When Grandparents Spoil Your Little One

Should there be rules for grandparents? This is a fairly broad topic since spoiling can mean something different to a parent and to a grandparent.


The Spoiling Boundary

Grandparents have been spoiling their grandbabies forever, and the reason is pretty simple — it makes them happy. Your parents and in-laws have done the heavy lifting raising you and your partner, and now — no surprise — they want to enjoy the fun parts of parenting. That’s why they’re so willing to indulge your sweetie when he begs for a scoop of ice cream for snack, one more story before bedtime, or a new toy. And they’re not alone: One recent study found that grandparents in this country spend a staggering $50 billion annually on their grandkids.

Still, all that generosity doesn’t get them off the hook. After all, they don’t have to suffer the consequences of plying your toddler with cotton candy or depriving him of z’s — you’re the one who has to deal with your cranky critter when their visit’s over. Also, if you’re choosing a grandparent as a relative caregiver, you want to make sure your child-care philosophy is still (somewhat) in practice when you leave your little one in Mom Mom’s arms. So how can you keep grandparents from spoiling your sweetie too much and get them to show respect for the rules you’ve worked so hard to set? Here’s how:

Enlist their help. Simply asking your parents to stop the spoiling probably won’t get you very far. Instead, find a quiet time to talk — preferably when your tot is out of the room — and make them feel part of the solution, not the problem. Acknowledge that you totally get that they like to indulge their grandchild, but you need to set a few ground rules. Then ask for their input. For example, if you’re peeved that your parents don’t think twice about the unhealthy snacks they serve, you can say that the dentist has noticed some tooth decay, and you all need to come up with a sound plan for taking good care of your tot’s teeth.

Let a few things go… If the grandparents’ spoiling is relatively minor — e.g., your mom slips your toddler a dollar every time she stops by — rethink whether it’s really worth making a fuss over (especially if they live far away and don’t see the grandkids all that often). After all, if they respect your most sacred limits (no scary or violent TV shows), you should be prepared to be flexible on a few things, too.

…but don’t compromise on health and safety.If your parents’ or in-laws’ treats include toddler choking hazards like hard candy or popcorn or they’re lax about buckling him up in the car seat or stroller, speak up. If necessary, print out articles, cite a higher authority (the pediatrician), and …


Read more: http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/ask-heidi/when-grandparents-spoil-your-little-one.aspx

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