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How to Deal with Other People Breaking Your Parenting Rules

We’ve all been there. You’ve worked for days, weeks or months with your toddler on their behaviour only for the grandparents, nursery staff or fellow parents to swoop in and undermine your authority by changing the rules. It can be extremely frustrating when all of your hard work goes down the drain because others don’t respect your parenting style.

While other people will likely have your child’s best intentions at heart, that doesn’t mean the outcome is going to be all rosy. There’s a big difference, though, between others operating a slightly different style of authority to your own and actually undermining your methods.

Choose Your Battles

For example, we all know that kids are going to get a little bit more spoilt when they visit grandma’s house. They may have extra sweet treats or new toys to play with – as long as it doesn’t go overboard, then it’s usually no harm done. It’s up to you to pick which battles are worth fighting.

But then there are those situations where other people believe that they know what is best for your child and will assert their authority even when you protest against it. This can be confusing and exasperating for both you and your child. In the case of milestones, a lack of consistency may often lead to setbacks.

This often happens with grandparents when they “baby” the child more than their parents would, by – for example – being a little more lax about toilet training because they don’t want to encourage the child in something they might feel uncomfortable about.

As each milestone is based around your child’s growing independence, they may lose confidence if they feel like they’re being pulled in a few different directions. Ultimately, this may lead to regression or acting up, particularly when it comes to milestones such as potty training which are often very sensitive for young children.

Cool, Calm and Collected 

So how can you deal with this issue? The first key point is to never laugh it off. Parenting is difficult enough without the background noise. While you may struggle with confronting people, especially your in-laws or a new member of staff at nursery, and resort to nervous laughter or making the whole situation a little more light-hearted just to get it over with, that won’t be effective in the long run. It’s essential that you take it seriously otherwise nobody else will and nothing will change.

Keep a cool head, be respectful and try to keep emotions out of it. If things become too heated or upsetting, you risk future conflict and an unfinished conversation where your respect may have been undermined even further.

Stick to the facts and make sure that you communicate exactly what you are concerned about in a clear concise way so that the other people understand what is familiar to your child.  Potty Training has come such a long way in the last 20 years, it is understandable that older generations who may have had success in different methods, do not understand the way you are Potty Training today.

When deciding on a nursery school for children who are not yet potty trained, it would be wise to discuss, with them, the structure and potty training methods they have adopted. This will allow you to synchronise your efforts before you start your home training, to ensure that when your child starts to attend nursery it will be familiar. After all, having a large number of children at a nursery will require a uniformed approach to this issue - various training methods directed by different parents is clearly unworkable; therefore, a little communication and adaption of methods will go a long way for your child.

Sometimes consistency can come in the form of objects – such as the Potty Training Chart and Door Hanger. You can buy another set of these and a Family Seat for the grandparents’ home to give your child that sense of stability and make it much easier for everyone to follow your rules.

Nip it in the Bud

The earlier you deal with the situation, the less negative impact it will have, and the likelihood is you can nip it in the bud. Children are fast learners but they will also be able to adapt back to their regular behaviours and habits as taught by you, the parent, if the confusing stage only lasts a short while.

Finally, we would like to advise you to always present a unified front with your partner both to outsiders and to your own children. This will avoid any confusion both inside and outside the home.


The Family Seat Progress Chart and Door Hanger are a great way to set up a rewards-based system for potty training. Every Family Seat comes complete with these potty-training essentials and a 10-Year Guarantee.

For advice on any aspect of potty training and for any help purchasing a Family Seat, email our team at . Family Seat supports the children’s communication charity I CAN, who are experts in helping children to develop the language, speech and communication skills that they need to thrive in our 21st-century world.  We donate 50p to I CAN on each and every seat purchased through the official Family Seat website.

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