Have any of you ever had to deal with a grandparent who refused (or still refuses) to do what you – as the parent – asked of them? We do.
When our daughter was still small, I made it clear to all of the family that they would follow our rules, or they would not spend time with their granddaughter/niece/etc. This worked quite well at the time. Now, almost all of the extended family and grandparents live in other states. When we send our daughter to see them, we cannot always guarantee that our wishes are being followed.
The only benefit now is that our daughter is old enough to let us know when things are not going as they should. The normal things like bedtime and excessive TV-watching are not a huge deal – we know we won’t win those battles (and our daughter doesn’t mind herself). The problem comes when more serious requests of the grandparents are not honored, such as what to feed her and key developmental skills we are trying to instill.
Things we have tried already:
- Asking Nicely
- Asking Nicely AGAIN
- Asking our child to tell her no, while still being respectful, and then having her tell us when Nana has not followed our wishes
This is really hard, because we stress respect for, and listening to, the adults caring for her. We have this difficult balance now of letting her know it is not disrespectful or rude to tell Nana, “no” when it is something that goes against what her parents expect. For instance, the kid is seven; she can dress herself. She does not need Nana to still put her clothes on for her! It makes our daughter feel weird, like a baby, and like she can’t be self-sufficient like we try to teach her to be. It may seem petty, but it depicts a broader issue in the lack of respect for what her granddaughter’s parents have clearly said they want for their child.
Some things we are working on teaching our child now are:
- SPEAK UP to Nana when she does something you know we have asked her not to do
- SPEAK UP to your parents, so we can help you
- We are here to keep you safe and protected in this world, and we can’t do that if you don’t tell us what is going on when we are not around
Hopefully, we will turn a corner in this soon. I’m praying we will. We’ve talked to her; our daughter has talked to her. The rest is up to Nana. At the least, this will teach our daughter some valuable lessons on speaking up for herself and trusting her parents enough to talk to us about anything.
I would love to hear if any of you have any other suggestions that will help our family out in this situation! In the end it is about finding a balance between the deep love and appreciation we have for our daughter’s grandparents and the ways in which our daughter’s life is enriched by her presence and the need to stand strong in our beliefs and values.