48 answers

Why Do Grandparents Do What They Want to Do with the Kids?

This is meant to be a lightehearted topic. Not about lack of parenting skills/respect. Just a question about why granparents do what they do. Grandparents includes Nana and Papa, not just grandmothers.

So my daughter is in sippy cup training and making progress week #2. Yaaaayyyy.

My mom watched her for me and I sent three different cups and told her to just leave them out b/c the baby will pick one up when she's ready to drink.

So when I returned, the cups were empty and clean and I said she finished three cups of water/milk/juice??? She looked at me like I had three heads and should've known better to ask. Her response. "No, I went to the store and bought her three bottles."

I almost fainted. Then she said she's still a baby and picked her up and said to my daughter isn't that right sweetie. My daughter smiled and I wanted to snatch her and run!

I'll admit, I did manage to laugh it off while driving home but I vowed she won't return until she hates the bottle. LOL!!!

Arrrggghhh why do grandparents do what they want to do when they are asked nicely and told why not to do something where the kids are concerned? Why???

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Two words: Parental Amnesia. They don't remember the struggles they went through with their own kids.

6 moms found this helpful

My mom did the same stuff. I would bring baby food over for my daughter, (she was 8 months) and strictly told my mom that she eats what I packed for her and nothing else. When I get back, my mom informed me that she made my daughter some yummy oatmeal with honey. Really? Because babies arent supposed to have HONEY!!!!!! Omg! I was livid! After that fight she got a little better.

2 moms found this helpful

Typically it is a combination of things...they feel they have raised their kids ok and know what to do, they feel they are more experienced, they are the grandparents and get to spoil the grandkids, and the rules don't apply to them. They struggle with the concept that they are grandparents, not the parents and the parents word is the final say.

I get what the others have said about it not being a big deal...this one instance is not a big deal but it does suggest a lack of respecting the parents wishes and a lack of supporting the weaning efforts...it's sort of like putting diapers on a potty trained child (counter productive!).

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Two words: Parental Amnesia. They don't remember the struggles they went through with their own kids.

6 moms found this helpful

I dont think it "G.'s" directly that do what they want when they want. It's a personal character issue. If you asked her not to do it and she did it anyway, just shows she has no respect for your technique. It's not a G. problem it's your moms inability to follow your instruction. Don't put all G.'s in one basket because we arent all that way :)

5 moms found this helpful

As a mom who has no help at all from any parents or relatives, I say count your blessings. Unless I can afford and find a trustworthy babysitter I,m stuck. Which is most of the time. I love my children but everyone needs a break now and then. I would think that if tou dont leave them often because of their meddling, they would stop. most grandparents would like to have time with their grandkids.

4 moms found this helpful

I'm glad you have a sense of humor about it. I'm sure grateful that my mom watches my daughter and I pick and choose what to take exception to. They mean well. I might have been offended by your mom going to buy the bottles though, that's going a bit far. Overall, i think there has to be a lot more respect and tolerance on both sides. Moms need to work harder on not taking everything as a slight, and grandparents should respect the child's parents reasonable requests.

THAT said... Jis S, you put the baby to sleep on his tummy although his mom said not to because of SIDS? Given the current medical advice, you think you know better with a life-threatening decision? Now that's disrespecting your stepdaughter.

3 moms found this helpful

If grandparents are doing this it means that they lack boundaries and respect for you as the parent--plain and simple. If you can laugh it off and it doesn't truly bother you than good for you. However, if it does bother you it is best to set the boundaries up now because it will only get worse as the child gets older. My grandmother spoiled me rotten and made my mother's life a living hell for the three days after I returned from staying with her every time. Thankfully my mother has chosen to respect my wishes for my children because it made her so miserable when my grandmother did not respect her wishes. This doesn't mean that your parents don't love you, or that they think you are a bad parent. It just means that they haven't learned appropriate boundaries with their adult children.

