- Don't judge. Even if you disagree with your parents about absolutely everything, it's pointless now to criticize the way they parented you. They may not have had access to the same information or support system that you have. Emphasize that your methods do not reflect a judgment upon them. Rather, you are doing what is right for you and your family in your particular situation.
- Draw clear expectations. Sometimes parents cross boundaries with our child because they are unsure where the boundaries lie. Communicate with your parents and let them know exactly where you stand. Establish clear roles, both for yourself and for them. Don't be afraid to stand your ground to defend the best interests of your child.
- Stay well-informed. Read all that you can about your parenting choices: books, magazines, scholarly articles, etc. Ultimately, you must only answer to yourself and your child for your decisions. Still, when your parents challenge you, you may wish to defend your position. Every bit of information you can bring helps your case. Ideally, your parents might be convinced to re-evaluate their beliefs. If not, at least they will have a better understanding of your perspective.
- Be understanding. Even if they understand your expectations, your parents may not apply them perfectly. If you do not believe in praising your child and they occasionally utter a "good job," cut them some slack. As a parent yourself, you no doubt understand that transitions are difficult. Imagine how difficult it must be to adapt to the changing needs of an adult child who is a parent herself!
- Know when to walk away. This doesn't necessarily mean you should stop visiting your parents. It may suffice to avoid certain topics of conversation (e.g. discipline) that cause strife. There is no harm in disagreeing. However, if your parents insist upon treating you or your child with disrespect, you may want to re-evaluate the amount of time you spend with them. As important as it is for children to have a relationship with their grandparents, it is even more important to surround them with positive, uplifting people.
Many of us place the parent-child relationship at the center of our philosophy. Everything we do revolves around building a strong bond with our children. Sometimes we forget that we are involved in another very important relationship with our own parents. It can be complicated, but when properly nurtured, this relationship benefits our parents, ourselves, our children and generations to come.
-Connected Mom, Mandi