When Parents and Grandparents Disagree


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While some family ways and traditions are passed down over many generations, there are often differences in parenting styles, expectations and techniques from one generation to the next. There are multiple — and sometimes complex — issues at play in the dynamics between grandparents, parents and children, including the grandparents’ shift in role from parent to grandparent, and the parents’ shift in role from son or daughter to parent advocating for his or her own child. How important is it that there is consistency across multiple settings? Do parents and grandparents need to have the same rules and expectations?

Different People, Different Settings, Different Rules

It is not uncommon for parents and grandparents to disagree on disciplinary topics such as setting limits and expectations of manners. Some parents say grandparents are too lenient and let too much slide, while others feel they are too strict, unforgiving and demanding of conformity. Does this matter?

A Sense of Safety

As a general rule, children in any setting, whether they are at home, at a relative’s house or at school, need to have a feeling of safety — not only in the sense of physical safety, but also that those who are caring for them have their best interests at heart. Does the child feel safe when she is in Grandma’s care, even though Grandma makes her say “please” and “thank you”? Can a child comfortably adapt to Grandpa raising his voice when play becomes too rambunctious, even though yelling is something the child’s parents wish to avoid? If the relationships your child has with relatives are ones in which he or she feels safe and cared for, differences in how behaviors are handled will likely not hinder your child’s development. In fact, the differences will enrich your child’s development as he or she learns how to engage in all of these various types of relationships.

Adaptability to Various Settings

As children mature, they adapt and modify their behavior depending on the setting they are in. Running and throwing balls are acceptable activities in the backyard or at the park, but not in the living room or kitchen.

When children begin school, they learn that expectations at school are different from those at home. Children rarely have to be told, for example, that they don’t have to raise their hand to talk at the dinner table. Considering the development of adaptability as an important task of childhood, setting different expectations at a grandparent’s house provides yet another opportunity for children to adapt to various environments.

Differences in Understanding a Child’s Needs

There are times when a parents need to advocate for children who are having difficulty in adapting to different settings. For example, a child may have emotional or biological sensitivities to specific foods or around certain routines and behaviors, and tactics used by grandparents may not be helpful in working through the emotional interferences. Tactics such as shaming or coercing may cause so much distress for the child, he or she could feel unsafe.

When a Child Has Difficulty Adapting

Some parents may find that their child is having trouble with adaptability, and instead of the child adapting to the setting, environmental modifications and adjustments are needed in order to ensure the child’s sense of safety and ability to be successful. When parents feel that they are  micromanaging the school and care environments in order to maintain stability for their child, a higher level of support and intervention may be needed. The guidance of a mental health professional may be helpful in determining the underlying causes of the difficulties.


The Lucy Daniels Center is a nonprofit agency in Cary that promotes the emotional health and well-being of children and families. Visit lucydanielscenter.org to learn more.

 

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December 2017

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Reynolds Theater, Duke University
125 Science Dr.
Durham, NC  27708
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Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
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Cost: $25/adult, $15/student

Where:
Burning Coal Theatre
224 Polk St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919-834-4001
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Cost: $1/person

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Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cary Ballet students presents a condensed version of the holiday story for younger audiences. Join Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends on a...

Cost: $21-$25

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
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Build a LEGO menorah, discover chocolate making and enjoy games from 3-4:45 p.m. at the Apex Community Center. At 5 p.m., a menorah lighting and fire show take place at 220 N. Salem Street in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Apex
, NC


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Cost: $26/adult, $22/student

Where:
Stewart Theatre, N.C. State University
Raleigh, NC


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Athens Drive High School Auditorium
1420 Athens Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Cary Ballet students presents the holiday story of Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. The Raleigh Boychoir's Resident...

Cost: $21-$25

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
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Cost: $10 children 3-18, $12 adults. At the door: $12 children 3-18, $15 adults

Where:
Beth Meyer Synagogue Social Hall
504 Newton Road
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Beth Meyer Preschool
Contact Name: Michelle Panek
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Stewart Theatre, N.C. State University
Raleigh, NC


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3801 Hillsborough St, Suite 113,
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Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: $10.00/raffle ticket

Where:
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7208 Falls of Neuse Road, #201
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Terramor Homes
Telephone: 919-810-2504
Contact Name: Rebecca Newsome
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Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Community Center
73 Hunter St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Telephone: 919-249-3402
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Cost: $26/adult, $22/student

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Stewart Theatre, N.C. State University
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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2000 Fearrington Village Center
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
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Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: $5/member, $8/nonmember

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2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: $5/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

More information

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Cost: $5/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $15 and up

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Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
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Cost: $16/child

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St.Clair
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $6/child

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
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Cost: Free with admission

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Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
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228 W. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
Millbrook United Methodist Church
1712 E. Millbrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: CRLStudios
Telephone: 919-889-9332
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Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
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View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come experience O'Henry's classic Christmas tale “The Gift of the Magi." Be transported back to the Roaring '20s in...

Cost: $25

Where:
Sonorous Road Theatre
3801 Hillsborough St, Suite 113,
Raleigh, NC   27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family to this witty and warm journey through a lifetime of Christmases as Scrooge finally finds redemption, charity and love. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Kenan Theatre
120 Country Club Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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