11 August 2020

Taking a positive approach to parenting (and grandparenting) – by Professor Matt Sanders

Posted in Parents & Carers / SU QLD / Training


There’s one type of family conflict that’s very common, but not often discussed in the media: parents and grandparents disagreeing. Fortunately, the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program® can offer some new ways to handle the problem. 

Commonly, conflict between parents and grandparents occurs when: 

  • Grandparents give the child extra treats or toys even when Mum or Dad has said “no”.  They may even feel that it’s their right to do so because day-to-day discipline is no longer their responsibility, and because they’re taking on some care duties. Parents may be surprised – especially comparing what they see now with their own memories of a stricter upbringing. 
  • Grandparents want to pass on their wisdom and experience in the form of frequent suggestions, but this can seem to the parent like constant criticism. Most parents don’t like unsolicited advice and therefore may not respond well.

Parents may feel annoyed and frustrated, or even disrespected, if grandparents don’t agree with their methods of child-rearing. And grandparents may feel upset because they’re just trying to be helpful, and want the best for their family.

It may be a relief to know you’re not the only one dealing with these kinds of problems. And there are ways to bridge some of the communication and expectation gaps, and help bring everyone onto common ground when it comes to managing children’s behaviour.

In a trial of a special Triple P program for grandparents, participants reported lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress, and (not surprisingly) fewer grandchild behaviour problems. Grandparents also said they felt more confident when having conversations about delicate parenting topics with parents, and this resulted in a better relationship with their own (adult) children.  

Adjusting to new roles takes time for everyone. A step in the right direction is to think about all doing a parenting course together, (parents and grandparents), to help everyone to agree on the basic issues. 

The Queensland Government is currently funding free access to Triple P across Queensland. Programs available include one-to-one, group, online and self-help. Check the Triple P parent site for more information: www.triplep-parenting.net 

* Many school chaplains are trained to deliver Triple P in Queensland schools. ISo If this is something you’re interested in, check with your local school chaplain to find out if they are a qualified Triple P trainer. 



Sarah Moore

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