How to resolving a conflict with my family over the care of our toddler?
January 18, 2009 5:33 PM Subscribe
My parents have been gracious enough to take care of my 19 month old boy in the morning while my wife and I are at work. Turns out, there has been more than a bit of tension brewing and this weekend, it boiled over. There was yelling, accusations tears etc. Help me solve this family dispute please...
posted by pazoozoo to human relations (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife and I both work as elementary school teachers. She works half time in the mornings, during which time, my parents, who are retired have graciously volunteered to take care of our 19 month old boy, their only grandson. They love him very much as one might suspect and generally do a great job taking care of him. They talk to in ways we don't and share experiences with him that we have not. He loves them very much and has established great bond.
Unfortunately, the lines between grandparent (spoil your grandchild with cookies, lots of tv etc), care giver and parent have gotten blurred. When we started this arrangement, we were promised without solicitation, that all of our parenting wishes would be respected.
As time has gone by, that really has been changing. One example might be with our son's use of a security blanket, which are doctor encouraged, but my mother openly discouraged my son to use even though we asked her not to repeatedly. Television time has been another issue. Food still another in that we have tried to provide guidelines about what we would like our son to eat, but have now been called "anal" because we told them we didn't want our toddler eating a hungry man breakfast that was full of preservatives, salt and fat. Another issue still has been his sleep schedule which they at times have refused to follow despite our explicit wishes. We are criticized for changing various things about his care too often, to which we respond, he is a toddler and he is changing every week! Of course his care is going to change!
We would very much like for our son to continue to spend this time with his grandparents, but we also want to make it clear that we are the parents and make the decisions regarding his care, while giving them some "grandparent time" with which to spoil him. We tell them how thankful we are for their love, care and time every time we see them, yet they do not "feel appreciated".
We also want them to feel like grandparents and be able to spoil him a bit but are not sure how to draw the line between caregiver and grandparent. One thought we have had is to simply seek daycare elsewhere and take the caregiver piece out of the equation allowing them to be just grandparents.
How do we talk to them about this without hurting their feelings, and make this work out for all of us?
The other piece of this is that my father was just diagnosed with slow growing prostate cancer, so everyone's emotions are a bit fried anyway.
Thanks for your thoughts.