Sunday, April 11, 2010

Even Steven

If you are constantly spoiling one grandchild over another (with gifts, or attention and affection), you need to stop, because you may inadvertently be causing a rivalry amongst your grandchildren as well as your children, and that likely isn’t your intention. Not to say you should feel guilty because you bought one grandchild an ice cream cone when you went to the store, or even a toy, but maybe think about tossing some money into a jar for each of your other grandchildren, or keep track of it and when you get to spend time with the other grandchildren take them out shopping with you and get them something - even if it is only an ice cream cone. On the other hand, if it is attention and affection that is not being shared equally, consider why that is. Are you trying your best to keep connected with each of your grandchildren? If distance is part of the problem, are you calling your grandchild or sending them a card when something special is happening in their life and you can't be there, or even sending a card when there is no reason?

Of course, it is possible that you get along with one grandchild over another because of personalities, age, gender, closeness of homes – but please keep in mind that your actions towards one grandchild over another could cause problems not just with your grandchildren, but for more generations of families than you think. If, you don’t get along with one of your children and decide to keep that riff going, that’s your decision, but don’t take that out on your grandchildren; they are innocent bystanders. In some cases, you might think that some of your children/grandchildren need more help than others, and that may be why you are spending more time with them, or money on them, but don’t take for granted that the others will know or understand your reasons. You may say that you don’t have to explain your actions, but when you don’t, people come to their own conclusions on why you are doing things for one and not the other (ie, you like the other person better), and resentment will follow...

My husband’s parents have always given equally to each of their grandchildren, in every way – which I think is terrific. On my family’s side, there definitely was no money to buy material things, but my mother gave her love and attention equally and unconditionally to all of her grandchildren. Even though I was out West when my children were growing up, when I did come home or they came to visit, I knew they loved my children just as much as the others just by the way they acted with them. Maybe you don’t have positive examples in your life, but it’s up to you to change things if that’s the case...

So, if you are thinking of buying that expensive gift for little Johnny or maybe you are attending functions for him and not the others, just think about whether it is going to cause problems if one of the other grandchildren finds out about it (and usually they do). If the answer is yes, then I would reconsider my actions - or try to figure out how you can make things fair for everyone.

It doesn’t take much to be a special grandparent, in fact, it takes something that is very easy, and not expensive, to give - your Love!


  1. I just wish my kids grandmother was involved in their lives. She has disowned us. Sorry to bring you down, but it just reminded me. Praise God for good grandmothers like you.

  2. That is so sad for everyone. "Life is way too short", is my motto. I hope that things improve someday and that everyone gets to enjoy a wonderful grandparent/grandchild experience. Lynn

  3. My mother-in-law invested most of her time, money (no shortage) and affection on her daughter's children and her daughter, all but ignoring her sons and their families. She gave very little to her sons' children. Then, sadly, my sister-in-law passed away from cancer. After the death of their mother the children naturally became closer to their Dad's family as they were the family they saw most often. Now mom is left very lonely and not feeling a part of the family, even though we try. This is another really good reason not to ignor part of your family. Our children love her of course, but they just don't feel that attachment you get from heartfelt attention from your grandparents. And our children definitely noticed the different way they were treated from how their cousins were treated. Nana was always praising any little thing the cousins did and never said much about our children's accomplishments, which were every bit as good. My husband was hurt by this as well. We plan to give equal attention to both of our children and their families.

  4. At least it sounds like generations to follow won't be treated the same way and that's a good thing.