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Stepping Back, Stepping Up


As grandparents, should we express our opinion when we don’t agree with our daughter’s and son-in-law’s parenting decisions? We don’t want to start a big fight, but sometimes we think they are too hard on their kids and go overboard when punishing bad behavior.



This information is included in our Guide to Parenting for Today's Family. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

There’s often a fine line between disagreeing with your own children’s parenting decisions and meddling. But as grandparents, you must remember that the ultimate responsibility and authority for your grandkids lies with their parents. So unless the parents are doing something that puts a child in danger or causes emotional or physical injuries, the best thing to do is step back and let them do the parenting.

If something really bothers you, it’s okay to bring it up in private with your daughter and son-in-law so they know you are concerned. But don’t force the issue or tell them they have to change the way they’re disciplining their kids. This will do much more harm than good.

The safety and well-being of your grandchildren should always be top priority. If they are in danger or being hurt, it is your obligation to protect them. But short of those extreme situations, you must respect the authority and decisions of your grandchildren’s parents, and work with them, not against them, to make sure your grandkids are loved and taught good ​behaviors.