Grandparents mean well but there are times you have to literally bite your tongue to stop yourself from correcting them. Have you got one of those Grannies in your life?
Don’t you look pretty today darling…your hair is getting so long. Its just like mine when I was a girl.
Though I’ve tried to talk to her about it, my mother-in-law can’t seem to understand that there is more to compliment her granddaughter on than just her looks. Even when I point it out and tell her that she manages to compliment her grandson on more than what he is wearing and how pretty his eyes are she just doesn’t get it.
She tells me she is just being nice and that thats what grannies do. Its one of those times you just have to suck it up and hope you can shower your child in enough messages that you wish to convey that all of granny’s blather gets lost in the mix.
We all have things we just wish our children’s grandparents would stop saying, things we wish we could confront them about, but we don't we hold back hoping they will just wake up just STOP already.
1. Stop telling my children they are “good eaters” or that they “did well” when they are eating.
Sure you mean well but when you say it after they finish a bowl of ice-cream or a slice of birthday cake it is setting up strange expectations and ideas about food.
Food is fuel, there is no need to praise them either when they eat a plate of fish and chips or a salad and pasta, they didn’t “do well” they simply ate. Conversely if they don't eat just leave it to their parents to deal with we know what they've eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and whether its enough. We don't need extra input.
Oh, and telling them they “certainly like their tucker” is a recipe for establishing issues about food.
2. Stop calling them the name you wish they had.
A friend's mother-in-law insists on calling her grandson by his middle name because it’s the name of her late husband. She refuses to call him Ollie instead calling him Little Frankie. Despite her own son asking her to call the little boy by his first name she refuses, saying you should have called him Frank, that’s what he was meant to be named.
No, he was meant to be named what his parents named him.
3. Stop telling them their skin is a “lovely colour.”
Have you been living under a rock and missed the messages about wearing sunscreen and skin cancer?
No, they don’t have “great suntan” that’s just their skin tone and if they did get a “touch of colour" when they didn’t wear enough sunscreen its certainly not something to be praised.
Tell ‘em to slip, slop and slap, not that they look good.
4. Stop telling them how much they look like mummy or daddy or Great Aunt Ethel, they look like themselves.
Enough of the continual comparisons to just how much they look like your side of the family.
They might not want to look like your side of the family, they might wish to look like exactly who they do look like - themselves.
Its almost like you are trying to reassure yourself that some of your genes are actually in there.
5. Stop telling my daughters how pretty they are and my son that he is sporty.
Don’t comment on her eyes or how long her lashes are, don’t tell her she is beautiful each time you see her.
Focus on something else.
Have you seen her kick a ball? No because you are too busy combing her hair and putting ribbons in it.
Have you heard about her favourite book? Have you asked about her basketball try-outs?
The same goes for your grandson. He is more than sporty and strong, he is more than tall and fast.
Stop the gender stereotypes.
Tell Grandma to make these for your kids.. Mmm. Mango smoothie and icy poles.
6. Stop talking about what your granddaughter is wearing.
It’s a skirt and a top and she is wearing it because the t-shirt covers the sun from her shoulder and the skirt is comfortable.
Nothing more. If she wants to get pleasure from clothes when she is older then that’s her choice, but just let her be a kid right now. She's not a doll.
7. Stop telling my kids you would give it to them but “mummy doesn’t approve.”
Granny would buy you an ice-cream but mummy wouldn't like it. Nanna would buy you an X-Box sweetie but Daddy says no.
Give it a rest. This just undermines us as parents, and that's really unfair.
8. Stop asking if you are the favourite Grandma.
You know I love you the best don’t you? I’m your favourite Granny aren’t I?
Playing off one grandparent against another is never going to win you any awards.
9. Stop making your own rules.
"When you're in my house, you can do anything you want."
No, our rules still stand. That’s why we are the parents and you are the grandparents.
What would you like to ask your children's grandparents to stop doing or saying?