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Handling Unsolicited Advice from Grandparents

Handling Unsolicited Advice from Grandparents

I’m very close with my family. My husband and I bought a house less than 20 minutes away from the house I grew up in and we see my immediate family at least once every week. When I was pregnant I was so excited that my parents would get to be such a big part of Liam’s daily life, as my grandparents were during my childhood. While this closeness really has been wonderful, it’s also created some issues I wasn’t prepared for, the biggest of which is dealing with unsolicited grandparent advice. It seems for every issue (or perceived issue) we have with Liam there is a healthy dose of grandparent advice coupled with a skepticism on what today’s experts advise.

Liam isn’t sleeping through the night? According to Grandma, we should have been giving him rice cereal before bed from a very early age. Liam has a cold? Why aren’t we giving him bottles of water, that always worked. Liam’s not supposed to watch TV? Apparently we all watched TV and we turned out fine.

My problem is that I really do value the wisdom of parenting experience my parents bring to the table (as my brother would say, when it comes to their parenting, the results speak for themselves), but I also want to feel that they respect the parenting decisions we make even if they don’t necessarily agree with them. At the same time, when we make a parenting choice that differs from what they advise I don’t want them to take it as a personal affront and rejection of their way of doing things. As I’ve told my parents before, we’re just trying to do the best we can for Liam with the information we have.

Does anyone have any advice on dealing with grandparent advice?



  1. News Mom January 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I don’t have this issue so much with my mom, but I see it constantly with my sister-in-law, now that she’s a grandmother. Her daughter clearly values her help and sometimes her advice, but also often struggles with what seems to be her mother’s dated guidance at times. In the end, your parents know the same thing about you as your brother said of them, “the results speak for themselves.” Presuming they love Liam and think he’s wonderful, I think it’s safe to assume that they give you credit and think you’re a wonderful mom, even if you don’t always take their advice.

  2. Profile photo of MomtoMom

    MomtoMom January 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks News Mom.

    This eFamily News article also has some great advice for parents and grandparents.

  3. GreenMom January 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

    My kids are almost 3 and 5 and we still struggle sometimes with their grandparents understanding our choices for them. We primarily have to discuss our food choices and help them understand why we eat organic/all natural and why we don’t want our kids to snack all day just because it’s there (especially on processed food or cupcakes). It’s all out of love for their grandchildren, but as parents we make choices for a reason and it’s not because we don’t love our kids. It’s because we do that we make those choices and all we can do is help OUR parents understand and respect that.

  4. Ruth January 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    When I was a Mom (rather than a Grandma) my parents always used to tell me what a good Mom I was. Those comments gave me such a feeling of confidence about my parenting. I try to do the same for my kids now. Turns out that sometimes as a Grandma you should bite your tongue if you want your children to be successful.

  5. S Bowe February 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    This article rings so true for myself! I recently had a conversation with my mom where about 75% of the conversation was criticism from her about how we parent our 10 month old son. Since he was born, I’ve felt a definite change to our dynamic and it’s sad. We also sometimes struggle with my mother in law. She wants to feed our son things we are not okay with. So far we’ve brushed it off but it can be stressful. We are just trying to remind them there is more than one way to raise a child and we’re just trying to do our best.

  6. AmandaJ March 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I struggle with this from my mother in law. While I know she generally intends well, I face daily critique of my choices of day care vs. staying home, the food my boys eat, when I should have started cerearl, hiring a babysitter so my husband and I can go out once in a while, discipline, and the list goes on. I still get aggravated once in a while, but I have simply started responding with a “Thanks, I’ll take your advice under consideration”. It is pointless to argue as I’m the only one that ends up frustrated. Everyone has an opinion on how you should do it and some are actually good! Keep listening and just pick the ones that work for your family.

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