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7 ways to ease the tension if you disagree with your parents on how to raise your child

Learning to be a parent is hard enough. Learning to be a parent with your own parents hovering or giving unsolicited advice is a whole other beast. Sure, grandparents have your baby's best interest at heart. But remember that you, the parent, are in charge; and even if they don't agree with you on what is actually best, you, your sanity and your confidence in parenting shouldn't become collateral damage.

So what can you do when dealing with grandparents overstepping boundaries? Here are seven tips:

1. Remember their intentions are good

For better or worse, grandparents often don't have the level of anxiety that new parents do—been there, done that, and everything turned out fine! So even when what they say or do become a source of anxiety, remind yourself that they want what's best for their grandchild. This will be a good starting point for when you are ready to confront them about boundaries.

2. Set clear rules and boundaries

Whether it's unannounced drop-ins or an ongoing critique of your parenting decisions, you must make your wishes known clearly, decisively and early on. This will be easier to do with love and kindness.

Try this: “We love that you want to come over and see your grandchild, but just dropping by doesn't work for us. Please call ahead or let's plan in advance." Or, “Clearly you both were great parents! And, we know that you only want what is best for your grandchild. We are parenting the way that works best for us and we want to figure this out ourselves. It's important to us that you respect this even if you disagree."

3. Validate their concerns

When grandma mentions that you may be carrying too low, not drinking enough milk, or harboring ridiculous concerns about pacifiers, say, “Thanks! I appreciate that you care and I'll look in to it."

When you validate someone's concerns, it naturally moves them from an antagonistic position toward one of cooperation. An overbearing grandparent often just wants to be heard. You can even follow up and let them know what you learned from your research and how you've decided to handle it. Then, thank them again for looking out for you and their grandchild.

4. Be kind AND (not but) firm

This is an example of a Positive Discipline strategy, which typically works well with children too! When you kindly respond to a request or situation that does not work for you, try replacing the word “but" with “and." This allows you to communicate your respect for grandpa as well as for yourself.

For example: “It's lovely that you brought your grandson a gift and since we don't allow toy weapons in the house, I'm happy to return it and perhaps we can find something together online." Or, “You're right, it definitely is easier to say 'Vicki' and we are really counting on you to help establish her name as 'Victoria', at least until she's older."

5. Compromise

They always want you to come to them. But it's so much easier if they come to you. They want to have holidays their way. You want to establish family traditions of your own. In order to avoid ongoing arguments, there needs to be give-and-take on both sides. This is different than giving in.

How about: “We always seem to argue about where and when to meet. We'd be delighted to come next weekend and then why don't we work out a compromise plan going forward." Taking turns selecting a restaurant or trading off holidays introduces the idea that compromise will be a regular feature on the menu.

6. Sometimes, bite your tongue

It's not always worth it to engage in a conversation that may just go nowhere. Smile, bite your tongue, and execute a perfect and private eye-roll. Think to yourself, Choose your battles.

7. Encourage the relationship

You don't always have to approve of how your parents or in-laws play their role for it to be beneficial. When your children see how different people—grandparents, teachers, babysitters—all have different ways of doing things, it allows them to develop flexibility.

Grandparents and grandchildren often have a very special relationship. Let them know that you appreciate the love and attention they show your children. One way to do this is to encourage alone time for their relationship. Obviously, if grandparents are unable to physically care for your child, this does not make sense. But otherwise, let go of your control over their relationship and grab some alone time of your own.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

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Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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