3 moms found this helpful

Hello, I can't speak for others, but I will say that any changes I make when I babysit are very small. If my daughter sends a meal with my granddaughter that she will not eat (she is still on strained foods) I get one out of my cupboard that she will eat. My daughter knows that I keep them on hand and has no problem with it. I would never try to undermine what my kids do with their children. I have babysat all of them (the ones in CA) while their parents have worked and always ask before making any big decision (even about where I am taking them).
Good luck with your precious family.
K. K.

3 moms found this helpful

Wow there are some really negative comments - your mom gave her a bottle instead of sippy cup - that is not derailing your parenting in skills nor does it mean she does not respect your parenting AT ALL.

Why do they what they want to do? Because they can! That is the privilege of being a grandparent.

There are always different rules at grandmas house - and that's okay. As long as she is safe, she is not degrading you to your daughter, she is not disrespecting you (no, giving a bottle instead of a sippy cup is not disrespecting - that's a grandma that wants to keep her baby a baby a little while longer), she is not modeling disrespectful behavior (cussing, yelling etc.) she will be fine.

Really, you seem to have a good attitude about it. In the end, she will eventually give up the bottle - she won't graduate sucking on a bottle :)

3 moms found this helpful

You are not the only one who has to deal with this trust me. I can not even count how many times my parents and my in-laws have done stuff like that. I don't get what grandparents do not understand about the fact that they are not the parents. They had their turn now let us have ours.

2 moms found this helpful

If it were my daughter and granddaughter, I would never disrespect my daughter like that. Perhaps your mom is having trouble seeing you as a mom and all grown up? I would talk with her and just ask her why she would do that. Ask her to remember what it was like when she was a young mom and she wanted and needed her rules followed. Maybe that will give her something to think about.

2 moms found this helpful

Because that's the joy of being a grandparent! Spoil them and send them home!

2 moms found this helpful

I have the exact same problem. I think its because they are our parents that we dont have the right to make the final decision. It's the worst.

2 moms found this helpful

Typically it is a combination of things...they feel they have raised their kids ok and know what to do, they feel they are more experienced, they are the grandparents and get to spoil the grandkids, and the rules don't apply to them. They struggle with the concept that they are grandparents, not the parents and the parents word is the final say.

I get what the others have said about it not being a big deal...this one instance is not a big deal but it does suggest a lack of respecting the parents wishes and a lack of supporting the weaning efforts...it's sort of like putting diapers on a potty trained child (counter productive!).

2 moms found this helpful

My mom did the same stuff. I would bring baby food over for my daughter, (she was 8 months) and strictly told my mom that she eats what I packed for her and nothing else. When I get back, my mom informed me that she made my daughter some yummy oatmeal with honey. Really? Because babies arent supposed to have HONEY!!!!!! Omg! I was livid! After that fight she got a little better.

2 moms found this helpful

I am with Sandy...as one who does not have any family around to help. I have had eye exams with a toddler at my feet and a newborn in my arms.

Just be super thankful you have a good loving Grandma that wants to keep her grand baby and loves her so much.

I remember a story from when I was young. My parents were heading out of state for a week and I was staying with my Aunt and Uncle. I was two and my mom decided to break me of my pacifier while she was gone...she told my Aunt about it when she dropped me off. My Aunt said, "no way, no how are you giving me your two year old for a week with no pacifier!!" I was a total 24/7 pacifier girl. We all laughed about it for years...because it wasn't really fair to my aunt.

Hugs to you...if you want to share your mom I have two kids that would love a great grandma!!

2 moms found this helpful

Grandparents should respect what you ask of them, however, they've done this child raising before. If they feed your child baby food for the few hours they are watching them instead of table food- so what! Or a bottle rather then a sippy- so what! Its not you they are getting it from, its grandma or grandpa. Things are special over there. Plus, 10 years down the road is this really going to matter? No. I think you are making a huge deal out of nothing and venting on here might just be causing the fire to be flamed. Think about your relationship with them before reacting to the little things. You daughter is also watching your react to them. Be a good example.

2 moms found this helpful

For the same reason I do things with my nieces and nephews that are completely frowned upon by their parents....it is fun and I am not their parent so I don't have to parent them. I think generally grandparents don't do anything harmful, they just overindulge the children to see joy on their faces or they do things to make life easier while spending time with the children (like in your example...I am guessing your mom didn't want to deal with sippy cups when your daughter takes a bottle without fussing).

