- Let's talk about extended family."
I read too often about people wanting to parent peacefully or planning to home school/unschool their kids and meeting opposition from their own parents and extended family. We've been there, I know how it feels. I also see so many suggestions to cut such family members out of the picture. I'd like to throw my two cents on the subject out there.
Yes, there are so...me people who are abusive. There are some people who are so closed minded they will never want to try to understand what you are doing. Yes, probably cutting people like that out of your life will be best. But I feel like most people genuinely love their grand kids and genuinely want the best for them. Every child deserves as much love as they can get and I believe it is worth it, for your children's sake, to try to work with grandparents like this.
Acknowledge their concerns. Thank them for loving your children enough to voice their concerns. Firmly remind them that you also love your children and want the very best for them. Share some resources with them should they choose to research the subjects themselves. Stand strong in your decisions. But just as when peacefully parenting your children, try to see things from your parents' point of view and address the needs behind their behaviors. Perhaps they are feeling anxious at your breaking away from the norm. Perhaps they are feeling insecure with their own parenting choices of long ago. Perhaps they feel judged or even guilty. Perhaps they feel at a loss in how to interact with their grand kids 'appropriately'.
It can be difficult to change our own ways and peacefully parents our children, let alone try to peacefully parent our parents as well. Try to stay patient. Try to offer suggestions and ideas. For example, Josh's grandma was at a loss for how to interact with him. In her experience children were made to sit and interact with their elders, out of respect. As we didn't make Josh do that, she felt disconnected and disrespected. We suggested she talk with Josh directly about her feelings, feeling that their relationship together was their business and not ours to dictate. We also reminded her of some interests they both share and suggested connecting with him over those activities.
Over time, she's really taken our words to heart. She's even better about not saying "good job" to Bug than I am! She and the boys have a blossoming relationship, and I feel my relationship with her has grown as well. In a world already so disconnected, please don't give up on anyone without giving them a fighting chance.