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Reality Check: Too-Helpful Grandparents

My parents have been living with us since our baby was born. It's great, but they ignore us and do things their way. How do we get them to respect us?

It won't be easy, but you have to sit them down and lay down some rules -- the first one, that though you're grateful for their help and their child-rearing experience, the ultimate decisions are yours. Understandably, nobody wants to tell Mom and Dad, the trustworthy free helpers, to butt out. And you may be tempted to snap "Butt out!" because you're tired of the intrusions (and because of the new baby!). But resist the urge -- you risk losing the help and, more important, hurting the relationship. Being clear about what will go on in your home and your life is part of being a grown- up. I always told my mom, "I'm open to suggestions, but I have to do it my way to figure out what's best for me." The news may sting for them, but if you shower them with the thanks and praise they deserve, your household will be the better for it.

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