Lack of control is what got you here in the first place. If you would have been able to direct your children’s lives on the path you had dreamed for them, you probably wouldn’t be raising your grandchildren right now. Have you got control of them?
When my daughters were growing up, sleepovers at their grandparents were free-for-alls. My mother kept a special chocolate drawer in the refrigerator, a television in their room for all-night viewing, and a menu-list of items to choose from for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My parents were the spoilers and my husband and I were the disciplinarians. We dreamed of the day when it would be our turn to let loose. Instead, we’re right back where we started, in a strange multi-generational role-reversal sometimes called encore parenting.
I couldn’t wait for the day that I would be able to spoil my grandchildren, to let them drink Coke for breakfast, to buy them whatever they pointed to at ToysRUs, and, at the end of the day, return them to their parents. Instead, their parents have become the spoilers and we are back to being the disciplinarians.
We’d had enough of our own children breaking the rules in our home-should the grandkids follow that same path? Should our children undermine us at the same time we are raising their offspring? Not in my backyard-or inside, either.
I’ve given my grandsons two bedrooms of my home-why were they napping on the couch in the family room? We emptied the breakfast nook to make room for a play area-why do the toys spill into the hall, the dining room, the bathroom?! They are free to fill the entire yard with plastic toys and their imaginations-why do I come home to find my family room turned into a tent city? The kids had taken over-again!
How do you handle the rules in your home? Even though your plate may be overflowing with responsibilities over these grandchildren, your children should respect your rules and your home-even if they never did before.
Set limits with the parents of your grandchildren. If they are taking them out in the middle of a school week, agree on what time they should be returned. If you know that certain foods have a bad effect on them, ask that they not allow those items on their plates. You are the queen or the king of your castle-reclaim it!
You’ve opened your heart and your home to these little blessings, but the welcome mat should only apply to those willing to respect the rules in your home.