When Grandparents Discipline the Kids

It can be hard when the grandparents discipline the kids.  Maybe your parents or your in-laws are stepping in when your child steps out of line.  While some people are happy for the extra help, others don’t like it at all and want to handle the discipline themselves.

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Here are some helpful tips for when grandparents discipline the kids:

  • Think of your family as a team.  You are all on the same page, trying to raise children to be responsible adults.
  • If you see them getting ready to say something to your child, try to beat them to the punch or hold your hand up to let them know that you will handle it.  Maybe they feel that you aren’t going to do anything when  little Johnny pulls on  little Janie’s hair, even though  you know that you would.  Let them see you step in and handle the situation first.
  • Think of it as an opportunity to teach your children to respect, listen and obey other adults.
  • Talk to the grandparents about where you stand.  If you feel that they are undermining your authority, try to explain why you feel that way.  Remember that they think they are helping, so be mindful of that.  Ask them to refrain from disciplining unless they see your child is in immediate danger or causing someone else to be in danger.
  • Talk to your parents or in-laws about your rules.  Maybe if they understand your rules, they can feel helpful by maintaining them, instead of enforcing their own rules.
  • Perhaps it is the way that their parents helped them.  Our parents, like us, learn from the examples that we were taught.
  • Set specific rules: “I am glad that you help out, but remember that we do not spank or yell.  Please be sure to never do these things with our child.”
  • Handle it from the perspective of consistency.  “We all need to be consistent, so if you see him doing something that isn’t a good choice, please let me know.  I will handle it.  If I am not there, please simply place him in time out for three minutes, without yelling.  It will help if we are all doing the same thing.”
  • Tell them that they are the grandparents and they can let go of the job of discipline… now it is their turn to just have fun while you take care of the serious stuff.  
  • Suggest that in your home, you handle the discipline, while in their home, they can step in.  This is also a way for your child to understand that different rules apply at different places.
  • It doesn’t matter what is “normal,”  All that matters is how you and your husband agree to discipline your child and what you are comfortable with.
 When The Grandparents Discipline Your Kids

 Remember that it boils down to this: If you are uncomfortable with it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  You are your child’s voice and you want your child to be close with his grandparents, so speak up for him.

If you appreciate the help, take it.  If you would rather they not discipline you child, explain that.

Do what you are comfortable with.   You might even find some useful information in the post about when the grandparents are watching the kids  (and giving too much screen time!)    Or you can join us on Facebook where we are talking about topics like this daily.