Presenting your parent with "terms" regarding the grandchildren

Psychologist Joshua Coleman, PhD talks about setting limits for your child's grandparents, when they abused or neglected you as a child
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Presenting your parent with "terms" regarding the grandchildren

So a lot of people want to know if their kids are going to be okay around their parents. So they were raised by parents who they felt either criticized by or yelled at or neglected or misunderstood. They may find their parents aren't very psychological and they have a lot of concerns about their parents spending any time with their kids. And this is often an enormous conflict because a lot of these parents, not all, but many of them have matured, they've grown up and they may have done their own therapy and they feel so hurt and insulted when their kids now say, "Well, we don't really trust you to spend time with out children." So I think it's one of those conversations that if you're the adult child and you want to set limits on your parents participation with their grandchildren, you should try to do it in as loving, empathic way as possible because you should know that they're going to feel really upset and hurt by (a) you're saying that you don't trust them with your kids and (b) there's just going to be limits on how much time they spend with their kids. It's reasonable, I think, for you to just settle this with your parents but it's probably not the first conversation you should have. I don't think you should start a conversation with your parents complaining about how they were as parents with limits on them spending time with your children. I think you should have a lot of conversations before then about whatever complaints that you've had and doing that, in this friendly, loving, kindly way as possible, give them the opportunity to either repair or be empathic. But that said, if you parent isn't going to be that way, then it is reasonable for you to set limits on your parents. Now some parents want to know, "Well, is it even going to be good for my kids to be around my parents if I can't stand them? Are they doing to pick up on that?" I mean in general, the research on grandparents is that grandparents actually do a lot of good. And a lot of people are much better grandparents than they were parents. They don't have the stress of parenting, their kids are raised - their not worried about money - and there's a lot of people that can be very competent as grand parents, very loving and that could actually be healing to the family as well. Some adult children say that they feel cared about seeing their parent being a better grandparent to their children than they were to them. So it opens the door. So I wouldn't want any particular adult child to be so fond about this that they're not open to other kinds of possibilities.
ALL PARENTS, Family Life

Psychologist Joshua Coleman, PhD talks about setting limits for your child's grandparents, when they abused or neglected you as a child


Expert Bio

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Joshua Coleman, PhD

Author & Psychologist

Dr. Coleman is a psychologist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and Co-Chair of the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-partisan organization composed of leading sociologists, historians, psychologists and demographers dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American families. He has lectured at Harvard University and The University of California at Berkeley and blogs on parent-adult child relationships for the U.C. Berkeley publication, Greater Good Magazine, the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

Dr. Coleman is frequently contacted by the media for opinions and commentary about changes in the American family. He has been a frequent guest on the Today Show, NPR, and The BBC, and has also been featured on Sesame Street, 20/20, Good Morning America, PBS, AARP,  America Online Coaches,  and numerous news programs for FOX, ABC, CNN, and NBC television. His advice appears often in The New York Times, The Times of London, Fortune, Newsweek, The Chicago Tribune, Slate, Psychology Today, U.S. World and News Report, Parenting Magazine, The Baltimore Sun and many others.

He has served on the clinical faculties of The University of California at San Francisco, The Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology, and the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters and has written four books:  When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don't Get Along (HarperCollins) The Marriage Makeover: Finding Happiness in Imperfect Harmony (St. Martin's Press); The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework (St. Martin's Press); and Married with Twins: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Marital Harmony. His books have been translated into Chinese, Croatian, and Korean, and are also available in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. He is formerly a contributing editor to Twins Magazine.

 Dr. Coleman is a sought-after public speaker on topics related to the family. He is also co-editor, along with historian Stephanie Coontz of the yearly online volume, Unconventional Wisdom: News You Can Use, a compendium of noteworthy research on the contemporary family, gender, sexuality, poverty, and work-family issues.  He runs a popular webinar series for estranged parents and a free newsletter for parents, The Coleman Report.

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