Grandma is a bad influence

Most of us, as parents, slip up and an inappropriate word is said in front of our kids.

Just yesterday, hubby gave me the *wild eyes (which is usually reserved for the kids) when I was playing an online game with my son and I exclaimed, “Dang!” and “Oh crap!


(No, it wasn’t the F bomb – this time!)

Setting proper examples is our job in this parenting gig and we, as parents, often think this example setting umbrella hovers over the grandparents’ interactions with our kids.

Is this a proper expectation of grandparents – to be example setters?

Are we putting too much pressure on grandparents to be parents again?

Why these questions?

Because my kids called me into the family room to watch this segment:

I sure hope that mom wasn’t selling granny out as far as teaching that four-year-old to swear like a pro.

If you find the grandparents setting a poor example for your kids, what should you do? How do you approach them? How do you avoid starting a multigenerational war?

Amy Goyer suggests having the grandchildren be the strong influence and set an example for the grandparents. She says,

Grandparents will stop smoking, swearing or drinking because of grandchildren.  But some grandparents have habits that are so ingrained they aren’t even aware that they affect their grandchildren.

Talk gently with grandparents about the habit or behavior that you feel is a negative influence on the children and explain why you feel it is.

Remember that these habits have usually been around a long time and may be hard to break. Be supportive, not confrontational. Acknowledge first that you know they love their grandchildren and would never do anything intentionally to hurt them, but alert them that you think some of their habits may have unintended consequences for the children. Also remember that you, as parents, have the most influence over your kids. Some idiosyncrasies may be unpleasant, but children will not necessarily pick up the bad habits of their grandparents — or aunts, uncles, cousins or any other family member. My grandfather cussed every other word, but I have never once heard my dad or mom swear. We loved our grandfather and giggled when he swore, but my sisters and I didn’t grow up swearing like he did. My dad and mom had much more influence.

Have you had to talk with the grandparents about being a bad influence (in some area) on your kids?

How did you approach them?

What was the outcome (or fallout)?

*wild eyes = the term my 13-year-old uses to refer to her dad giving THAT look


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