Dear Grandparents, Please Leave The Parenting To Me

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Dear Grandparents,

I greatly respect your role as grandparents. I appreciate your interest and desire to spend time with your grandchildren. I will not stand in the way of your special relationship with my kids and will, in fact, do what I can to encourage it.

You are welcome to visit, call, email, send packages of stuff they don’t need, and give them ice cream before dinner. It is your well-deserved privilege to spoil my kids and then leave the resulting mess for me to clean up. All of this is OK.

What is not OK? When you parent or tell me how to parent my children. You had your chance—your turn on the dance floor. It’s my turn now. Your son and I decide what is important for our family—the values and ideals we hold dear and how we want our children to move through the world. What goes on in our house is up to us.

When you cross over our threshold, please step in if someone is about to fall off the roof, is throwing sharp darts at another’s head, runs around the kitchen with a knife, or attempts to stick their sibling in the oven. Barring such emergencies, back off. What they eat, how they eat, what the say, what time they go to bed and the clothes they wear, fall under my jurisdiction. Rest assured if they lack manners, talk back or misbehave, I will deal with it. You might not be privy to the disciplinary action taken, but rest assured, it will be handled.

You do not need to mention how seldom they call or the length of time it takes for you to receive a thank you note. If you want a hug or kiss, give them a hug or kiss. Do not play mind games and try to guilt them into it. Guilt is never yours to dispense to my children.

Your job is simple and wonderful: Shower your grandchildren with love. Make them feel special. Let them see your eyes light up when they enter a room. Cherish your time together, knowing that the hard part, the growing, learning, rearing, disciplining, heartache and heartbreak are mine to contend with.

Leave the parenting to the parents.

Much appreciated,

Your grandkids’ mother