"Hey, got any advice for dealing with my mother-in-law? We (my wife and I) tell our son one thing and she tells him another. Might make an interesting blog post." – Mike, via Facebook
I'll turn to the experts on this one. I've never had to deal with this all too common uncomfortable relationship. I'm blessed with a devoted dad and strong, considerate in-laws.
So I turned to Professor Google and cobbled together six tips for dealing with overbearing grandparents.
• From DrHeller.com, an article entitled "When Grandparents Present a Challenge."
One of the first stages of creating a strong marriage requires the couple to form a stronger bond between them than the bond that already exists between a spouse and his/her parents.
• From Parenting.com, an article entitled "Grandparents Who are Just Too Much."
The solutions might be obvious, but easier to talk about than to actually enact: having conversations with the grandparents and setting limits, explaining parenting philosophies, setting schedules, spending limits, etc. all in an attempt to get an over-the-top grandparent under control.
• From BabyCherish.com, an article entitled "How to Deal With Intrusive Grandparents When You Have a Baby."
The first thing you must do is develop a very strong backbone. The grandparents may not be thrilled with the new rules you are about to establish, but you must stick to your guns.
You and your spouse must sit down and decide on an acceptable schedule and frequency of visiting. You must make a unified decision, or it will just lead to hard feelings between the two of you. The new rules must be applied to all grandparents, not just the ones you think are being intrusive.
• From ezinearticles.com, an article (also) entitled "How to Deal with Intrusive Grandparents When You Have a Baby."
Sit them down, tell them how you feel. Let them know you are the parent and you will be the care giver. If you need to, take your child in another room when you feel they are trying to take over, or you can also say, "Thanks, but I got it."
• From EssentialBaby.com, an article entitled, "Whose Baby is it Anyway? Dealing With Intrusive In-Laws."
Behave as an adult on an equal level with your in-laws. Your in-laws are not superior to you, so don't behave as if they are. The next time they give unwanted advice, say, "Thanks for your advice, but I've decided to do it this way instead" or "I guess we'll have to agree to disagree." Their opinions are just that... opinions, not fact.
• From ParentingTeensOnline.com, an article entitled, "Teens and Grandparents."
If grandparents are behaving badly – meddling, too permissive, or too critical – it's best for you to deal with them when your teens aren't around. Try to enlist the grandparent in "helping" to boost your child's self-confidence. You might say, "I was hoping you could ask to read one of Susan's essays. Her English grades are so good, and while trigonometry is still a struggle for her, we know how much she enjoys sharing her short stories with you."