Having your in-laws so close at hand as you raise your kids can be a blessing and a challenge. On the one hand, they can be a big help in rearing your kids. They can also be your eyes and ears while you are at work so you can feel secure that the Yayas and caregivers are really doing their jobs. The challenging part is that they can unintentionally encumber the way you want to raise your child. A common trait is their greater tendency to give in to their grandchildren’s wants and spoil them. This can put some strain on your relationship with them and misunderstandings may ensue because of differences in views and disciplining styles. In the end, it will be the kids that will end up confused and conflicted.
Here are some points to remember so that raising your kids with your in-laws does not end up becoming a battle of wills but an enriching experience not only for the kids but also for you:
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Be a husband-and-wife team
It all begins with you as a team. You and your spouse must be on the same page in terms of how you want your children to be raised and disciplined. Have a firm idea of the roles of each member of the family, especially your in-laws. Discuss these roles, as well as the rules you have set. Have your in-laws understand where you stand so as to prevent any disagreements in presenting a united front to the child. Having this united front will not only prevent any hurt feelings or misunderstandings, but more importantly, would give your kids the benefit of consistency in disciplining and child rearing.
Be realistic about your expectations on how your in-laws can help in child rearing and disciplining, and be open to their suggestions. Keep in mind that they just want what is best for you and your kids. Give your in-laws allowances for being the more indulgent party with your kids. So long as their style doesn’t go against your rules, cut them some slack and let your kids and your in-laws enjoy each other. Be gracious and thankful for their desire to help.
Be crystal-clear about the bottom line
Keep your cool when misunderstandings and conflicts do arise. It does no one any good to have you and your in-laws fight. When tempers flare, try to relax and find a good venue for you as a team and your in-laws to discuss any hurts or misgivings. Blaming and shaming should never be done, especially in front of the kids. Being able to sort through your differences well can deepen and strengthen your relationships with your in-laws. Let them know politely that though their comments and suggestions are appreciated, the bottom line is this-- it is your responsibility as parents to make the final decisions about how you want your kids to be brought up.