Nature sometimes creates a child in the image of one of their grandparents. The resemblance may be physical or temperamental. A grandchild can have a similar personality to a grandparent or possess some of their same talents. When this happens, a grandparent can feel a strong attraction to the child, often to the detriment of their children and other grandchildren. When this occurs, grandparents should act carefully.
“Crazy’ about a grandchild.
Lottie, a 59-year-old grandmother is “crazy to a fault” about Evelyn, her 4-year-old granddaughter. But Lottie ignores Evelyn’s older sister and brother. When she comes to visit she brings one present for each of the children and 5 presents for Evelyn. “I can’t help it. I am nuts about Evelyn. I see myself in her. I am not happy about the situation. I feel bad for the other kids, but Evelyn is and always will be my number one grandchild,” said Lottie.
Joan, the mother of three, says, “My father is a male chauvinist. He always wanted a grandson. I have 3 daughters and now that my sister has a son, my kids never see their grandfather. He spends all his free time with my nephew. I feel as rejected as my daughters do.” Joan’s oldest daughter, Kyle, is 13-years-old. She misses her grandfather. “He just dropped out of sight when my cousin came along. Everyone knows it. We used to have fun, but I don’t see him much anymore.”
What about the “Unpicked/”
Children who aren’t favored by a grandparent suffer. 7-year-old Chris feels bad that “none of my grandparents picked me as their favorite. All my brothers and sisters got picked. They get to do things with a special grandparent and I don’t. I don’t know if I did something wrong.”
Although favoritism seems a benign issue, it can be hurtful to grandchildren and to parents who take the grandparental rejection personally. Grandchildren are viewed as a precious gift that parents give to grandparents. Parents want each of their gifts to be special and cherished. A child is eager for its grandparent’s attention. When such attention is not freely given or is given in greater abundance to a sibling or cousin, a child can be deeply hurt. Grandparents should be especially sensitive to giving all of their grandchildren equal time and love.
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