You know what they say, “The first year of a child’s life is the most important.” Whether you are a new mom or not, that statement rings true.
No matter how much we try to shield our kids from all the negativity in this world, it still seeps through to them.
One way to help your children deal with criticism is by teaching them five courses of winning their battle against it. These five tips will help protect your children and give them self-confidence!
Assume the Best
If you’re a parent who feels like the grandparents have been stepping on your toes, start by trying to assume that they have the best intentions. Like all of us, they might make mistakes or be unaware of boundaries they’re crossing.
Perhaps they feel unsure of what you want or don’t want from them. Let them know how they can be helpful to you. Help them feel included, influential, and needed.
The number one rule of thumb for grandparents is, above all, don’t criticize. No one likes to feel judged or blamed; most of us become defensive and angry when attacked, and then we shut down.
Think of it this way—who wants to be near someone who is constantly judging them? Instead of criticism, ask how you can be helpful. Focusing on the positive will do wonders for your relationship.
When a Boundary Has Been Crossed
Let grandparents know when they have stepped over a line you’re uncomfortable with, such as giving you unsolicited parenting advice.
You can say, “I appreciate your expertise. I will definitely ask you if I need help.” Or “I know you may see it differently, but I’d appreciate you following the way I do it on this one.”
Please give them a role, so they feel they have a way to contribute. Invite them to your parenting classes or pediatrician if they’re having difficulty understanding how parenting and medical advice have changed.
That way, they can ask questions and learn good ways to support you. This can solve a problem rather than lead to animosity between generations.
If a grandparent says something to the grandkids like, “Your parents don’t know what they’re doing,” or “I would never do it this way,” or to the parents, “C’mon, give them a break, you’re too strict with them,” they’re stepping over a boundary.
If they’re openly saying to the parent, “I think you should do it differently,” or “This is how I would do it,” without being asked, they are also showing a lack of respect for your rules and ideas. That’s when you have to make sure, as a parent, that you are clearly stating your boundaries.
A phrase or slogan you could say to a grandparent when they’re undermining you might be, “I appreciate your concern or your worry.
I’m comfortable with the way I’m doing it.” And the slogan you can say to yourself is, “This is about them, not about me.”
Unless Asked, Don’t Tell
Unsolicited advice is rarely welcome, and if it’s coming from one’s parents or in-laws, it will most likely be heard as criticism.
If you respect that boundary, you will probably be asked for your opinion, where you will be free to express your advice and wisdom—you will then have more of a chance to have some influence.
If you have a big concern that you feel can’t or shouldn’t be ignored, ask permission, speak to the proper person (it’s probably best to talk to your child), and don’t do it in front of the grandchildren.
Use your tact and timing. Above all, never side with one parent or the other. Stay neutral and be careful not to talk badly about the other parent through gossip, commiserating, or to complain about one to the other, no matter how tempting.
Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle.
Don’t let your grandkids put you in the Middle when they complain to you about their parents. They might tell you that their parents won’t buy them what they want or how they won’t let them have a sleepover.
Just respond with empathy, but don’t take sides or down-talk the parents. This will only lead to trouble.
In 5 Powerful Ways of Winning the Battle of Criticism as a New Mom, you will learn to deal with criticism from grandparents.
This article is for all new parents or anyone who has ever had to face this situation and wants to know what they can do about it. You mustn’t get stuck in the middle and learn how to deal with criticism from grandparents.
Support Your Mate
Support your mate when it comes to parenting. You might have to tell your parents to back off a bit and that they are intruding.
While it’s essential to get this point across, be sure never to make them feel like a burden. Communicate boundaries, but find ways to make grandparents also feel respected, honored, and wanted.
Let’s say your husband doesn’t want your parents to overstay their welcome when they visit. While this is his issue, he also has to support you in having good contact with your parents.
Both of you can decide what the boundaries are for you as a couple. Clear up your issues together first; make sure you’re not working this out before the grandparents or making them uncomfortable. Then communicate what you need or expect.
Define Yourself and Your Role
Be transparent, honest and thoughtful about what you will and won’t do as a grandparent. Some grandparents feel they have already done raising kids and don’t want to be called to babysit or be at every event.
Others long for the invitation. Know what you are willing to do and not do and make this very clear. Communicating honestly will prevent complicated feelings down the road.
If you live close by, are you willing to be called to pick up or drop off kids, babysit, called at the last minute, watch sports events? How often? Being clear about your role is better for everyone involved.
Parents, if the role that you’ve played all your life in your family is no longer working, change it. Don’t spill your unresolved issues onto the next generation; work out the differences still affecting you.
Recognize that it might be your insecurity as a parent causing you to hear helpful advice or suggestions from the grandparents as criticism.
If necessary, guide them to better ways of making suggestions that won’t leave you feeling undermined or criticized.
Stay in Your Box
Grandparents, make sure that by being helpful, you aren’t intrusive. Being a grandparent is such a joy, and it’s your chance to love your grandchildren and be the wise sage, the guide, and the teacher.
Your goal is to be loving and supportive, not critical or overly judgmental. This will be best for you and your children. Not only that, but you will be the joyful presence they will want to have around.
Be sure to fill your life with your many interests and goals beyond just being a grandparent. When you do this, you take responsibility for completing your life so your kids or grandkids won’t feel they must do that for you.
Try and let go of expectations of how you want things to go or how you think things should go. Instead, take joy in how things are going.
Don’t let expectations get in the way of enjoying and appreciating what is. If you think your daughter-in-law should be inviting you over more, rather than getting hung up on that, enjoy the events you go to. Always keep the communication open to working out differences.
Trust Your Kids to Parent Their Kids
Trust them even if you disagree with what the parents are doing (as long as there are no health or safety concerns).
Remember that you are not the parent; you are the grandparent. Getting in the Middle of how your child and their mate are raising their kids will only cause problems.
Keep in mind that the world has changed, and what worked years ago for you may not work very well now. If it helps, take some parenting classes or speak to a pediatrician to get some firsthand information.
Keep in mind that as a grandparent, even if you disagree, you have to go along with the rules. With medical or safety issues, in particular, you need to defer to the parent.
You can be curious, ask questions and respectfully talk about the subject. But your role is not to parent the child anymore—it’s to be the grandparent. Know where you end, and they begin. Respect the boundaries and roles.
Love the grandkids unconditionally and be helpful to the parents rather than make things harder for them. And be compassionate with yourself when you mess up. No one’s perfect—not even Grandma!
Powerful Ways of Winning the Battle of Criticism as a New Mom
The 5 Ways to Win The Battle of Criticism is to be honest about what you are willing and not willing to do, stay in your box, trust your kids to parent their children, love unconditionally. Be compassionate with yourself when you mess up. No one’s perfect-even Grandma!