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“Spoiling” Grandchildren

Grandparents often freely indulge their grandchildren. It seems that spoiling is just a built-in part of the grandparent-grandchild relationship. However, some parents complain they’re not treated as well by their parents as their parents treat their grandchildren. It often doesn’t seem fair.

It’s important that grandparents be aware of this phenomenon and monitor their inclination to over-spoil their grandchildren. Grandparents should listen to the parents’ requests for support in holding their children to the rules of the household. Sometimes grandparents can forget what it was like to be a parent.

Some Do’s

Do praise your child for being a good parent and tell the parent you are proud of him or her. Do tell your child that you love the grandchildren because they are a product of them.

Some Don’ts

Don’t overindulge by giving the grandchildren expensive gifts their parents cannot afford to give. “Grandparents who strap themselves to give expensive presents to youngsters may expect nothing less than the moral influence rightly belonging to parents.” (Modern Maturity, Feb/March 1986). Don’t undermine the parents’ rules for bedtime, sweets, television, etc. It’s helpful to keep in mind what it was like being a parent.

Many grandparents spoil their grandchildren. That is one of the pleasures of grandparenting. Even so, it is wise to exercise restraint when there is a risk of alienating the grandchildrens’ parents.


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