Real Relationship Advice
We have a new question for our on-going In-Laws series. This question comes from a person who wishes to remain anonymous. Who can blame them?
How do you set boundaries when you realize your Mother-in-law has deluded herself into think she can act as a fun no rules mother instead of grandma?
It is said one of the perks of being a grandparent is spoiling your grandchildren. They also say that a benefit to being a grandparent or non-parent is playing with the kids and not being there for the hard stuff. CoupleDumb would contend that both beliefs are stupid!
No one likes a spoiled kid. They are hard to deal with, you can’t take them out and ultimately, they are no fun. A well behaved, respectful child can be taken anywhere and will act accordingly. When we break rules or mess up a child’s routine we are in essence showing that child that rules are not important. This example will quickly extrapolate to all rules when they are in your presence.
Kids thrive in routine. Routines create parameters and boundaries. Boundaries work on kids like a blanket around the baby; they feel safe and snug in the rules. A child is supposed to test limits and our job as parents is to make sure they find them. When we create the routine it is not only to keep us sane, it keeps the kid sane. They understand what is happening next. When we disrupt this routine, we see the results! We see our kids have issues sleeping, eating and behaving. So it comes as no surprise when Grandparents come over that our kids tend to misbehave. Their routines have been disrupted.
We also take issue with the idea that the extended family not be involved in the harder issues. We subscribe to the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. We have relied on our extended family for support in parenting our kids. We know our siblings and sibling-in-laws have been instrumental in raising our kids. Without their help we would have definitely lacked the ability to deal with all the Cracker Jack box surprise issues we have had to deal with. So this notion is ridiculous and ultimately a very 1-dimensional concept of being a family.
So set the boundary with fun-time grandma and let her know how she is disrupting your child’s routine. You can suggest that she observe how hard it is to re-train or discipline your child when they are out of control. These are the results of Grandma’s fun time. If she cannot see the issue, clearer boundaries are in order.