Dr Richard C. Woolfson
1. ACKNOWLEDGE EXPERIENCE
As soon as you tell them about the pregnancy, let your parents and in-laws know that you respect their great experience as parents, and that you hope to draw on them for advice and support. But gently add that as you will be your child’s parents, you will always make the final decisions.
2. SET OUT GROUND RULES
Explain from the start that while you want to share the excitement with them, there will be some things that you want to do as a couple. Give examples to avoid misunderstandings. For instance, you might decide that you and Hubby will go to antenatal appointments on your own.
3. DISCUSS PRIVACY
Point out to the grandparents that although you want them to play a significant part in your baby’s life, you and Hubby still need privacy. Therefore, ask them to let you know in advance when they intend to visit, especially in the early days, as you adjust to your new arrival.
4. GIVE SPECIFIC TASKS
It’s far easier to avoid tension when you and your in-laws have agreed on a specific remit for them. For instance, you could ask them to come this afternoon for an hour to play with your baby while you rest. Agreeing on clearly defined individual tasks like that goes a long way to avoiding misunderstandings.
5. USE LANGUAGE POSITIVELY
Rather than simply thanking the grandparents for their help, use such instances to guide them. For instance, instead of just saying “Thanks for rocking her to sleep”, you could say “I’m so glad you called at the agreed time to rock her to sleep, because that helped me plan my day better. I really appreciate that.”
(Photo: 123RF.com/Martin Novak)