My house, my rules

How can May reinforce ‘my house, my rules’ when her grandchildren are used to running riot whilst at home? Jo Lamble offers her advice for this tricky situation.

Q. May
My two daughters have very different parenting techniques – Catherine is quite firm, as I was, but Sarah spoils her children and lets them run riot. This wasn’t such a problem until Sarah moved back to Sydney last year, to be closer to Catherine and me. Now both daughters drop their children with me at the same time, and I am having a hard time explaining to Catherine’s children why their cousins are allowed to get away with bad behaviour. They answer back and won’t follow instructions, and I’m not sure how to set limits when they barely know the meaning of the word. Should I talk to my daughter and risk angering her? I don’t want her to move away again, but her children really do need a firmer hand.

There’s no doubt that being a grandparent is not easy at times. Having the responsibility for children who are out of control is terribly difficult. You have every right to insist on certain rules in your house and it’s okay to explain this to both your daughters and to all your grandchildren. I wouldn’t tell Sarah that she needs to take a firmer hand with her children; I’d just explain what you expect when they’re in your care. As for your grandchildren seeing different rules applying to different children, that’s an important life lesson. They will go through their entire childhood and adolescence seeing friends being allowed to do things they’re not. That’s why the ‘my house, my rules’ decree is the only explanation needed.

Jo Lamble

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