It's hard being a parent, especially if your parents are trying to parent your kids too. When this father is fed up with how involved his parents are getting with his children, he takes to the popular Reddit forum to ask:
My parents were very excited about my having kids, and I’ve always loved and appreciated that. I come from a culture of very close family.
They often ask if they can watch the kids for the day or have them come over or whatever else. It’s great for me, I have some bonus time to myself, and they get to see the grandkids.
The problem is, as the kids got older (they’re currently 4 and 7), it became clear my parents wanted to take a much more active role in raising them than my wife and I were comfortable with.
For example they’d enroll them in activities without checking with our schedule first or teach them pretty high levels morals and values (not just share “hey here’s what we believe,” but state “here’s what’s right here’s what’s wrong”) before checking with us first because they assumed we’d be in agreement.
So eventually my wife and I sat them down and explained where the boundaries were and what was acceptable and we all agreed and it was fine.
That was about six months ago. One of the stipulations we made in our discussion was that they can’t discipline the kids.
For many reasons, not least of which was logistics. If they decide our kids are grounded for a weekend without consulting us, it might muck up plans we had as a family, it might not be the consequence we’d choose for the given situation, and if we don’t enforce it it’s confusing for the child.
I recently reminded them it’s not acceptance to discipline the kids beyond telling them not to do something unacceptable and calling us if it continues (we’re never unreachable when the kids aren’t with us.)
My parents were really hurt by this and said they don’t understand why I don’t trust their parenting skills and they feel judged and these kids are their family so I shouldn’t be restricting them like strangers.
In all that what I didn’t hear was, “Sure son, we understand, we’ll stop right away.” So I told them if it continued the kids couldn’t come over unsupervised anymore until it was resolved.
This got them really riled up and we soon ended up parting ways. Now I’m feeling pretty asshole-ish because they only had good intentions and I worry I’m raining on their grandparent parade.
My wife says if it upset them that much that she could relax her standard a bit, but I don’t feel comfortable asking her to do that just because my parents wouldn’t accept our boundary (plus, I’m still not comfortable.) I’m quite conflicted. AITA?
They might not like the boundaries you set, they might not understand them, but if they don’t follow them there will be consequences. Until they have experienced those consequences they will keep breaking boundaries and crossing lines. If they want to keep seeing their grandkids, then they need to be more respectful of you and your wife. End of discussion. NTA.
Ehhhhh. YTA. Family dynamics are tricky. Establishing boundaries is tricky. But your parents are providing you with a lot of free childcare, and it's probably hard for them to watch the kids if they aren't able to discipline them beyond 'hey, don't do that. Now let me call your parents and see if I can punish you.'
That takes away all authority that they have in the eyes of your kids. You and your parents would benefit from a series of pre-determined consequences when it comes to punishing the children.
NTA. So I think this is a generational shift a lot of millennials are going through. My parents let their parents do things they didn’t agree with when we were kids (using racial slurs around us, etc) and said you need to respect your parents you don’t tell them what to do.
I fundamentally disagree with this, parents are no different than any person in my life, if they don’t show me respect I won’t show it in return. If your parents won’t respect you by following your rules, I’d treat them exactly how you would any other person in your life doing exactly the same thing.