Even if you have the sweetest parents and in-laws, there will come a time when one of them or both will get on your nerves when they are offering unsolicited advice on how to care for your little one. Of course grandparents really do mean well and want to make sure that their grandchildren are cared for in the most proper way but their parenting styles and tips are not always the best and can be outdated, wrong, or downright harmful especially when they suggest Arak as a teething remedy, make your 6-month old child taste chocolate or drink water or even allow him to watch TV.
All grandparents want to help, even though they are not obligated to, so we should be grateful in a way and try to find a balance between letting them enjoy spoiling and loving their grandchildren and keeping them from crossing boundaries.
Here are few tips on how to handle unwanted parenting advice:
1- Be in agreement with your wife on how you’re going to raise your child. This will help you confront grandparents over sensitive issues.
2- Quote the pediatrician when boundaries are crossed, and make sure to do it respectfully and calmly in order not to harm the relationship and avoid confrontation. Your parents do have more experience than you in raising kids but they are not more qualified than your baby’s doctor to give advice.
3- Don’t set yourself as an adversary and try to listen to some of your grandparents’ advice. You definitely don’t want to miss out on some great advice and some of their tips might actually fit with your parenting style.
I know things are easier said than done, but it’s in your best interest to listen to grandparents, explain to them what they are doing wrong and come up with constructive things that each of them can do to help rather than reject everything they have to offer. Making them feel helpful is much more rewarding for the whole family, especially the baby.
In order to illustrate better these clashing parenting styles that every family will face at some point, there’s a brilliant, and funny, YouTube series “Drama Mama” that my friend Maia did as part of Nestlé’s Start Healthy Stay Healthy initiative and that aims at generating awareness and providing essential information to pregnant women and mothers.
Some of the topics covered are: Water for newborns, Baby’s bed, Baby sleeping time, Teething in babies, Baby nutrition schedule and others.
Ummm, regarding drinking water, I went to 2 pediatricians and both told me to give my babies water starting at the age of 2 months. Just 30 ml. My babies obviously didn’t take the water but when it was summer they sure did (around the age of 5 months).
Great post! It is definitely tricky finding the balance of respecting our parents and grandparents and their years of experience but at the same time finding our own way.
On another note, did you know that Nestle’s campaign targeting pregnant women and mothers is actually illegal according to Lebanese law?