1 mom found this helpful

Because they know it's no big deal if a child wants a bottle they should get one, if they want to be held and snuggled it's no big deal.

It's the parents who end up with the "I'm the boss, you have to mind, it's my choice that you don't get a bottle anymore" and the grandparents, who have many years experience on you, know that if a child wants something it's not always a bad idea. Letting kids be kids and not forcing them to fit a time table is okay too.

1 mom found this helpful

Because they think they know best. Infuriating, but that's the way it is. I think, as you suggested, I wouldn't take her back, if that's possible. If her grandmother asks why she's not visiting say she's in training to use a sippy cup and she can't go anywhere where that rule is not enforced.

1 mom found this helpful

I struggle with this as well. My parents still don't see me as a independent parent who can make her own decisions for her kids even though I am 32 and live in another state! The answer "because they can" is just not acceptable. If they can't follow the rules that the parent has set, then don't bother watching the kids!!!! It is not about still having grandparents around to spoil the child - it IS about respect and honoring what Momma has decided!

All of the Grandmas on here that responded, just remember it would cause alot less problems and issues if you just went along with the program and didn't try to do things "your way" just because it seemed to work for you back in the day.

1 mom found this helpful

Because they see the bigger picture.....

1 mom found this helpful

When my parents do something like that i would not be so nice to them about it, but i would not keep my kids from them either.
when they gave my kids a bunch of candy one day, i took all the candy in their house and threw it away! now every time i come over i throw away all the junk food they have in their house. they now know that they better hide it from all of us or not buy it in the first place (its no wonder to me why my mom has diabetes)

1 mom found this helpful

Because they are grandparents and they always figure they know best. I get "I raised 5 kids my way and you all turned out okay" accept for the fact that we are the most disfunctional family in the history of the world because of "her way". They just dont listen

1 mom found this helpful

there seems to be an overload of grandparent questions on here lately lol. i will answer what i have before - your daughter will learn quickly that at granny's house there are different rules. stick to your guns at your house. this will also go for sweets, whining, tantrums, generally getting everything she wants at granny's. don't stress over it, just make sure to enforce your own rules at home and she will learn. and THROW AWAY ALL BOTTLES. unfortunately it doesn't sound like your mom is supportive of your parenting capabilities AT ALL - this isn't giving her an extra piece of candy before dinner. that's pretty disrespectful actually, imo. BUT don't stress about it as far as your daughter goes. (sounds like you and mom have bigger issues.) your baby will be fine.

1 mom found this helpful

they feel that they have the right to. i have a 3 year old and my in laws feel they can do as they wish with her. if i call them out on it then i am being condesending.

they dont understand how parenting has changed since they were first time parents. they think their way is best.

i kind of love the fact that since they never made an effort to disapline my daughter when they watched that now she refuses to listen to then. YES i do correct my daughter for her behavior. i do not allow her to be rude at all.

they choose to blurr the line a parent sets. i litterally had to throw a walker (that was a hand me down i didnt want) away because i got sick and tired of telling my inlaws not to put my 2 MONTH OLD daughter in it. they would tell me well my boys liked it and i would tell them i dont care if they liked it my daughter isnt them and i dont want her in it.

1 mom found this helpful

I have deleted the answer as it had potentially identifying details - and my profile isn't 100% anonymous. I don't think anyone would care enough to "back-track" to who I am....but still...better safe than not.


1 mom found this helpful

I know what you mean. When my daughter was 3yo her Nana decided to cut her bangs because her hair was in her face. Apparently, it was too hard to just put it in a ponytail. I was devestated, lol. My DD had NEVER had a haircut before. Nana played it off by saying it was just her bangs, it wasn't a haircut. On top of everything else it was a horrible cut that had to be fixed. I was mad for weeks, lol. I'm not sure what I was more mad about, that she didn't ask me before hand or that she "took" that first haircut away from me as this was my firstborn child.

