Clinically reviewed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA

8 things to remember about your kids’ grandparents (aka your parents)

by Vivian Nunez

It’s a delicate relationship, but these reminders may help.

No one gets a guidebook when they’re born. We are all living life for the first time, and your parents are no exception. Our propensity to figure things out as we go also means that it's fair to expect some ups and downs when new relationship layers are uncovered — like when becoming parents or grandparents. But setting boundaries between grandparents and their new grandchild doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

Being the adult in the room means you get to set the tone and amp up the joy and peace on how your kids and their grandparents interact and play.

Here are some gentle reminders (and boundaries for grandparents) to keep you afloat as you navigate your relationship with your kids’ grandparents, also known as your mom or dad!

Gentle reminder: You parent differently, you set the tone

You’re allowed to develop your parenting style, whether it includes aspects of how your parents raised you or not. It can be easy to forget this when your parents make you feel like their child, but just remember you’re the adult in your child’s life, and you can set the tone. You can make it as bright and as inviting as you want to!

Gentle reminder: Tap into compassion as everyone adjusts to new roles

Whenever your child was born, you became a parent, and your parents became grandparents. While everyone is technically the same person, it takes time to grow into these brand-new identities. Extending patience to yourself and your parents can go a long way. It also opens up the possibility for curiosity and learning just how awesome these new roles can be.

Gentle reminder: Everyone is trying their best

On that note, not only is everyone stepping into a new identity, but it’s also true that everyone is learning on the go. It may not always be easy, but gently remind yourself that everyone is trying their best and that you’re all on this adventure together, which makes it all the sweeter.

Gentle reminder: You’re allowed to set boundaries for your family

Starting your own family means you get to set boundaries on what you find acceptable and not. Clearly communicating your boundaries for you and your family can help ensure all extended family members are also on the same page. It’ll lead to less hiccups and more happy, quality time.

Gentle reminder: If they want to be involved, it’s one more person to love your child

Your child is lucky if everyone in your life vies to love them. You get to set boundaries around their relationships, but you also get to celebrate how much inbound love is coming their way!

Gentle reminder: It’s not your responsibility to nurture their relationship

While you get to set boundaries on what is appropriate for you and your family, this doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to uphold your parents’ relationships with your child(ren). Cut yourself some slack and let them take initiative.

Gentle reminder: You can be honest about how much feedback you’re willing to accept and how

Listening to someone’s input or advice doesn’t mean you have to accept or implement it. Often, we can’t control someone offering unsolicited advice, but we can decide what to do with it and how to react towards them. Your parents may be loving over sharers of advice, but this doesn’t mean you have to listen to it if it isn’t helpful to you. Give them the benefit of the doubt by setting the stage for how you like to receive feedback and what kind of feedback you’re open to.

Gentle reminder: You can talk to them like fellow parents

Now that you’re a parent, it opens up an entirely new way to connect with your own parents.Don’t be afraid to lean into this new facet of your relationship. Ultimately, no one will betterunderstand what raising a child is like than the people who raised you!

All relationships come with their highs and lows, but remind yourself that as complicated as grandparents’ relationships can be, they can also be full of love and care. The list of boundaries for grandparents doesn’t limit the amount of love they can give their grandchild(ren) — it’s all about adding in some peace too! You get to enjoy the fun parts while also setting boundaries to safe guard the more delicate parts.

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