What if Extended Family is Negatively Influencing My Children?

I receive questions from time to time via email or through Facebook messanger. Earlier in the week I was asked the question below. I have dealt with this situation on several different occasions; most likely because I’m simply stricter than most and I take my job as a mother very seriously. At the same time, I’m thankful that the Lord has brought a few wonderful family members into our lives through the years. My mother-in-law is a gem!

From a reader:

“I have a situation where my elderly mother and my sister are interfering with my grandchildren in a negative manner. I am asking for guidance on handling this in a godly way. Right now, I have been so DONE that I am no longer interested in speaking to either of them. This has been going on for years. Any advice or resources you could recommend? Thank you very much.”

I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this. This really is a tough situation, and I have been there. While it is very important to love and forgive others, scripture teaches that we will be held accountable for the influences we place in front of our children (or grandchildren, in this case).

In our family, we set certain boundaries that we request extended family members to follow. If a family member chooses to listen to our rules regarding our children, than we allow them into our lives, regardless of what they have done in the past. But if they choose not to, or if they continue to belittle our parenting methods, than we do not. This is what we have done personally, and of course I think you should be the one to decide if drastic measures need to be taken. Of course, we should exhibit a measure of gentleness and kindness in our dealings with others. I didn’t handle a similar situation very kindly the past, and I needed to apologize for my actions. While I didn’t allow the offender back into my children’s lives, I apologized for my bad attitude during the situation.

*As a side note, if children have been abused by a family member in the past, please take their safety and feelings into account before allowing the offending family member back into their lives, even if an apology was given.

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