1 mom found this helpful

"because they've raised children and they know what they are doing! And you're new to this, so you don't have a clue." At least, that's what I think my MIL thinks. When ever she watches my son, everytime I have let her know, since he was born, we do not put him to bed with a bottle (then became sippy cup). I explained my reasons (I don't want him dependant on food to sleep, if he doesn't finish it before he falls asleep it will leak, if it's juice and he falls asleep with it in his mouth it's very bad for his teeth, etc.) And EVERY single time we come home or go pick him up, there is/was a sippy cup or bottle in the bed! (and it's like she left it there on purpose!) It's the most frustrating thing! So we reiterate: no drinks at bedtime, and yet...

I know she has raised three kids, but she's not raising this one. It somehow seems that even though you're a grown adult, they can't get past the fact that you're their kid, and they have a hard time respecting your position as a mother/parent. Wonder how long that lasts...? Maybe when your kids are 40 and they see you haven't totally detroyed them? ;0)

Good luck with Nana!

1 mom found this helpful

I have no idea. I think they think THEY know best because they're older and wiser.
Both sets of grandparents did things like this to me on a regular basis. Quite annoying.
I know without a doubt that my MIL gave the grandkids food/drinks that she was NOT supposed to give them. One time when I picked up my daughter she had an upset tummy. I nicely asked what she might have fed her other than what I had sent. Simply because we were in that stage where we introducing solids one at a time so we'd know what she could or couldn't tolerate. Ohmygosh! She got so upset with me saying how could I accuse of her feeding her something that would upset her, how I'd hurt her feelings, blah blah blah, waaaah! Ergh.
Good luck. I'm sure it will happen a bazillion more times!

1 mom found this helpful

That would've definitely ticked me off! If we are working on some sort of transition, it needs to be consistent, no matter who they are with at the moment.

I've gotten over the spoiling factor with the grandparents - treats, complete babying of the kids...I figure, I want to spoil them too, but I can't because I am mom. This way, someone is spoiling them a bit!

1 mom found this helpful

They do it because "I did it this way with all my kids, and they turned out fine." They reason that they have far more parenting experience, so they know better.

That doesn't stop it from being infuriating.

1 mom found this helpful

Tehehe, Grandparents do what they want with your kids because they CAN. They're not your kids parents!
And furthermore, your kids do not expect to be parented by their Grandparents. It's a different relationship. And a valuable one!

I guess if you want your child to follow ONLY YOUR RULES 24 hrs a day, than you'll have to be with them 24 hrs a day, or put them in a childcare situation that will adhere to your own parenting philosophies.

I can see how you would be frustrated but it's not really that much of a setback. After all, in REAL life (that is at home), she knows she will not be getting a bottle.

(I wish MY kids still have Grandparents to 'spoil' them) :(


1 mom found this helpful

I just have to say you are SO good for taking it in stride. I would have been livid with my mother and thrown a few, "She's MY child" reminders at her. HAHA. Good for you. :)

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with Momma11. :)

1 mom found this helpful

my mom generally respects my rule for my toddler, but she always makes him out to be a martyr. "no candy? poor baby, he doesnt get anything good." my family is really into food. when i first introduced my now husband to them I told him that he shouldnt say anything they can relate to food...which means dont say anything at all. my whole family (extended and imediate) eat junk all the time (the funny thing is my grandma is honestly convinced that most of it is healthy and cant be told otherwise lol) I was brought up in that and became 285 pds by the time i was 18, and I will not let that happen to my son, so when they try to give him something that is a no no I am very stern in telling them no.

They just do what they think is best and someday you will too. They love your babies and cant help themselves. My stepdaughter had brought over her son for us to watch and was telling me how to burp her baby. Whatever I thought to myself. I raised my kid and I think I pretty much know what I am doing. Everyone has a way of doing things that work for them. See only lets him sleep on a boppy (still dont know what this is) and she says it keeps him from getting sids, but he wiggles his way out anyway. I put him on his stomach and he slept so sweet. We are just being parents we raised you kids and you turned out alright. Have patiences child. No one is doing this to hurt you or your progress. If they watched the baby everyday, and you are trying to teach your child something new, then maybe it is a problem. But if it is just once in awhile, let it go, she is just doing what grandparents do. Loving you and your baby..

