Grandparents & discipline

by Kanesha

I’m sitting here, alone, in my parents’ house. It’s cool and quiet and I’m thrilled!!

Hubby and my stepdad have taken the kids to the park, and my mom is off running errands and possibly buying my children yet another gadget they don’t need. (As she would say, “It’s just what grannies do!“)

We’re having a GREAT time!


When we first arrived, my hubby told the kids to ask their grandparents for the rules of the house. I chuckled and my daughter looked at her dad sideways and promptly said,

“Daddy, you know there aren’t any rule here!”

My mother quickly added,

“Yes, she’s pretty much right. Not too many rules here for our grandchildren.”

Then I started to think; my kids spent close to two full weeks with my mother-in-law and my hubby’s sister (and sister’s hubby and sister’s two kids). They are very structured and rule driven people (yes – this is very true).

Since my mother-in-law lives with us, there are the day-to-day rules that must be enforced as well.

And now we are with my parents who will stop, drop and roll for these two grandkids. My parents will uphold rules that deal with safety, but that’s pretty much it as far as rule enforcement.

So, is this a case of fun grandparents vs. rules driven grandma?

Is this really fair to my mother-in-law’s relationship with my kids or is this not my problem to worry about?

I had not thought about this until today.

Hubby chimes in:

It’s just the way it is (fair or unfair).  When we look at the big picture – we all have several hats that we need to wear to make life work and the world go round.  Sometimes my mom is grandma – but most the time instead of grandma she is caretaker.

To provide a stable and safe environment for the kids, she needs rules and they need rules. Rules offer freedom and encourage their development.  It is different with the short visits from the non-caretaking grandparents.

Side note from hubby:

Our youngest was about to start playing with the POOL TABLE when I asked for the RULES.  It was such a perfect toy for a three-year old – with no rules.  And I had seen his eyes light up as he looked at the perfect green field laid out before him with a small ball (not a pool ball) in his hand and a truck.

We are flexible and we all want to have a good time, but even a house with minimum rules will need a few to keep everyone safe and happy.


3 Responses to Grandparents & discipline

  1. I believe grandparenthood is an opportunity to shine in a way you can’t as a parent. Seeing my mom as a grandmother has been a shining moment in our relationship. However, if any of our parents lived with us, there would have to be more rules and enforcement. The upside to that is your MIL experiences the little daily miracles that out of town grandparents do not. I am confident everyone’s cup runnith over…

    • Yes, our cup does runnith over with both sets of grandparents. My kiddos are always so thrilled about the grandparents and sometimes we (the parents) get pushed to the back. :-)

  2. I agree with T – in your case G has to have rules, could you imagine her living in your house helping with the kids with NO RULES? it would not work! so she’s kind of like the 3rd parent but also gets to do the fun stuff if she chooses. In the case of N & LC – they are more like my parents and my in-laws. Keep ‘em safe but let them do whatever their little hearts desire as long as they are respectful, happy, mindful and mannerable. in fact, it’s those attributes that allow them to get whatever their hearts desire.

    Each Sunday, my MIL brings a sandwich size ziploc bag to church for my daughter filled with candy and maybe a purse/wallet or some sort of item. Now my daughter NEVER gets to eat all of this candy – maybe a piece or two out of the whole bag, but that’s her thing – or should I say, that’s THEIR thing. I used to feel like – “really does she have to do this every week?” but once my daughter started making a little goodie bag for her (which by the way earned her MORE brownie points than any grandkid in the world) I realized – hey let them have their “thing”. I just monitor it on the back end.

    My mother – God Bless her – simply can’t help herself, neither can my dad nor my aunt. A scooter? complete with pads & helmet? hmmmm…..did she need it? no! but she just wanted it. That’s all that mattered. Shoes that cost as much as mine, well because either she wanted them or my parents wanted to buy them. They go to Cancun & buy these flimsy cancun jackets for 4 little girls (my daughter & 3 nieces) that cost $30 each!!!!!!!! INSANE!

    I love them all & just try to keep my little girl very appreciative, thankful, loving, kind, giving – because we do give a lot of this stuff to kids who may not have a lot.

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