No mother wants to be that mom that their in-laws think is always trying to be difficult. Whether it's you wanting your baby to abstain from certain foods or just simply opting to not have any company over. It can be really difficult to communicate healthy boundaries with loved ones - especially grandparents.
Knowing how to set boundaries with your child's grandparents is pivotal to the fulfillment of both your needs and the desires of your loved ones. And yes, it is possible to do this without offending them!
The Importance of Boundaries
Boundaries communicate value. When you set a boundary in your life, you're ultimate saying that there are certain priorities and goals that you have and therefore you have put perimeters in place to make sure those things are being accomplished.
So what are some of the things that you value? Maybe you value your children maintaining certain eating habits. Maybe you value spending time with your family past 6:00pm. Maybe you value having a non-toxic home. Whatever you value, you want to make sure that you protect those things, so that your overall well-being will not be affected.
Often times when setting boundaries, other people may be affected unintentionally. However, boundaries are not set to cause offense neither are they set to please other people. They are solely there for yourself and your family. You can not help that some people may be offended by the things that you value.
It is not your job as a mom to please everyone. It's absolutely impossible! And it's also not your responsibility to surrender your peace and values, for the sake of someone else's happiness. There are just some things that you don't have to be sorry for.
You can sometimes feel the pressure of your child's grandparents to raise your child a certain way or even allow them to do certain things, however you have to make sure that those request align with your values.
Grandparents are literally obsessed with their grandchildren - at least my Mom is! They often want to feel like the "hero" in their grandchild's life, which sometimes equates to giving them everything that they desire! Does your child have a grandparent like this?
You may be wondering, "Is it really necessary to communicate the boundary? Can't I just continue on with my life and hopefully they catch on to the standards we have set with our child?" My friend, it is necessary.
It's time to pull up your big girl pants and be a powerful mama. Powerless moms leave people in the dark and are controlled by the fear of disappointing others. Powerful moms don't just let anything fly with their babies, but instead confront behaviors and patterns that may be an issue in the future. Powerful moms understand that their decisions are not built on the foundation of disappointing others, but built on the foundation of maintaining the culture set in their home.
So, in this post I want to give you some ways that you can easily and offense-free set boundaries with the grandparents in your child's life:
1. Estabish the boundary before baby arrives.
This can be as simple as a family dinner or maybe after your baby shower once everyone leaves. Make sure both you and your partner are present. This is pivotal, because this communicates to the grandparents that you both are in this together and it’s not just one person setting the boundary.
This will be the perfect time to let them know what to expect during your labor, after baby arrives, and any other key events you can think of. Doing this will ensure there are no questions once baby arrives and no one is offended when you and your partner decide to spend the first few days to yourselves.
2. Don’t participate or engage.
Setting a boundary can be as simple as not participating in the activity that is present. For example, let’s say you’re at a family gathering where all the children are eating cake. Maybe you’ve decided to raise your child on a paleo diet. To establish the boundary, simply don’t allow your child to have the cake if offered.
This will communicate to the grandparents as well as family members that your child does not eat certain foods. As you continue to do this at family functions, they will begin to understand and may even ask you questions. This is your time to communicate to them your values.
3. Send in your spouse for reinforcement.
Let’s say you’re having an issue with your in-laws. I’ve found that the best solution for this is to not get myself involved, but instead send my husband in to reinforce our standards. It’s way easier for my husband to relate to his own parents and vice versa.
If I’m having the issues with my mom, I’ll address it because of the relationship that we have. This will save you from having an awkward Thanksgiving dinner and feeling like the “daughter in-law that is too demanding”.
Setting boundaries with your child’s grandparents is not as hard and daunting as it may seem. To make things easier for you, I’ve even created a simple cheatsheet with some every day scenarios and also exact wording that you can use to address your child’s grandparents!
I am a huge believer in healthy confrontation/communication and want to make sure you’re fully equipped for those conversations that may seem tough.
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Got questions? Leave a comment and let’s chat!