There is a fine line between caring for grandchildren and interfering in their upbringing, and grandparents often cross that line. Here's how to handle such situations.
When your parents were bringing you up, they were busy working hard to ensure you have a nice life. Your children, more than you, are the fruits of their labour, so let them enjoy spending time and indulging them. Don't worry that your grandparents may spoil your children. Children understand not to expect the treatment they get from their grandparents from the rest of the world. Also, you can let your children know well in advance that just because your grandmother lets them eat ice cream any time of the day, or go to bed late, does not mean they should expect the same treatment from you.
It is important for your children to bond with their grandparents. There is a lot they can learn from the older generation. In addition, spending time with grandparents teaches children the importance and value of bonding with family. Children who are close to their grandparents often value family. Also, if your child spends time with his grandparents, chances are high that he will encourage his children to spend time with you! On the other hand, if he is distanced from his grandparents because you may not get along with them, he may also keep you away from his children, fearing a similar clash between you and his spouse!
Certain children may tend to be impatient with those that have radically different points of view, or that do things differently or more slowly. Making children spend time with grandparents teaches them to be patient. On the other hand, if you are not careful and do not impose a check on your child's behaviour, your child may be rude to their grandparents, and you don't want to encourage this. So, make sure your children are always polite, and any rude behaviour should be reported to you.
When grandparents report rude behaviour to you, it is not wise for you to immediately attack your child. Instead, speak to your child without losing your temper, and ask your child what is it that upset him and that caused him to be rude. Once your child starts introspecting, he may realise on his own, that he was being unreasonable.
Grandparents are always full of stories of their younger days, and it makes them feel nice to have someone to share these stories with. When children hear these stories, they get a clearer picture of their roots. This increases their sense of family pride.
Just like you wouldn't like your in-laws interfering too much on how you bring up your child, so also try not to constantly keep telling your in-laws how they should treat their grandchildren when they are visiting them. Instead, focus on helping your child gain as much out of this relationship as he can.
If you feel your in-laws are unfairly interfering and pointing out faults with your children, instead of directly attacking them, tell them that you will think about their suggestions, discuss them with your spouse, and try and incorporate them. This should effectively put an end to the argument. If you have serious issues, let your spouse handle the situation. If your spouse gives you the green signal and tells you to deal with it yourself, speak to your in-laws frankly and tell them that while you value their opinion tremendously, you too have certain opinions on how you should be bringing up your children. Tell them that they had a chance with your spouse, and they definitely did a great job. Now, its time they left the job of parenting to you, and they should just enjoy the time they spend with their grandchildren without wondering and worrying about how they are going to turn out. It is best to have a frank discussion once and for all, than it is to keep arguing about the same matter or getting offended.