms and unnecessary opinions or unfair opinions on the poor you?
Name: Tina
Country: India

it is all very well saying listen to their advice and smile nicely but do what you want when the time comes. the problem is my in-laws want to look after my child full-time when i go back to work. i have refused this and agreed to one day but i know that once my back is turned they will be getting up to all sorts for example i have told them i don't want my child to have a dummy. i know they have gone out and bought one and as soon as they get my chid alone i am pretty sure they will be using it on him but there is nothing i can do.
Name: Sonali
Country: India

i never feel inlaws grandparents are interfering.. they are a great help for working mothers. they are a very important part of a family
Name: Grace
Country: United Kingdom

my in-laws are just so overpowering. since we had our 2 children, they demand to see us all the time and my husband and i have very little precious time together as it is. if i voice my thoughts to my husband he immediately stands up for his mother and is against me so i can't win. his parents are ruining our marriage as we constantly argue about them. i don't want to see them, they are bossy, domineering, interfering and obsessive about seeing the kids, they make my skin crawl. i hate them, and i have to see them at least twice a week now. i feel sick when i have to see them but if i don't, my husband won't speak to me. it's hell. what can i do?
Name: template
Country: Ireland

ive met a guy whose children live with his mom and brother, the kids are very confused over who makes the rules is it dad? granma? or uncle? they are unconsistant in their rules, ive had to walk away as my rules are soooo not like theirs they dont change and i belive a partner should stand up and back a partner if he believes in the same rules signed by lamb!!
Name: template
Country: Ireland

ive met a guy whose children live with his mom and brother, the kids are very confused over who makes the rules is it dad? granma? or uncle? they are unconsistant in their rules, ive had to walk away as my rules are soooo not like theirs they dont change and i belive a partner should stand up and back a partner if he believes in the same rules signed by lamb!!
Name: Brandon
Country: U.S.A.

you guys know nothing. my inlaws all hate me, and the mother and father are the worst. tell me im not the father in front of my stepson, interfere in everyway possible, act as though they are the parents. we try to talk it out with them but they try to negotiate with us and tell us what to do and that they will do what they want when they want, and they will make lies to take our kids, we have an 11 month old together, away from us if we try to keep them from them or do things they dont like. pure evil, you guys dont know anything!
Name: Soontobemom
Country: U.S.A.

we just told my inlaws last week, that my husband and i are expecting...already they are telling us we need to use cloth diapers instead of disposable, and make our own baby food instead of buying it, and what supplies to get for the baby. uhh!! if it is happening already, i am scared to see what happens when the baby comes. crazy mil!!
Name: pooja chetan bheda
Country: India

too good for mothers like me who cant decide if they are good or bad for my child


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