It’s been almost two years since a reader asked me the question, “What do I do when grandparents spoil my child?” Well, those scenarios can vary quite a bit, but today I’ll spill the beans on what I do when grandparents spoil my child. I hope this helps some mom who’s struggling with an overwhelming amount of emotions in this difficult area!
It didn’t take much time for me to see the happiness that filled a grandparent’s heart when he saw his grandchild for the first time. There were visual expressions of amazement, joy and thankfulness.
You could almost hear them say, “Finally! I’m a grandparent!”
But, I am not a grandparent yet. I am a mom. And moms come with routines, rules and even expectations.
It was hard to decipher the grandparent’s roles in my life when my son would
come home from his grqndparents’ house with a tummy ache because he had consumed chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies and chocolate milk. At my house, if he got chocolate twice a month, it was a real treat!
He would also throw fits because he had been pampered for several hours. In about one day, however, he was back to normal.
I finally, in a very kind way, expressed my frustrations to my parents. I told them that my son’s system was not geared to handle loads of sugar within a span of five hours. I also relayed to them that he was consistently coming home with a bad attitude because he “ruled the roost” when he was at their house.
My dad replied with a chuckle, “Well, that’s what grandparents are for.”
Fast forward several years and I have five more children and live in Southeast Asia — far away from grandparents.
There has been no one to spoil my child with cookies, chocolate milk, movies, toys or candy. No one came to visit to “see the baby.” No one took my kids shopping to pick out a special item. And that has been hard.
I learned that part of what my dad said was true.
If my child only gets to see his grandparents a few days a week and they give him cookies, toys or other fun gadgets, it’s not going to hurt him.
Remember what I said before? He was back to normal in a few hours.
Once he realized that grandparents’ rules are not the same as parents’ rules, things would easily switch back to normal.
So, when grandparents spoil my child I let it go.
I also view grandparents as a special gift to my children.
Not everyone has grandparents that are involved in their lives. Not everyone has grandparents who truly shower them with love, gifts and time. If your child has that, he has some wonderful gifts wrapped up in very loving, affectionate people. And your child will learn when he becomes an adult, that special people that love you for just being you are few and far between.
Now, there are times when I would speak up.
If your grandparents are caretakers for your children on a recurring basis, then yes, the spoiling can become detrimental.
A child who is spoiled on a daily basis will only develop negative, cranky, self-absorbed character traits that are very difficult to undo. Spoiling is good, in my opinion, in low doses, but in high doses it’s dangerous.
If I was in this situation, I would calmly sit down with the grandparents and explain my concern about the constant, daily spoiling of my child.
Again, only when I am calm and in control of my emotions.
I would also choose a time when everyone is calm and the grandparents are in a good mood. Timing is everything.
So my advice to the parent who wrote me several years ago (and yes I already responded privately) I would definitely say to take it easy on the grandparents if the spoiling is only a once per week or month spoiling. If it’s a daily one, then yes, you need to speak up.
But when you finally do speak up, be ready with reasons why you don’t want your child being consistently spoiled by a grandparent. Also, point out specific ways your child is being spoiled as well as the negative effects that you have witnessed.
Treading on grandparent ground is a touchy, sensitive place to tread. Tread gently, softly and wisely. Why? Because grandparent and grandchild relationships are special and one day you will be the grandparent. And on that day? You’ll want to buy the Spiderman gummies, the chocolate milk, the footballs and even the big, and crazy-fun trip to Disney World.
What are your thoughts on grandparents spoiling kids? How have you dealt with this sticky situation? Chat with me about it on Facebook or Instagram!