Dear Dr. Linda,
I have two requests to ask of you for your Thanksgiving column. First to provide another Thanksgiving quiz because my whole family, every generation, loves it. The arguing between generations as to who answered first and correctly is hysterical.
My second request is not that funny. How do I deal with the arguing that occurs between my mom and my mother-in-law? We have four wonderful kids ranging from 5 to 14 and the argument always seems to be over something one of my kids said or did.
Last year, it was over my 14-year-old daughter’s grades because report cards had just come out. It got so bad that our daughter ended up crying and my in-laws walked out before dessert. What are these two women teaching our kids about Thanksgiving?
First, the problem you’re facing is that you want to have a wonderful family Thanksgiving dinner just like in the Norman Rockwell painting. Unfortunately, it looks good in a painting, but doesn’t always happen. In your situation, the two grandmas don’t seem to see eye to eye which creates tension for everyone. To make it worse, they’re arguing about your children in front of them. You need to step in to protect your children because that type of behavior is unhealthy and can scar them.
Before Thanksgiving or any event in which you’ll be together, talk to each grandma privately and personally—not by text or email. Tell her that you appreciate her advice, that it’s always good to hear someone else’s opinion. But to share her advice with you and your husband first and not directly with your children. Comments, looks or gestures from significant others that children perceive as negative may have a lifelong effect.
Some grandparents go directly to the child because they know that the parents are not open to hear anything. That’s not good, either. Grandparents, because they’ve had years of experience and have learned from it (hopefully), are a great resource for you. Be careful not to push them away. Remember, they love your children too. [Read more…]