Can Grandparents Overstep Parenting Boundaries?

PHOTO Liz Pryor was chosen as GMAs new advice guru on Good Morning America.
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Liz Pryor of Studio City, Calif., is the recently-appointed GMA Advice Guru and she is here to help with life's tough questions. Read her responses to the viewer-submitted questions below!

Dear Liz,

Last summer, my adult son got into a verbal shouting match with his 16-year-old daughter while driving her home from work at 11:30 p.m. He booted her out of the car, took her cell phone and left her alone a mile from their house.

When I found out about it, I told him if he ever did that again, I'd come get his daughter even if it meant bringing the police. He hasn't talked to me since. Did I overstep as a grandparent?"

- Susan in Florida

Liz's Advice:

Dear Susan,

I can totally understand how incensed you would feel hearing about this confrontation. You are a loving, protective grandparent who thought your son's judgment could have endangered your granddaughter. The problem is certainly not in how you felt about it, it seems to be more in how you chose to handle it. It's so important to remember what it is you want to accomplish when you react to a situation as loaded as this one.

I imagine you wanted your son to know you didn't approve of how he handled it that evening, clearly. But you also probably wanted to feel assured he would never do this again. More than overstepping your boundaries, did you effectively help ensure this wouldn't happen again? If we re-played it, might you be able to figure out a way to let him know you didn't approve, and point out why it wasn't such a great idea?

Last summer since you've spoken to him? That's quite a long time. I'm guessing you are going to have to apologize for threatening your son. Explain to him what was going through your head, and admit you could have handled it differently. He will be likely to forgive you, if you present in a way that your greatest fault is that you love his daughter so much. Then, try and work on his tactics in a way you feel will be effective.

The fact that you would write to me and ask for advice leads me to believe you are open and willing to make efforts. Most importantly, I imagine you want to be in your son's life. You made a choice that wasn't the most productive. Fix it, get back in there, enjoy your family, and think it through more carefully next time.

Good Luck, Susan!

Your Questions Answered

Dear Liz,

What to do you do if your old boss whom you did not get along with says derogatory comments about you to your future employer if they call to do a reference check?

- Kendal in Washington

Liz's Reply:

Dear Kendal,

My thought on this: Don't worry until you have to. To try and play interference here could draw attention unnecessarily. I think if your new employer has questions for you, he will come to you.

I would say be prepared if that were to happen. Meaning, know what you will say if he does approach with information from the former boss. If he happens to share some concerns from the old job, don't get specific or give details. Try to keep your answers and explanations broad. It's simply unprofessional to share stories and experiences, unless of course he were to mention a specific event. Then indeed feel free to offer your side.

It is not uncommon, Kendal, for personalities to clash, and for people to rub one another the wrong way. Take that stance. Make sure to look him in the eye and remain confident.

Dear Liz,

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