That's not the way it's supposed to be done. You're not doing it right!
You and your partner grew up in different households with different rules and ways of doing things. Now that you are parents, you may be discovering these differences on a regular basis. It can help to know that there are many "right" ways to do things–from changing a diaper to putting on a new roll of toilet paper.
When you find yourself thinking or saying, "That's not how my family did it," stop and think. Is this an important issue? Why am I feeling the way I do? Then you may wish to discuss the situation with your partner.
Conversations starters: Birthdays are celebrated by... It surprised me, that your family... I enjoy the way your family... I want our family to... Saturday mornings I love to...
In many families, the birth of a child increases your contact with relatives. Your parents become grandparents and your siblings are aunts and uncles. Involved relatives can ease your stress by helping out and giving emotional support or increase stress by making demands or increasing guilt.
Areas of conflict that may have been resolved or "put on the back burner" early in your relationship may pop up again. Your family may have traditions and values that differ from your partner's family. Differences may be as simple as who is invited to your baby's birthday party or what is included on the menu for the event. Deeper issues may also surface such as where to live or how you practice your faith or beliefs.
At times, you may feel torn between the wishes and values of extended family and your partner. You may want to honor and be loyal to both. But being a bridge between your partner and parents may make you feel stretched between both sides, and sometimes walked on!
One way out of the dilemma is for you and your partner to focus on your "we-ness". You can establish your own family rituals, values and lifestyle. What's important to you? Talk about your beliefs and ideas. How do you want your child to be raised? What do you want to repeat from your upbringing or your partners? What things do you wish to change? How do you handle disapproval from your parents or your partner's parents? Do you stand up for your partner when talking to relatives?
With a sense of solidarity, you can face challenges together, even when they come from your parents. Your couple relationship will flourish as you pass on your legacy to your children.
The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is second in emotional importance only to the parent-child relationship.
The grandparent-grandchild relationship is very special. Children can learn values, hear stories about their heritage and gain respect for older people from their grandparents. Caring involved grandparents often help children develop emotionally and socially. As many as 9 out of 10 adult grandchildren feel their grandparents influenced their values and behavior.
If grandparents aren't available, other older adults can create bonds with your child. Reliable, caring adults help children develop life skills, build self-esteem and gain confidence.
As I was washing my natural curly hair, my 4-year-old grandson wandered in to watch. As I was drying it, he said, "Grandma, I'm sure glad that I don't have wrinkled hair!"
In addition to lending a hand, grandparents are an important influence in a child's life. Research shows children benefit from having several caring adults in their lives. If grandparents aren't available, other reliable caring adults can step in as mentors and make a difference.
Disagreements are a normal part of any relationship. It's common for parents and grandparents to have different opinions because:
Although conflict is normal, frequent or intense disagreements can harm your relationship. Since positive intergenerational relationships are beneficial, try to:
For additional information on grandparenting, check our your local library for the book The Nanas and the Papas: A Boomers' Guide to Grandparenting written by Kathryn and Allan Zullo.