grandfather playing with granddaughter

Creating Healthy Ties: Setting Boundaries as a Grandparent

According to a recent study, 58% of Americans have trouble saying “No” to other people. Setting and holding boundaries as a grandparent is important for a couple of main reasons. Boundaries are a catalyst to healthy relationships and emotional health. Good emotional health can contribute to a long and fulfilling life.

Overall, setting limits and fostering open communication helps protect your relationships from resentment, contempt and ultimately unsatisfaction. Not to mention, setting good boundaries with your kids sets a healthy example for generations to come.

We’ve compiled a couple boundary categories you can explore to improve the quality of your relationships.


This is a big one and can be a big point of frustration. With busy work and social schedules, appointments and little kiddos running around, time and availability coordination can be difficult. Creating a steady communication flow regarding availability can help you spend more time with your family on your terms. Availability boundaries can help both of you meet your expectations. It can be tempting to overextend yourself to help your kids or grandkids, but doing this too often can put strain on your bond and cause resentment or unnecessary anger.


Setting limits around your personal finances also helps foster healthy relationships with your family members. If you help support your family financially, set guidelines and expectations that are clear. Another way to foster an open dialogue about finances is to share your generational wealth distribution plan. Keeping the conversation open and honest allows for free-flowing communication an even healthy conflict.

Gift Giving

This one comes up a lot around the holidays. Be clear about your desires around the holidays while respecting your family’s wishes as well. Do you prefer time together over material gifts or do you really want something new? Do what you can to avoid downplaying your needs and speak up about what makes your holiday special. On the other hand, be kind and considerate when your family shares their desires for their respective families. If they ask for you to avoid purchasing many gifts for their kiddos, honor their wishes. Open communication can help set and meet gift expectations to make the holidays an enjoyable and memorable time.


Boundaries around your emotions may feel a little more difficult because it requires a little bit of vulnerability. Maybe you’ve had a rough week health-wise or you’ve spent a lot of time with a friend grieving their loved one and you just don’t have the emotional capacity to be supportive. Communicating your emotional capacity can also be important to creating healthy bonds with friends and family. Trying to reach past your emotional limit may actually come across as insincere, so don’t be afraid to share your emotional bandwidth.

On the flip side, do what you can to be aware when your kids or grandkids are setting a boundary with you. Mutual respect and close, healthy relationships can be built upon honoring the boundary being set with you. According to a recent study, Gen Z and Millennials are the worst at saying “No”. If you have kids or grandkids in these generations, be aware they may be working hard to communicate their needs to you.

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