10 Signs You've Given Grandparents Way Too Much Control Over Your Kids


If you've ever felt like your child's grandparents have you on a short leash, don't feel too bad about it. It can be altogether too easy to hand over control without even realizing it and with the best of intentions in mind -- as in the case of a woman who wrote in to "Dear Prudence" recently. She'd given her parents the password to her infant son's Internet-accessible video monitor, because what grandparents don't love getting a little bit more baby time?


If you're already shaking your head in dismay, you'll have guessed that, unfortunately, Grandma and Grandpa's plans didn't stop with watching a cute baby sleep. Instead, they decided they'd been given the right to dictate to their daughter precisely how she should be parenting -- right down to scolding her over the monitor's voice feature to put socks on the baby or to get him to stop crying. (Oh, babies aren't supposed to be crying? Thank you for that stellar advice!) That's what Mom gets for being thoughtful, apparently.

For some of us, reading a story like this one just makes us grateful for the parents and in-laws we've got. Others, however, might feel a slight tingle of familiarity. Are your children's grandparents holding the reins a little too tightly? Here are 10 signs you might be in trouble.

  1. You are required to submit a weekly family menu for their approval before you do the grocery shopping. Be sure to include each meal's calorie and vitamin content. You don't want those precious children getting scurvy, do you? Do you?
  2. The GPS on your car is set up to send data to Grandma and Grandpa every night. Did you make it to that library play group like you promised, or was that excursion just an illicit Starbucks run? You'd better not have been speeding, either -- you know they're going to check.
  3. Your neighbors have reported seeing the grandparents going through your trash. Turns out that wasn't raccoons after all: It was Nana and Poppa checking to make sure this week's trash contains fruit rinds and vegetable peels instead of frozen-dinner boxes and empty packages of Oreos.
  4. They are the only ones who know the password to the parental control chip on your television. Hope you enjoy the 30 minutes of Sesame Street or Backyardigans you're allotted per day!
  5. They have a habit of flagging you down on the road in order to do surprise car-seat checks. Fortunately the straps are tight, the chest clip is in place, and your child is positioned correctly. Unfortunately, everyone else in town is driving past you and rubbernecking to try to figure out what the hell is happening.

    More from The Stir: 12 Times Grandparents Should Mind Their Own Business

  6. They installed their own preferred childproofing latches and devices in every room in your house as well as their own. And you still haven't figured out how to unlatch the kitchen utensil drawer. It's okay, you only have a few more years of eating yogurt with your hands to look forward to before they'll let you have the latches removed.
  7. They have your phone wiretapped. Was the piano teacher really booked out for the rest of the year, or did you just not want to deal with Junior's musical-instrument-related whining any more? Did a call go out to Domino's Pizza on the night the kids were supposed to be served vegetarian enchiladas?
  8. They call you at work twice a day just to make sure you'll be reachable in case of a real emergency. Be careful how you time your bathroom breaks, because you'd better not be away from your desk when that phone rings.
  9. They don't just do the "white-glove test" on your furniture, they have swabbed samples sent out to a local lab for testing. You'll never forget the time they found a spot of salmonella on a discarded cutting board in the kitchen -- because they'll make sure you'll never forget it.
  10. You are required to submit a weekly urine sample for their usage. Whether they're doing it for drug testing or just to make sure they're the first to know when a new grandchild is on the way, it's definitely time to cut the apron strings.

Image via © iStock.com/Sylvia Schug

Read More >