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Being On the Same Page, at Home and Away


We love our 7-year-old grandson, but when he comes to our home to stay with us for the weekend, he doesn’t listen to us and does whatever he wants. We know his parents have set rules for him to follow at home, and that they do a good job of teaching him to follow them. It just seems that when he stays with us, he thinks he should get a free pass because he’s with grandpa and grandma. How can we change our grandson’s bad behavior when he’s at our house?


This information is included in our Guide to Parenting for Today's Family. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

Regardless of what they might say or do, children want and need consistency and structure in their lives. This is true whether they are at home with their parents or elsewhere. That’s why it’s so important for parents and grandparents to be on the same page when it comes to house rules, discipline and addressing both positive and negative behaviors.

Here are a few quick tips that can help improve the situation with your grandson:

  • Talk with your grandson’s parents about the rules and expectations for behavior they have at home. Then adapt those same rules and expectations at your house, and write them down as a list you can display on the refrigerator. 
  • The next time your grandson visits, sit down with him and go over your rules. Explain to him that they are same ones he has at home and that you expect him to follow your rules when he is at your house. 
  • Ask your grandson if he understands and let him ask questions.
  • Set up a plan for rewarding your grandson for good behavior and giving him consequences when he misbehaves. Pattern the rewards and consequences off what your grandson’s parents use at home.
  • Rewards might include: A trip to the park, playing a board game together, baking cookies together, making a craft project or going for a drive.
  • Consequences might include: a time-out, not being able to do something your grandson wants to do, putting a favorite toy up on the shelf for a short time or doing an extra chore.

It’s also important that you consistently teach your grandson the skill of respecting authority. Explain that the adults in his life – parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches – set the rules. The rules are meant to keep him safe and out of trouble, and to help him learn good behaviors. Help him understand that good things happen when he uses good behaviors, and that following the rules is important no matter where he is.

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