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Clashes over parenting choices and enforcing parents' rules can cause major strife between a child's parents and grandparents. Pexels

If your daughter loves to stay at her grandmother’s house because she is treated there like a princess with cookies for breakfast, staying up late and maybe a little more TV, do not fret. According to researchers, for some, clashes over parenting choices and enforcing parents’ rules can cause major strife between a child’s parents and grandparents.

Blame, shame and disagreements between parents and grandparents over parenting choices like discipline, meals and TV time can strain relationships.


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Nearly half of parents described disagreements with one or more grandparents about their parenting, with one in seven going so far as to limit the amount of time their child sees certain grandparents, found the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine.


Among parents who report major or minor disagreements, 40 per cent said grandparents are too soft on the child. Pexels

Disputes most commonly involve discipline (57 per cent), meals (44 per cent), and TV/screen time (36 per cent).

Other thorny subjects were manners, safety and health, bedtime, treating some grandchildren differently than others and sharing photos or information on social media.

“Grandparents play a special role in children’s lives and can be an important resource for parents through support, advice and babysitting. But they may have different ideas about the best way to raise the child and that can cause tension,” says poll co-director Sarah Clark.

“If grandparents contradict or interfere with parenting choices, it can have a serious strain on the relationship”.

Discipline was the biggest source of contention.

Among parents who report major or minor disagreements, 40 per cent said grandparents are too soft on the child, and 14 per cent said grandparents are too tough.

Nearly half of parents said disagreements arise from grandparents being both too lenient and overly harsh.

“Parents may feel that their parental authority is undermined when grandparents are too lenient in allowing children to do things that are against family rules, or when grandparents are too strict in forbidding children to do things that parents have okayed,” Clark said.

Some disagreements may stem from intergenerational differences.

For example, grandparents may insist that “the way we used to do things” is the correct way to parent.

In many cases, parents have tried to get grandparents to be more respectful of their parenting choices and household rules.


Some disagreements may stem from intergenerational differences. Pexels

“Whether grandparents cooperated with a request or not was strongly linked to parents’ description of disagreements as major or minor,” Clark said.

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“The bigger the conflict, the less likely grandparents were to budge”.

Parents who said that grandparentts refused such a request were also more likely to put limits on the amount of time their child spent with them.

The findings indicate that grandparents should strive to understand and comply with parent requests to be more consistent with parenting choices – “not only to support parents in the difficult job of raising children, but to avoid escalating the conflict to the point that they risk losing special time with grandchildren”. (IANS)


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