Magazine article Work & Family Life

Whose Rules to Follow at Grandparents' House?

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Whose Rules to Follow at Grandparents' House?

Article excerpt

My parents are great with our kids but we don't always agree on childrearing issues. Is it unrealistic to expect grandparents to follow parents' rules when our children, who are 4 and 7, spend time at their house this summer?

-C.H., Houston

Parents and grandparents seem to disagree most around areas of safety, discipline, food and manners. To start with, parents should certainly go over swimming, biking and seatbelt rules. They should also review Consumer Product Safety guidelines to make sure the house is fully childproofed for kids of any age. This is important because a third of childhood poisonings take place in the homes of grandparents.

While it may be fair to expect grandparents to abide by your overall approach to eating, it's probably best to let grandparents do their own thing. It's great if they introduce children to different, even exotic foods that you don't serve at home or take them to restaurants where they will try new things.

If you're lucky, grandparents will also reinforce your attempts at teaching table manners, but in a relaxed and fun way.

There's no harm in having different expectations in different households. Children just need to know the ground rules. Some grandparents don't allow feet on the furniture or leaving the dinner table without permission. …

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