Because they can...and good luck with getting your kid to hate the bottle. Lol. Some kids find the sucking action soothing for quite a long time.

That being said, grandparents shouldn't have to follow all the "rules"...but they shouldn't intentionally derail parental efforts either.

I know there are tons of responses already, but want to add mine as well.

I go through this with my mother as well. I have never really said anything to her, but complain to my husband all the time about it. She has always been good as far as big decisions, like safety and such, but it's the little things that get to me. Like constantly changing the clothes that I send her in, like I don't dress her well enough. Or outdoing me on playgroup gifts. I know none of it is to intentionally hurt me because she always says what a good mom I am, but it still bothers me when she redoes something I have already done or changes something I have done. She also lets my daughter snack WAY too much. We'll pick her up at meal time and find out she just had snacks.

Like others mentioned, I guess we need to remember how blessed we are that our parents are there for us and love spending time with our kids. There are mothers in my daughter's playgroup that tell me how lucky I am because their mother would never do as much as mine does. I've also heard of grandma's saying, "I raised my kids, I'm not going to raise yours". My mom can't get enough of my daughter, and I can't imagine saying that about my future grandkids!! We'll just have to live with the little things I guess! Good luck!

i have no idea. We regulate the kids sugar intake. My in laws know this. and so they constantly bring the kids fruit roll ups and fruit snacks. i have told them at least a million times that is the same as candy. and i think they must be idiots, they honestly think they are giving the kids fruit. after they leave I throw them away.

My parents do equally annoying things, teaching the kids how to cheat, for example.

Because they don't respect us. I think some grandparents listen, but those that don't, aren't being respectful, they are treating us like children, even if we are middle-age.

You know we will probably do the same thing to our kids when they are parents. LOL

Because they are Grandparents and that's the way they did and will continue to do things. Take a deep breath and go with the flow. My kids understood there were "mommy & daddy" rules and there were "Grandma & Grandpa" rules. The relationship between a child and grandparent can be so special, and I think part of that is because rules and routines at 'grammy's' are different than at home. My kids are grown and I'm looking forward to being one of those grandparents who spoil the grandkids rotten :)

I understand both your frustration and the laughter. My mom has been watching my daughter for a few months and we're so, so, so grateful for it. She LOVES being a grandmother and my daughter loves being with her. There are moments, however, when she says or does things that make me nuts. I've never actually reacted to any of these moments despite my frustration because I really do recognize she's not trying to be difficult, her approach (mostly with how she communicates) is just different from mine. In my case, my mom always tells me what a good mom I am so I know some of what makes me crazy is probably just because she's my mom. We've also made it a point to communicate more deliberately than before I had a child. If there's lingering tension, everyone feels uncomfortable, so if it's there, we address is and move on. Remember how lucky your daughter is to have a grandparent in her life....it really is special.

I'd guess that sometimes it's just easier to do things in the way we're used to and know work.

My Mom and Dad did this with my sons and I probably do small things like this with my grandson, though I try to be sensitive to their wishes and not overstep into their prerogatives.

In the long run, is this worth getting upset over? Probably not.

Wow. You're a lot nicer than I would have been. If I were working hard to help my child transition from bottle to sippy cup and my mother intentionally undermined me like that, I would have gone ballistic on her.

They do it because the "think" they know better. But a lot of the time, they don't. We know A LOT more about child rearing now than we did 20-30-40 years ago. (no honey or peanut butter before age 1, don't put them to sleep on their stomachs, corporal punishment doesn't work long-term, etc.) Just because their children didn't die from "their way" they think that must be the perfect magical way to do it. Oy.

The mamas on this board are so conscientious and, like me, take this parenting job extremely seriously. I have done hundreds of hours of research, reading, dissecting the latest studies, etc. And I spend even more time than that actually interacting with my children so that I know them inside and out.

If I give instructions to a caregiver, it's because I've got reasons for those decisions. If you prove to me that you cannot be trusted to follow my instructions, then my child will not be left in your care anymore. Pretty simple.

