All grandparents think that their grandchildren are special, but sometimes they can try to take over parenting duties and even undermine the role of the mother and father. Whether it is because they are genuinely trying to help or they simply think that they know best, it can be very damaging to a harmonious family environment. And whether they are your parents or your partner’s parents, it can be incredibly difficult to confront them. The relationship between parent and child can be strained at the best of times, but when something like this is added into the mixture, it can make it all the more complicated.
You need to set clear boundaries with the interfering party because being undermined can have a negative impact on your relationship with your children. They will begin to feel as though they no longer need to listen to you because their grandparents will always tell them something different, which is normally what they want to hear. Make sure that your parents know that it is never okay to undermine your authority in front of the children and if you say something then that is the final word.
Your kids need to know that it is you that is in charge, not their grandparents, if they listen to their grandparents and not you, then they should be taught that this is not acceptable. You are their parent and you are responsible for them and they should understand that your word is final and they should not attempt to second guess you.
Approaching parents, particularly if they are not yours can be tricky, so do it gently. Explain to them that your kids need to listen to you and their interfering is sending mixed messages to the kids which will only confuse them. If they continue to interfere, then you need to be firm with them. They should understand that they are not their children and while their parenting style might have worked well for them, your parenting style is different. They need to respect you as a parent and if they continually interfere or undermine you then it is incredibly disrespectful to you.
If they are your partners parents, then talk to your partner first. They should back you up and give you the support that you need to confront them. If they do not then you need to let them know how unfair that is. They might be their parents, but you are their partner and they should be supporting you.
No matter where or when you confront an interfering grandparent, you need to do it delicately. It is not going to be easy, but it is very important that they know that you are in charge of your children, not them.