Q: My in-laws keep giving my kids wads of cash regularly, who then run out and buy junk food. How do I handle this sensitively?
A: You have three choices:
1. Speak directly to your in-laws (or get your spouse to) and say that it might be a better idea for them to put the money into a piggy bank or bank account for the child.
2. Tell the children that it is wonderful that their grandparents are giving them the money, but they must use it wisely, so, they can buy a tiny amount of junk food and put the rest towards a coveted toy.
3. Throw up your hands in defeat because “that’s what grandparents are for!”.
Q: As a child, I was caned when I was disrespectful. How do I explain to my parents that I want my children to express themselves without fear of punishment?
A: This is a common problem for many families. The older generation has different ideas on what constituted discipline and the right way to bring up children. Be aware that your parents may feel that your approach is telling them indirectly that you think they did a bad job. Explain to your parents that today’s generation of children is growing up in a very different world. Therefore, how we guide and manage them will also have to be different, even though we are aiming to impart the same important morals and values we ourselves learnt when we were young.
Q: My son is mildly autistic and getting help. My in-laws think he is just fine and that I should “let him be”.
A: Many grandparents find it hard to accept if there is a problem with their grandchildren, especially in the area of learning challenges. In the past, much of this was swept under the carpet, it’s only in the past few decades that parents are much more comfortable knowing that these challenges will be lessened if their children get support early. Explain that the additional support he gets can’t do any harm and will enable your son to cope better, and ultimately, be happier. Everyone will usually agree that it is a good idea to do what we can to minimize any difficulties the child faces.
Help for you
Websites for parents who need more information on the nurturing role of grandparents.