How To Handle Grandparents ….. Positively!

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I love answering my regular column in Parents World India Magazine 

Here’s a tricky one about Grandparents:


My family is a joint family, and I don’t like the constant comparison between my twin boys (9) and by co-sister’s girls (8 and six.) They are better at some things, but I don’t want my children’s confidence to be undermined by the attitude of grandparents and aunt and uncle. How do I handle this?


Most grandparents try hard to be the best grandparents possible. But good intentions don’t always translate into doing the right thing. Even the grandparents who try their hardest sometimes get things wrong!

Child-rearing has changed tremendously since most grandparents were parents.

Find a time when you won’t be disturbed for a ‘quiet chat’ with them. Prepare some bullet points before you talk to them to give you clarity and confidence as it’s not about blaming them, or finding fault, or upsetting them, just pointing out that what they are doing is damaging your children’s self-esteem. Gently remind them that we are all good at some things ( e.g cooking) but not so good at others (sewing and that’s only me!)   and point out that your children are all still young and learning.

Make sure your tone of voice or body language isn’t confrontational and set the intention to just gently and kindly point this out to them.

Grandparents Who Are Stuck in the Good Old Days

Older grandparents who are  rather stuck in old-fashioned ways still have a lot to share and offer your kids. Children can benefit from being exposed to their  stories, their patience, their kindness, their traditional skills, their knowledge of family history, and their time-honoured values.

Perhaps your kid’s grandparents think you are too lenient, as parents today are more involved with school and extra-curricular activities and play more with their children than past generations. But times change, and we evolve, and we know that playing, talking and connecting with our kids is good parenting. Playing with children shows kids that they are valued and helps build strong bonds, past generations didn’t have so much time to play as they were living through different times.

Grandparents Who Don’t Understand.

Child-rearing has changed tremendously since most grandparents were parents. That means that sometimes they may need to be brought up to speed on new guidelines or ways of doing things – but nicely!

Not so much sugar, no whiskey in the bottle of milk to help the baby sleep, not putting babies to sleep on their tummies because that increases the risk of SIDS.

Grandparents Who Are Judgmental

While sometimes grandparents feel as though their experience has given them the 20/20 vision of hindsight, remember that grandparents don’t always know best!

Discuss your way of raising your kids with your partner and trust your intuition and let some of the remarks fly over your head like a helicopter flying over you – or a water off a duck’s back. If it gets too much – have a quiet word with them – I always say ‘Strike when the iron is cold!’ not when you are angry!

Grandparents Who Can’t Say No

Grandparents love spoiling or indulging their grandkids – it’s what they do!

But most know when to draw the line and say ‘No’ to something Mummy and Daddy don’t allow – like hours and hours on technology or tooooo many sweets

I remember that I had to have a word with Grandma and Grandad Arthur when they wanted to buy some really expensive trainers for my son Will as they couldn’t really afford them and I didn’t want Will spoilt or too demanding.

Sit down with a cup of tea and chat and just keep communication open, friendly and kind – as you all love your kids to bits!!

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