Last Updated on April 15, 2021
It’s said that only the best parents get promoted to grandparents. Unfortunately, the lovely, heartwarming image of grandparents and grandchildren relationships simply doesn’t exist in many families.
Sometimes, grandparents can end up being selfish and manipulative, turning a family’s relationships into constant drama, especially when it comes to problems between grandparents and grandchildren.
If your kids are dealing with this type of grandparents, rest assured that you can fix the situation smoothly without causing any further damage. But first, you need to be aware of the alarming signs that your little ones are better off without their grandparents’ influence.
In this article, we will help you spot toxic grandparents as well as show you how to mend the relationships inside your family.
7. They Are Sabotaging Your Parenthood
Keeping children from grandparents can be necessary if the latter are always acting like they’re the ones who know better and making everything you say or do seem insufficient. Toxic grandparents would constantly undermine your parenthood abilities and decide to change everything as they see fit. This kind of grandparents doesn’t respect the boundaries you created to raise your kids well, thus turning your entire system of rules into chaos.
6. They keep interfering with your parental decisions
The relationship between grandparents and kids is often more fun and less restrictive, so if your children get more screen time last time they were at your parents’ or in-laws’, it’s not a toxic relationship. However, if the same thing happened every time you leave the children with their grandparents or if other rules you’ve been following are broken, chances are you’re dealing with toxic grandparents who certainly doubt your decisions as a parent and might even tell you how wrong you are in front of your children, which is really bad.
5. They manipulate you through guilt
Toxic grandparents may use all kinds of manipulative strategies to make you and your children behave exactly as they want you to. In case you or your partner has already lived such scenarios at a young age, they may be happening to your own kids now.
Some phrases toxic grandparents say to manipulate younger family members include things like give me a hug or I will cry, do you want me to go away for good? do this or that if you truly love me… Etc.
If you notice this manipulative behavior, you should seriously take action to stop it sooner than later.
4. They play the victim
The role of the poor, old grandpa or grandma is usually played to manipulate others and control their behavior even if it isn’t intentional. Toxic grandparents can make you and/or your kids feel upset, guilty, and cold-hearted by highlighting the many things they’ve done for you and what they had to sacrifice for the sake of your own happiness and well-being just to make you appreciate their efforts more and do things for them in return.
3. They try to buy your kids’ love and attention
Although it’s absolutely natural for grandparents to buy gifts for their grandchildren every now and then, toxic grandparents tend to use gifts, such as toys and candy, to buy the kids’ affection. In most cases, they get multiple gifts on important holidays so they can seem better than you and get all the love and affection from the kids or they buy really expensive things without discussing it with you first. The concept of gifts is always used as a means of manipulation.
2. They play favorites
When grandparents favor one set of grandchildren while making it pretty obvious to the rest of the family, it’s an alarming sign of a toxic relationship that needs urgent fixing.
What’s even more dangerous is when grandparents start comparing siblings and telling them things like, you can never outsmart your sister or your brother always does it better. This is very unhealthy and can cause plenty of emotional damage.
1. They want their grandchildren all for themselves
A toxic grandparent feels entitled to spend all the time they want with their grandchildren while pretending that other grandparents don’t exist. They also want to take the largest place in the kids’ life as the main and most important grandparent as well as they refuse to share the time with anyone else because they believe it’s their right to spend as much time as they want with their grandkids.
Here are Useful Tips on How to build healthy relationships with Toxic grandparents:
Talk to the problematic grandparents about how you feel and how their actions are affecting your kids.
Create clear rules or boundaries for your kids and let the grandparents know and follow them because you’re the one who knows what’s best for your family.
Listen carefully and appreciate your parents’ or in-laws’ concern, then explain your decisions while remaining calm.
Ask another family member, a common friend, or a therapist to join the discussion.
Try to limit the time your children spend with toxic grandparents until you find a solution. Or try supervised family meetings.
Avoid cutting ties definitely unless it’s really necessary.
Please don’t hesitate to share your own experience with toxic family members or any valuable information on the topic. We can’t wait to read from you.