I'm having this issue with my MIL right now. She watched my two girls for a few hours. When they came home, they were both sick to their stomachs and couldn't eat the healthy dinner I had prepared. Turns out Grandma fed them nothing but sugar all day. Donut for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, candy bar for a snack and M&Ms all day. We sat her down and said, "You can't hurt our girls like this. Do not feed them more than two treats while they are here. They're not used to large amounts of sugar and their little bodies can't handle it."

The very next weekend she took them for a few hours again. They came home sick again. She said that she didn't feed them treats all day. (LIAR!) We asked the girls and they rattled off a list of junk they ate. It totaled the equivalent of NINE DESSERTS in a six hour period. Guess who's NOT going to Grandma's this weekend?

Bottom line, it's a respect thing. Unless Grandma thinks your choices are going to hurt the child, she needs to toe the line and respect your decisions as a the parent. She had her chance. Now it's your turn.

Sorry I couldn't be so lighthearted about this subject. I don't take kindly to being ignored.

They do what they want because most parents won't put the grandparents in their place because we love and respect them as parents...hmmmm. Now if only that were a two way street...lol. I would have just asked her politely how would she have felt if HER mother had done that to her? And then make it clear that you are your child's mother and have been working very hard with her to break the bottle habit and she has just set the training backwards making it confusing and hard on her granddaughter. As for the sippy battle try the cups with the straws in them instead of the standard cups. I stumbled onto the straw cups because my 1st born just couldn't get the hang of the other kind. I'm so glad I did because #1 she was already used to sucking motion from the bottle and it made it so much easier for her to transition. #2 I started putting the cups out while she was still taking bottles but only put water in the cups and milk in the bottles so she knew what to expect from both. One afternoon she just put her bottle down and said "no milk Mommy, want water" and that was the last time she ever picked up the bottle. It was a little before her first birthday. No big drama or fight for the bottle she decided she didn't want it anymore. #3 at her 1 year checkup her DR was thrilled we had been using the straw cups because the sucking they have to do to get the drink actually strengthens their mouth/tongue muscles which they need in order to speak. Speaking was never an issue for our girl, she was a chatterbox and pretty much spoke in complete sentences by the age of 1, but I'm sure the straws helped. Maybe give them a try and see if you have the same luck. And be sure to lay the law down to your Mom prior to the next visit. Good Luck and God Bless.

There's a thing grandparents call "Grandparents right" which they made up for example mom and dad may and would say no to ice cream for dinner, we as to grandma and grandpa can say yes to ice cream for dinner. In this case I would have only took one cup that could be refilled when empty, with your mom I think she simply believe using the bottle would be less work for her. J.

I like my inlaws, a lot actually...but I wonder the same exact thing.
I think it's because my SO's grandma lived with them, was his main care taker and did whatever she wanted with him.
Like "dont make him eat that he doesn't like it!" "If he doesn't want to wear that don't make him!" type of things.
Maybe my MIL is following in her moms footsteps lol.

Because we can. However if you had said that you are weaning from the bottle it should have been clear that I should try the cup(s) that were brought before going to the store to buy bottles. Besides that the bottles wouldn't get used and take up space in a closet until the next baby showed up collecting dust.

I love my grandson but don't get to see him often. When I do we both bet in trouble from my son because we do some pretty dumb stuff together but it safe fun. Sometimes we just hang out together in the same room and do nothing it's the feeling that he gets knowing that grandma is there and he feels safe and protected.

This year I decided to tell him why I always told him he was special to me. My son informed me about two thirds of the way through the pregnancy that i was going to be a grandma. In that remaining three months I was diagnosed with breast cancer and having a slight pitty party and decided to turn that feeling around and be positive to be around for my grandbaby and watch h/she grow up, go to college, get married and have kids. We cried together on the bed and now he knows and all is well.

So just think in a few more years you too could be in the same boat doing the same things. It's a rite of passage from parent to grandparent. I love every minute I can get with him even if it is a short visit and lots of hugs and kisses. He's my Scouter and he will always be that even if he is 100.

The other S.

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