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Grandparent Rights: Coping With Helicopter Parents

“Grandparents who think that voicing their opinion will change the status quo are sadly mistaken.” 

BY SUSAN HOFFMAN – Grandparent Rights Expert

Dear Susan,

My daughter in law is so bossy and controlling she has to micro manage every detail of my relationship with my grandkids. She decides when and where I can see them, what they can eat, what activities they can do, and now what I am allowed to buy them. The children are five and seven years old and are able to express their opinions. I have to admit I do give in to their wants whenever they ask for something.

I never restricted my parents or my husband’s parents from buying my kids things let alone nit -picking every little thing and any indulgence that comes along. After all what are grandparents for, if not to spoil grandchildren?

I have had just about enough and I think it’s time to speak my mind.

Signed, Spoiling Grandma

Dear SG,

I understand your frustration, but please hold off speaking your mind or you may regret it. I say this because it could most likely be your downfall, meaning you could lose complete access to the kids.

Parenting styles have changed and “spoiling” can be a deal-breaker. Parents today are sometimes called “helicopter” parents, meaning they constantly hover above every detail of their children’s lives. They over-function when it comes to parenting and they do not welcome interference from well meaning grandparents.

Grandparents who think that voicing their opinion will change the status quo are sadly mistaken. It will only jeopardize what you have. Parents will not change, only you as grandparents can change by getting on board with their program and doing so without conflict.

Expressing your discontent may make you feel better for a short time, but not in the long term. There are better ways to get those feelings of frustration out of your system. Guidelines are posted on our website and included in our books.

In the meantime, bite your tongue, be patient, and comply with your DIL’s rules when it comes to the kids.

And when you start to feel like you’re ready to lose it just send yourself mantra prompts such as, “Attract bees with honey . . . ”

Are you a helicopter parent? Take a fun quiz to find out.



Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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