How to Tell Grandma to Stop Smothering Your Child

By Amy Sutton
Parents want their children to have good relationships with grandparents but not to smother them with attention.
Parents want their children to have good relationships with grandparents but not to smother them with attention.

From the moment you told your mother or mother-in-law she was going to be a grandma, she has probably been thinking about how much fun it would be. As a parent, you want your children to enjoy time with their grandparents, but sometimes grandmothers can be a bit overbearing -- and you might feel as if your child's grandma is smothering her. Perhaps she is doting on your child too much and spoiling her with gifts or giving her too much attention. Or it could be she is trying to push her ideas and opinions on you. While grandma likely means no harm, this can cause problems in the family if left alone, so it can become necessary to say something to her.

Consider why your child's grandmother is giving her so much attention. It's possible she is lonely, if she is widowed or lives alone. She could be missing the days her own child was younger and is in a way reliving those days through your child.

Talk to your husband about what is happening and ask him to speak to her if it's his mother. It might be less uncomfortable for everyone concerned if it's coming from him. He should just kindly explain to her how you both feel and ask her politely to stop being so bossy if she is trying to tell you how you should be caring for your daughter.

Be firm but kind while asking your own mother to stop worrying so much about your child. Explain to her that you are quite capable of caring for your child yourself and while you understand her concern for your daughter's well-being, you would like her to trust you and allow you to be the mother.

Tell grandma you understand being a grandparent is special and that you want her to play an important role in your child's life. It's completely normal for grandparents to spoil their grandchildren and have fun with them, but boundaries are important and must be set -- and respected.

Express your appreciation for her help and inform her of the rules for your children that you and your partner have decided on. Then, stand united as a team and continue to be firm with the rules when it comes to your child and the time she spends with her grandmother.