Successful Co-Parenting with Grandparents

With the rising cost of living and the increasing demands of a career, some families have opened their doors to extended family members, like grandparents, to help with raising their family. For some, it’s a cultural norm to have in-laws, cousins or members of the nuclear family living in the same home, but for others it’s a matter of economic necessity.


Live-in grandparents can be a real blessing for a single parent family. The presence of grandparents in the home provides that extra domestic and emotional support for a single parent. Grandparents are like live-in nannies but better…they offer the added familiarity, comfort, genuine love & affection that one could only get from blood relatives and most importantly, they are free.


Though there are many benefits to having an extra set of hands at home, it’s not always such an easy situation. Conflicts can and will arise when either the grandparent or parent fails to meet the expectations of their roles and responsibility in raising the children or when there is a lack of clearly defined boundaries. Most disagreements may arise from differences in child rearing methods and the degree of grandparent involvement in the child’s life.


The presence of grandparents in the home provides that extra domestic and emotional support for a single parent.


If you think that live-in grandparents will create more benefit than disadvantage for your family, then it is to your advantage to create a healthy collaborative approach in parenting.


Create Boundaries

Let the grandparent know where you draw the line in dealing with specific issues. Set out the rules in disciplining the kids and ask the grandparent to respect these rules.


Define the Expectations

If there is a mutually agreed upon arrangement in sharing the parenting responsibility, both parties should be clear on the expectations of those responsibilities


Try to Work Problems out Immediately

Communicate the issues as soon as possible so resentment doesn’t build.


There may be times when grandparents will try to enforce their parenting methodology on your children so here are some ways in dealing with unwelcome suggestions:


    • Tell the grandparent how you appreciate their good intentions
    • Listen without being defensive
    • Kindly disregard with a non-committal response like “That’s interesting”
    • Avoid the topic all together by redirecting the conversation to another topic
    • Offer a rebuttal with an educated response on the topic
    • Firmly state your position with a response like “This may not be the best way for you, but it is the right way for me” but choose your words carefully


Grandparents need to feel valued and appreciated. They have good intentions and want to feel like they are contributing in raising their grandchildren. Having a grandparent around could be emotionally beneficial to children of a single parent family so going the extra mile to make it work will reap many rewards for all.


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