Healthy Boundaries for Grandparents 3

Yes, I must say Grandparents are the like the whip cream and cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. They make life just a little more sunnier and help us all feel we are the most important person in the world when we are around them. They are a gift. Challenges can come however, when they don't respect their children's desires and boundaries when they are with their kids. They may not realize that they create havoc for the parents of the children when they are returned. Yes, they remain a gift to the children, but if good boundaries aren't kept, they can create a lot of difficulty for the parents.

Recognize your children are adults now

It is so hard to see our children at the age they are. Even now, I still have to remind myself that my oldest isn't a baby anymore. It's natural for us to see them that way because of their dependency on us when they were younger. However, it's important to shift our thinking when we become grandparents. Our kids are adults (and hopefully acting as such!) and need to be seen as the leader of their homes. You may not always agree with their rules or boundaries. It is ok to discuss it with them as well. That's what adults need to do. But in the end, they are adults as well and it's important to respect what they say and treat them as such.

Don't shame or guilt your kids into what you want

Sometimes parents will try to guilt their kids into doing something they may not feel comfortable with. I remember when my kids were babies. I had a hard time letting them go to my parents house for an overnight. It wasn't anything with my parents, I just wasn't ready to be away from them that long. I remember hearing a friend talk about how her parents made her feel bad if she didn't let her kids stay overnight. She would do it out of guilt and feel horrible the whole time they were gone!

Make sure you respect your adult children's no and don't try to talk them into anything they are uncomfortable with as a parent. Don't use manipulation or guilt to get what you want. Again, treat them as adults and respect their position as leader in their home. Maybe a good compromise in the above scenario could be the grandparent doing an overnight at the grand kid's house (with the parents there if they request that.) Try to look for a compromise rather than guilt when you are wanting to do something.

We do honor all grandparents this week and give a big hug to all you snuggly, wonderful people who bring sunshine to our lives! Thank you for all you do.

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.