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Readers Respond: How Do You Deal With Parents and Grandparents Having Different Beliefs?

Responses: 8

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In the past, adult children didn't stray far from the family home, and it was rare for them to embrace different beliefs from those held by their parents. Today we live in a global culture. Many times parents have beliefs that are very different from those of the grandparents. Religious beliefs are one example, but families may differ in many areas. This can be confusing for children, especially for school-age children, who are in a prime time for character development. Do the different generations of your family hold different beliefs? How does your family deal with differences?

Not picking

I have a mother-in-law who is trying to force us to go to her church. She brings up her LDS beliefs all the time, sent a missionary to our home and constantly tries to get our children to do activities that involve her beliefs. I'm strongly against this! I've asked nicely and calmly. Also I've asked in a very stern way. She doesn't seem to get it. So frustrated! Her son--my husband--does NOT want anything to do with the church. Can anyone help me? Now she is threatening to have my children baptized.
—Guest ALA

We Have Caring in Common

When differences first came up in the way my children's grandparents observed their religion, I explained to them that "this is what we believe" and that there were lots of differences among people's formal religions. But we have our family's health and happiness in common, and this love and commitment brings us together more than how we formally observe our beliefs.
—Guest JanB74

Blessed With Unity

In our family, we are truly blessed that both my husband's family and my family share our faith base. That unity has been an encouragement during challenging times and a way for us to bond as we celebrate traditions on a much deeper level. Even though we have the same faith-base, we do all attend different institutions, but we choose not to focus on those detailed differences. Instead we place our focus on the points of commonality in our faith.
—Guest JBMomma

Patience, patience, patience

One set of grandparents lives about an hour away, the other five states. So since the kids don't see either too often, I do my best to just let things lie if I'm not thrilled with something that is said or done. It was hard at first, but now it's definitely gotten easier. It helps that my husband is a good venting board and that he and I are on the same page! I also remind myself that my children's grandparents absolutely adore and love their grandchildren and only want what is best for them too, even if it is different than what their father and I would like.
—Guest Amanda

We've Found Acceptance

My side of the family is over-the-top emotional about everything. They send cards on every holiday and gifts just because. The other side of the family is the extreme opposite. They never send cards. They don't bring presents. They are involved in their grandkids' lives but seem emotionally detached. We used to get disgruntled over our differences. But 10 years and 2 beautiful babies later, we've found the best way to teach the kids is through acceptance of our differences.
—Guest MomOfBoys

Some Differences

While there are some differences between our beliefs and those of our children, we share the same beliefs about caring for one another and our world. Any differences are accepted and respected, and we don't try to impose our beliefs on our grandchildren.
—Guest Mama Liz

Discipline Differences

We are raising our children with positive parenting -- focusing on encouragement rather than praise and setting high expectations rather than standing over the kids forcing them to work. My parents (who live with us) are of the "good girl" and reward variety, and it's like nails on a black board for me every time they speak up.
—MdMomof3

No Parent Involvement

Right now there is no parent in the picture for the two we are raising. We are instilling in them our values for family life, such as honesty and no stealing, among many other values they will need to learn. We do have other grandchildren. What we do there is tell them what we think is right and let them decide what is right or wrong. If they decide wrong, then we gently guide them to the right decision. We also encourage whatever thing they love best to do, whether it be art, math or reading. Each one has their own special interest, so we stick to that one with them. It seems to work for our family, and the parents of the other grandchildren love how we manage it, and how we do so without upsetting what they want to teach them themselves.
—Guest Janet

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