So, your mum and mum-in-law don’t get along and their par­ent­ing ad­vice drives you crazy. ELISA CHIA has ex­pert tips to im­prove the re­la­tion­ship.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

When your mum and mum-in­law don’t get along, their con­flict­ing par­ent­ing ad­vice can drive you crazy. Use our tips to im­prove your re­la­tion­ship with them.

Sa­muel Tay

My par­ents and the in-laws have dif­fer­ent baby-care styles. How do I agree with one with­out of­fend­ing the other?

Lis­ten and show your in­ter­est in their opin­ions equally. But make it known that how you bathe and burp your new­born is just a mat­ter of pref­er­ence.

More of­ten than not, the de­tails won’t have a big im­pact on the well-be­ing of their grand­child.

Con­sider sign­ing up for par­ent­ing cour­ses and work­shops con­ducted by pae­di­atric ex­perts. This will give you the up­per hand in push­ing for your own baby-care ap­proach and, at the same time, re­as­sure the grand­par­ents that you are able to raise your child well.

How can I make every­one get along bet­ter? There are al­ways awk­ward mo­ments at get-to­geth­ers.

While the vi­sion of “one big happy fam­ily” is ap­peal­ing, it is com­mon for in­laws to have dif­fer­ences. Af­ter all, they do come from dif­fer­ing back­grounds, each with their set of fam­ily rules, cus­toms and be­liefs.

Re-ex­am­ine your own ex­pec­ta­tions and the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. Can you achieve a mid­dle ground?

Draw your own bound­aries and “rules” dur­ing th­ese gath­er­ings, and make th­ese clear to the grand­par­ents. You are the host and it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to man­age them­selves.

Grandpa is play­ing favourites. My twoyear-old daugh­ter is jeal­ous that he’s more in­ter­ested in her lit­tle brother.

Spend time with your daugh­ter and shower her with at­ten­tion and love.

At the same time, raise the is­sue with your fa­ther am­i­ca­bly. It is likely that he would un­der­stand. Sug­gest strate­gies to cre­ate in­clu­sive play ac­tiv­i­ties where both kids are en­gaged at the same time.

My lit­tle one fusses when­ever Grandma tries to hold her. How can I help them bond bet­ter?

Some ba­bies are sen­si­tive to be­ing car­ried by peo­ple whom they are not close to – that could be the case here. You should try hold­ing him first while Grandma plays with him. Ease him into her pres­ence. Some­times, it might be the man­ner or tech­nique in which she car­ries him. Strong un­fa­mil­iar smells can make ba­bies feel un­com­fort­able, as well. Does Grandma use scented oils or per­fumes?

Both grand­mas want to be the babysit­ter when I re­turn to work, but I feel that my mum would do a bet­ter job. What’s the best way to break the news to my in-law?

First, you’ll need your hus­band to be on the same page as you and sup­port your de­ci­sion. Other than telling white lies, there’s re­ally lit­tle you can do to pre­vent your mother-in-law from feel­ing slighted. In any case, be tact­ful and po­lite as you do so. Make sure to give her plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to care for your child in ways that utilise her strengths and tal­ents. All Grandma needs is recog­ni­tion and a sense of con­tri­bu­tion.

Why do my folks keep in­ter­fer­ing with how I care for Baby?

When­ever you’re frus­trated with them, re­mem­ber this: Grand­par­ents don’t carry hopes only for their grand­chil­dren, but also for their chil­dren to be good par­ents.

If they see an area in which you’re lack­ing or if they know that you can’t man­age the stress of parenthood, they will nat­u­rally want to step in. Just ac­knowl­edge their good in­ten­tions.

My dad com­plains that I don’t visit him as of­ten now. Can’t he un­der­stand that I’m jug­gling work and a new baby?

Empty nest syn­drome and de­pres­sion in el­derly are just some of the pit­falls that grand­par­ents may suc­cumb to. While you are busy car­ing for your new fam­ily, do cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for your fa­ther to con­tribute and bond bet­ter.

Tai­lor th­ese to his strengths and abil­ity lev­els. For ex­am­ple, if Grandpa is un­able to phys­i­cally ex­ert him­self, but is ar­tic­u­late, sug­gest that he reads reg­u­larly to your baby. Th­ese small but mean­ing­ful ac­tiv­i­ties help give him a sense of con­tri­bu­tion, pur­pose and di­rec­tion.

is an as­so­ciate trainer and coun­sel­lor at Morn­ing Star Com­mu­nity Ser­vices.

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