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    Default Setting Boundaries with Grandparents

    So, up to this point, my ILs have been fairly neutral about us homeschooling. They took concerns up with DH, but kept me out of it. In turn I'd happily update MIL about our kids' days. A couple of things have changed. FIL has been developing dementia. This is terrifying for them both. MIL tried opening to me about it, but when I brought DH into the conversation (the person she really needs to talk with) she stopped being as open. However, FIL seems to be changing—including taking to becoming extra interested in the kids' education.

    He's always been almost toxically opinionated about child-rearing (despite having little experience or interest raising kids), and would say outrageous things about how my husband's cousin parented (her kids are a lot older). But he had left us alone for a while as DH set some boundaries after our first was born.

    However, DH had to step in and remove us the last time we got together with them. For years FIL had been hinting to DH that our kids couldn't possibly get proper socialization without being put into a public or private school. I simply was open. Sent lots of pictures of the kids' days (they do a lot of activities out of our home and have playtime with friends).

    But now that it is clear our kids are doing great (the boys having more friends than either my DH or me XD ) FIL tried to hassle me about standardized testing.

    We don't do it yet—I wanted to wait until middle school (but I do grade my oldest who is in 5th). FIL claimed there was no way we could know the progress of our kids because I don't have them tested by "professionals." Then MIL joined him to pile on me about it.

    DH was in shock at first, but quickly stepped in, packed us up and immediately had us leave.

    Since that time, I've been continuing the kids' weekly calls to my MIL (something we have done for years as I want them to know their grandparents), but now—all of a sudden—FIL gets on the phone after they briefly talk with her. I'd be excited about his sudden interest in the kids, but from my end I hear them answering a lot of questions about school (from both FIL and MIL). The kids seem fine with it for now. They think their grandparents are mostly just interested in them and their day. Perhaps that is.

    So, on one hand, I feel this could become a healthy thing. Perhaps talking with the boys will calm their worries about how we school—plus they get to know the boys better (something that is really good for everyone—the ILs do not leave their home much and get lonely, and the kids love to talk with them). On the other hand, I'm a bit concerned they could be pumping the kids for ammunition.

    I want the kids to have a relationship with their grandparents, but I don't want them to be dragged into the middle of an argument about their education (one that shouldn't even be made as their grandparents have already raised their son).

    What are positive ways to set and maintain boundaries? Any flags I should look out for?
    Last edited by GloriousWeed; 03-12-2019 at 04:28 PM.

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  3. #2


    Sorry you are going through this.

    I don't really have any advice on setting boundaries. I have the same with my mother. She is an ex-high school teacher and very anti-homeschooling and very vocal and opinionated about it. I have tried to say to her that it is not her choice what we do and that we just should not talk about school, but she just goes on and on about it. Now that DD5 decided to try school, she is very happy and takes every opportunity to gush about how amazing school is and how DD is "part of school", even though I have told her that I am sad that DD is at school because I enjoyed homeschooling her and I miss her.

    For us, it has just meant that we have gone from the kids going over to her house twice a week (once during the week and once at the weekend) to seeing her maybe once ever few weeks. I am just not motivated to take them now, and we actually don't have the time with public school hours and then when the weekend comes around, our priority is time with DH and I first before others.

    I hope you find some way to still have time with the family but not be berated for your choices the whole time. I really don't get it with some grandparents. How they seem to want to parent their grandchildren. It is like, you have already done your hard yards parenting, now you just get to play and have fun with no responsibility for making the parent decisions. Does that not sound relaxing? Why not just chill out? My husbands mother (and two sisters) is super into parenting the grandchildren (or nieces and nephews in the case of the sisters) and it drives me nuts. Thankfully they live far away. My mum is usually great about being "just a grandparent" with everything else, but this homeschool thing really has her irked.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

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Setting Boundaries with Grandparents