When In-Laws Step Out of Line

Ohhhhh this is such great info! What has helped you the most when dealing with your in-laws?


by Nikki Pennington | staff writer for The Snap Mom

Let’s be honest, we’ve all had that cringe-worthy moment when the in-laws try to discipline your child. Not necessarily major, maybe they just tell your child to stop doing something when you are standing right there. “Oh, hello there, don’t mind me, I’m just the parent right here.” It can leave you feeling as though you are not good enough as a parent and as if you are not valued as the child’s parent. Not only that, it can cause tension in the family. A few months ago we ran into this issue. It was at that point that we realized that we as parents do not discipline the same way my in-laws choose to. At that point we knew we needed to set boundaries… and let me tell you, it has worked like a charm! Here are a few simple things we did to help my in-laws remember they are the fun ones, not the disciplinarians.

Talk to them

This isn’t usually the fun part. We sat down and discussed in detail how we choose to discipline in our home. If you don’t give a person the chance to correct something by talking with them about it, then you can’t get upset with them, plain and simple.

Give them time

This is going to be a change for them. After all, they only know how they raised your significant other, so it’s all they are used to. Now, I’m not saying to allow their behavior to continue but just remember to not expect results overnight.

Call them out

This may sound harsh; I don’t mean for it to. For us, my in-laws were disciplining our children while we were standing right there. By this, I mean for example “Dylan, stop running” or “Dylan, you need to calm down.” There was no harm being done either time; we were right there watching him closely and there was no need for an adult to intervene. The first time afterwe had discussed it with them, I pulled the in-law aside and reminded them that we were right there; we could completely handle the situation. The second time, I reminded them in front of everyone kindly.

Remind them they get to have fun

Remind them that being the grandparent is the fun job. They may be in charge of discipline when the child is left in their care, but again, the discipline that you have set for them to use.

Consistency is key

Children can become confused very easily. Remind your in-laws that you want to make sure things are consistent at everyone’s house for the children, especially discipline. The last thing you need is a child that is in the middle of not knowing if they should listen to grandpa, grandma, mom or dad.

Always remember to go to them with an open and loving heart. Sometimes it’s hard for othersto not only hear things that need to be changed but to actually change them. Let them knowyou will work with them, that you are for them and not against them. Also, remind them the overall goal is for the benefit of your children and their grandchildren. That in itself should be enough to help them want to make the changes. 🙂


 About the author:

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Nikki is a stay at home mom to three high spirited boys. Three years ago she became a motherless daughter after losing her own mom to terminal brain cancer. When she is not playing the role of referee for the boys, she spends her days trying to encourage and inspire others that are on the grief journey.

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