You are Your Child’s Parent!

I always enjoy when my children’s grandparents, whether it be my parents or my in-laws, come into town for a visit. In our family, visits from grandparents include chatting and catching up of course, but also a chance for my husband and I to go out on a date (with free babysitting!) as well as get some child-free errands done in WAY less time. As nice as this is, I admit that I always have to do some mental preparation beforehand. Each person has their own parenting style, even compared to those of their parents. I know that I am a much different parent than mine were to me. Because of this, I am constantly deciding before and during the visit what boundaries I’m going to stand firm on or which are okay to relax on a little.

Bringing up behaviors or actions that you are not okay with in front of your children can be a sticky situation. I sometimes find it difficult to speak up because I think it can look disrespectful (especially when taken the wrong way) and I’m afraid that it will seem as though I am talking down to my own parents or giving them the idea that I don’t approve of the way they raised me. The important thing to remember is that YOU are your child’s parent. You are around them the majority of the time and you know what boundaries are best for them.

I had the privilege of hosting my mom for a few nights while she was in town for work. Even during those couple of nights there were a few things that I felt that I needed to be firm on and I spoke up about with her. One example is language. In our family we don’t cuss at all; we don’t even say words like “stupid” (we say “that’s silly!”) or “sucks” (“that’s too bad” or “that’s a bummer”), etc. After hearing a few things that I felt were inappropriate in front of my kids, we made sure she understood our reasonings behind our request. Thankfully she made an effort to pick different words when the kids were around. The point is that I am their parent and I know my children the best. I know that my 2.5 year old twins are at the stage in life where they are sponges when it comes to language and they frequently repeat phrases that they have heard from those around them.

On the other hand, there are a few things that I know I can loosen up on because a visiting grandparent is a special occasion. An example of this is bedtimes. When we have no visitors we are pretty strict about going to bed on time – mainly because it doesn’t matter how late they stay up, my kids always wake up at the same time every morning, so we might as well get them to bed on time so they get the amount of sleep they need. When grandparents are visiting I have learned to be a little more lenient with letting them stay up so they can soak in all that extra attention 🙂 Another example is with getting “treats.” We are overall healthy eaters and we try and limit unnecessary foods (don’t worry, we DO give our kids treats), but I am usually okay with them having a couple extra sweet snacks while grandparents are here.

Everybody has to pick their battles. Decide what is important to you or that will affect your children the most and stick to your guns! Sometimes, like me, you have to learn to lighten up a bit on things that aren’t really worth fighting about.

Does anyone else ever find themselves in similar situations (either with grandparents or some other family member/friend)? What are your best ways when dealing with these situations?