Grandparents have conflicting styles of discipline

My kids' grandparents (both sides) are on opposite extremes as far as discipline. My in-laws let my kids do whatever they want, and my parents hardly let them do anything, and tell them no all the time. Growing up with my parents was difficult, as they were extremely strict. My husband doesn't recall any set "rules", but was always well behaved. Won't these two very different styles of discipline confuse my kids, ages 21 months and six months?


It can certainly be difficult to ask children to behave in an extremely different fashion for each set of grandparents. But, it is easier than you would think for them to adapt to different styles of discipline. As long as YOU stay the same, and enforce your basic rules, your children will do fine.

If you see either set of grandparents disciplining in a way that you feel is hurtful to your children, you need to step in and say something. You don't have to criticize the general discipline, but you should definitely make a specific comment. For example: "We allow our children to put their fingers in their mouths, Mom. Please don't stop them from doing it." Take a stand on only the most important issues, and, hopefully, they will accede to your wishes on these issues. Remember that you are not going to change either set of parents at this late date. All you can do is help them to see that you have your own style of parenting. In the best case scenario, you can enlist them in helping you to do things your way.

When your children get older, they may tell their grandparents which style they appreciate more. That may be the most effective way to modify any grandparent's behavior.

Need Advice?
Get answers from iVillage experts and other moms just like you!
Question Details
  1. Pick a subject:
Connect with 1,039,394 members just like you
Share your knowledge, ask questions.