Grandma is too helpful

How to set up boundaries with a live-in grandparent

Q: I am a single parent who lives with my seven-year-old daughter as well as my mother, who is undergoing cancer treatment. Mom is always jumping in to make my daughter’s bed, clean her room or help with her homework. I know she means well, but I feel she is undermining my attempts to teach my daughter independence and responsibility. Any suggestions?

A: Your mother needs a role in the house. Sit down with her and let her know how pleased you are that she is able to help you. Then find some tasks to designate as hers alone. It doesn’t matter what — gardening, cooking or ironing. She wants to do her share.

Then you can ask her to help you teach your daughter to become increasingly independent and responsible. Point out that you don’t clean her room or do her homework with her because you want your daughter to become a capable young person.

You could also recruit your mother to teach your daughter some life skills, such as baking or sewing. Once your mother knows that she herself has some responsibility in the house, she will find it easier to let your daughter do her own work.