Two years ago, I addressed the concern of many crunchy parents on what to do when the grandparents do not see eye to eye with them. I’ve had many many parents ask me how to deal with this issue and therefore I felt it needed a blog post. I was not surprised when I heard back from so many of you telling me that it was just what you needed.
However, I’ve also been asked to do a post FOR the grandparents. I’ve heard from grandparents wanting to hear suggestions on how to handle things when their children are the ones going crunchy but they just don’t understand it. It’s a valid concern and although I know most of my readers are probably crunchy themselves (or on the way there) there are still quite a few of you who simply follow my blog for the sake of understanding why your children are making these choices.
First off, let me just say that I am quite thrilled that you want to be such a part of your kids’ lives that you would read a blog which perhaps you do not agree with. I think that shows that you truly care about your children and grandchildren.
On the chance, that you did not find this blog post on your own but instead your crunchy child decided to share it with you… I’m just going to assume that they did this because they love you and want to have a better relationship with you and this post says what they’ve been wanting to say… again, I’m just assuming.
How can you support your children despite not agreeing with their parenting style?
Actually take interest in why your child is practicing a particular parenting style or lifestyle. I think it goes without saying that when someone feels strongly about a particular event, activities, or choice your interest in it will show that person how much you care about them. Taking the time to research into why your children are making the choices they do will give you better insight and it will go a lot further then you just repeating what you’ve heard others say.
Respect Their Decision
Whether you agree with it or not, it is their decision that they have made (probably with lots of research and consideration). You are now a grandparent and unfortunately for you, that means that you will need to relinquish your right to be in charge. Your children are now the ones who get to make the rules on how their kids are to be raised. Like it or not, that is the way life goes. It was the same with you when you had kids and your parents disagreed with your style. It will be the same for your kids when they have grandkids of their own.
Go Along With Their Rules
Realize that if you ignore or continually go against the parents’ wishes that you might be causing a greater issue that may not be easily fixed. Doing something as simple as respecting and going along with your children’s parenting choice is a small task when compared to potentially causing a rift in the family.
Don’t Complain About Their Spouse
Recognize that your child and their spouse are now one and the same. Believing that only one of them is the “crunchy” one is not correct (usually) and you need to realize that venting to your child about their spouse is not all right. Odds are that the natural lifestyle was a joint decision between the two parents.
Realize That Times Have Changed
When you were a parent, parenting styles were different than your parents’ style and so it is with you are your children. I think it’s wise to be open to the idea that perhaps the way you would do things might be not recommended now. This really goes for anyone. Times change and they change fast! This is as true for grandparents as it is for parents, please do not think I’m just suggesting that only grandparents can be the ones who are “wrong”. Even parents today can go from having the “right” parenting method to the “wrong” one in an instant. I remember hearing how my mother was given different advice with each child (she had four) on sleeping positions. In just the span of 8 years, she heard to put babies on their tummy, their side, propped up, and finally on their back. My mother didn’t even have to wait for a generation change for parenting styles to become “wrong”.
You Still Have Spoiling Privileges
Remember that just because your children have rules for their kids does not mean that you can’t spoil (or love) your grandkids. You might not be able to spoil the grandkids like you had originally planned but that does not mean that the new method will be any less loving for your grandkids (or their parents). It’s not that the parents want to restrict you, they simply want consistency in their child’s life. Most parents will still allow spoiling, just spoiling within reason. You need to remember that your children are the ones who see your grandkids every day and know what the grandkids are going through, working on, and having problems with. Usually parents set grandparent boundaries not for the grandparent’s sake but for the well being of their children. It can be hard not to be offended but you need to remember that ultimately this is for the benefit of your grandchildren and let’s be honest; every grandparent wants what is best for their grandkids.
Believe and Trust Your Children
When they tell you that they would rather your grandchild not do this or have that, believe them when they say that it’s not to hurt you or to suggest that you are a bad parent but rather to better help their child stay healthy, grow in character, etc. Crunchy parents do a lot of research. They spend hours upon hours reading books, articles, posts, and more. The changes they decide to make are in their families best interest and they are just trying to let you in on their changes.
As I mentioned before, I’m thrilled if you are a parent who is seeking to find ways to love your crunchy children. I hope my tips have been helpful. I have a few more that I will share with you soon.