By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Your parents raised you, so you should automatically agree with them on ground rules for parenting, right? Exactly... and Elmo can actually play the piano. Whether it's a sign of the times ("Carseats are mandatory, even just down the street, Dad!") or a genuine difference of opinion ("I know you let us trick-or-treat alone, but my husband and I aren't comfortable with that"), disagreeing with your parents can make them feel like you're questioning their parenting skills. That's something you really don't want to do if your parents are the only available babysitters for the weekend of that getaway you were hoping for. For those of us lucky enough to have our parents involved in our kids' lives, deciding whose rules rule can be a tricky question. (Multiply that by a factor of 10 if it's your in-laws you're dealing with.)
Related: 25 Snacks Under 150 CaloriesOn one hand, you're the parent and you know your children best, so ultimately you should have the final say-right? Dr. Paul Coleman advises, "Yes, grandparents deserve respect and flexibility, but you are the child's parent, and you have a right to insist that rules be followed. A well-meaning grandparent is usually willing to follow your rules, even rules that he or she may feel are arbitrary or a bit too lenient (or too strict). If a grandparent seems consistently defiant or always questions your judgment, 'Because I said so' is appropriate."
On the other hand, your parents have been at this parenting game a lot longer than you have, so perhaps they have a point. "Have faith that your parents or parents-in-law will respect the boundaries you've set and live up to your expectations. If you come home and the kids' clothes are a mess or toys were put away in the wrong places, think twice before speaking up. Just because the grandparents cared for your children differently than you would have doesn't mean they're wrong," says the site Bratfree.
Related: 17 5-Minute Marriage MakeoversPlus, Dr. Coleman points out, letting the grandparents make some of the rules can work to your advantage at home. "It is wonderful when a child and grandparent have fun together. If a grandparent gives a child extra time or extra gifts or extra treats, it can actually make it easier for a child to tolerate not having those things at home as often. A 10-year-old who knows he can stay up late at Grandma's may be more willing to go to bed on time at home."
Do you let the grandparents have a say in your childcare rules?
-Yes. If they're kind enough to babysit, I should respect their opinion.
-Sometimes if they make a really good point.
-No. My kids, my rules.
-Sadly, my kids don't have any grandparents in their lives right now.
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