Grandparents Overstepping Boundaries

My husband and I have a lot of parent figures in our lives, which means a lot of grandparents for our son. This is an amazing thing because there’s no such thing as a baby being loved by too many people. With so many people come a lot of opinions though.

When you have a new baby, especially if it’s your first, everyone wants to share their advice and opinions. New grandparents are often some of the biggest culprits and can easily move beyond the point of being helpful. Grandparents overstepping boundaries can be a difficult thing to navigate as a new parent, but it can be done.

My husband and I experienced this firsthand. It’s not easy because you know they have the best intentions. All they want is the best for you and your baby. Here are a few tips to make it work.

Take the Advice with a Grain of Salt

As a new parent, take all the help you can get, but take it all with a grain of salt. There are a lot of ways to do things and you will get people on both sides of every topic. Whether its how you will feed your baby or where they will sleep, swaddling, pacifiers, whether or not to let your baby cry, you won’t be able to follow everyone’s advice on everything.

Communicate Your Boundaries

Make sure you let your baby’s grandparents know what your boundaries are. You will have a lot going on with a new baby at home, but taking the time to lay out what things you want help with and what things are off limits will be invaluable. Consider topics like:

  • Vaccines
  • Breastfeeding or bottle feeding
  • Sleeping arrangements
  • When and how to introduce solid food
  • Exposing your baby to technology
  • Age appropriate toys
  • Childcare
  • Diapering

For us, whether or not to vaccinate our son became a big topic of conversation and it was something that was a non-negotiable for us. He was going to be vaccinated, end of story. The topics of controversy in your home may be different, but the important thing is to make those boundaries known.

Be a United Front

Your spouse should be your biggest supporter, especially when it comes to things related to your new baby. Whether it is your parents or theirs giving the unsolicited advice, make sure the two of you are on the same team. Ultimately, every decision is the responsibility of the two of you. If the two of you disagree about something, work it out in private. Don’t let anyone get involved to come between the two of you.

Pick Your Battles

You’ll have to learn to let the little things go. This hasn’t always been easy for me because when it comes to my son, I tend to get defensive and the smallest thing can feel like a personal attack.

Put your foot down on the big topics when you need to, but try to let the smaller things go. It’s not worth all the conflict and, believe me, you’ll have enough stress already with your new baby home.

Be Understanding

This baby in new in your life, but its also knew in their lives. If they are first time grandparents, they will be trying to navigate a new role just like you will. Give them some time and be patient with them. Chances are you all have the same goal, to raise a happy, healthy baby with lots of people who love them.

Everyone who offers advice is just trying to help because they care about you and your baby. Try to look at the situation with that in mind and it will be much easier to handle things that are said.

Trust Your Instincts

No matter what advice you get or what the opinions of those around you are, trust your instincts as a parent. It is up to you and your spouse how your baby is raised. You have your baby’s best interest at heart so go with what you think is right.

None of us are perfect parents but we all want the best for our children. All we can do is take in all of the advice and try to determine what is going to work best for our families and our babies. Beyond that, don’t let other people’s opinions get to you.


Do you have a story about someone who overstepped boundaries with your children? Leave a comment below to share your story and don’t forget to read on for more parenting support.

4 thoughts on “Grandparents Overstepping Boundaries”

  1. When I had my first child, I was so thankful and respected the help of my parents and my in-laws but I always set boundaries. This is my right! The baby is my child, I set the rules! This didn’t mean i was ungrateful.
    As a first impression, my son’s grandparents didn’t accept my reaction and thought it was disrespect, but later on they got used to this.
    Being a united front with your husband or wife is very important as you said. My husband always supported me dealing with setting boundaries to our parents.

    1. That’s so great that you were able to work it out fairly easily. It can be a delicate balance trying to set boundaries without offending the other people involved. 

  2. Hi Briana, This was such fun reading because I am a grandparent of 7 wonderful grandchildren. We all see one another often and have always had a great relationship. I guess one of the things you could try is agree with everything that is said and then do what you want to do. It is your baby after all and it isn’t the grandparents having to get up in the middle of the night when baby is niggling. We can be old fuddy duddies and have old fashioned ideas but mostly don’t mind when we understand that all the parents want is the best for their child.
    Wishing you all the best and happiness.

    1. It’s so great to get a grandparents perspective on this. We have gotten to the point with a few people where we pretty much do what you said. In the moment we say “Thanks so much for the advice we’ll give that a try” and then we do what we feel is best even if it contradicts the advice they gave. Everyone wants what’s best for the baby and at the end of the day that’s what is important.

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