Extended family dynamics are complex, especially around discipline, says Mariella Frostrup. Try to step back and allow these relationships to take their course
The dilemma I’m facing a difficult situation with my retired parents and two young children. When I had my first child my parents doted on him, but since my second they’ve transferred their affection and patience to my daughter. While they’ll happily indulge her – even her tantrums – they now have little time for their older grandchild and bat away his frequent requests to play with him, preferring to scroll on their phones or read the papers.
Our son has picked up on the disparity and has started acting up whenever they come to stay. They expect impeccable behaviour from him and are quick to tell him off in a shaming way that I’m not comfortable with. I did raise this once on a never-to-be-repeated family holiday last year, reminding them both that he was very little, but was met with total silence.