Parenting is a hard job, point blank period. However, that job is only intensified when you are a single parent. As a single parent, I have to know when it’s time to play good cop, bad cop, and in the middle cop. Then there are the times when I have to rely on my village for support, especially when it comes to upholding the structure and discipline needed to make sure my son is learning how to be the best person he can possibly be. That village however, in this case my mom, sometimes oversteps parenting boundaries.
Recently, my son came home from school and took twenty minutes evading the answers to my questions of why he was requesting to be woken up earlier than usual. After a tiresome game of “uh,” the truth was revealed. He didn’t finish his work because he was busy bumping his gums in class. I’m not shocked because he’s been a talker since he could babble. I tell him all the time to finish his work first then talk.
Now during this ordeal, I was trying to cook dinner and get down to the truth. My mother interjects and tells him he needs to answer the questions. I put my hand up to silence her because I had this under control, no assist needed. After I finally got the complete story from him and handed up a verbal reprimand and made him do the spelling assignment he didn’t finish. I hear that my mother threatens to spank him if he didn’t get his life in order. Yet again, who asked for the assist I had already taken it to the hole and scored.
Ever since my son made his way into this world, my mother has been the dotting fun grandma. Even as a mother she wasn’t much of a disciplinarian. I think even with my son she may have, and that’s a big may, spanked him once in his almost nine years of life. So, there is no need for her to start now. Thus leading us to have a boundaries conversation.
Here are the three reasons grandparent boundaries are necessary:
1. It’s important that my son understands that I have the final say in all things pertaining to him. Does that mean he doesn’t have to respect other adults when he’s in their care? No. Listening to what I say is his first priority and will not cause him to undermine my authority as his mom. Also, it helps my mother avoid potential conflict between her and me.
2. When my mother jumps in to add her two cents, I know it’s not coming from a malicious place. But, it undermines my authority in the situation. It confuses him because now he doesn’t know who to listen to. He doesn’t know what level of trouble he’s in because I’m giving a verbal warning and she’s talking about a spanking.
3. Jumping on team punisher doesn’t help, because not only has she been a mediator for understanding between us, but his confidant. There have been times when he won’t share things with me but grandma is his buddy, old pal and has him opening up like a flower in bloom. Every child needs to have that person in their life, my grandmother was surely that for me growing up. That helps mainly when there are serious issues needing to be discussed. He needs that more now than ever because he is a growing boy.
Boundaries are essential for any relationship and parenting is no different. If you set boundaries at the very beginning there will be less tension, confusion, and resentment to deal with later.
What are some ways you’ve had to set boundaries between yourself and a grandparent?