Why Do Grandparents Treat Grandchildren Differently
As the youngest of three brothers, I always felt like I got the short end of the stick when it came to how my grandparents treated us.
My older brothers were clearly the favorites – my grandparents always made sure to get them bigger and better gifts for birthdays and holidays.
They would rave about their latest accomplishments and achievements, while I felt lucky if my grandparents even remembered mine.
It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I started to understand the difference in treatment. When my first son was born, I immediately fell in love with him in a way I never thought possible. I wanted to spoil him rotten and give him the world.
My second and third kids? Well, the newness had worn off a bit by then. I still loved them fiercely, of course, but that biased grandparent gene had already kicked in for the firstborn.
Now that my own kids are grown with children of their own, I see myself following in my grandparents’ footsteps. I find myself fawning over my eldest grandson and obsessing over his every move and milestone.
His younger sister? I absolutely adore her, but I’m not nearly as over the moon.
The difference in how grandparents treat their grandkids is unfair at times, but I understand it now. The first grandchild feels extra special and elicits a proud reaction, unlike subsequent grandkids.
7 Reasons My Parent Treats Her Grandchildren Differently
- Availability Of Time: My mom said as she gets closer to retirement age, and their children become adults themselves, she finds that she has more time to spend with their grandchildren. While I might think that this would lead to more spoiling and less discipline, she is careful to make sure her grandkids don’t get too pampered.
- She Sees Them As Individuals: My mother said she sees her grandkids as individuals, rather than simply extensions of her. This allows her to be more patient and understanding with them, even when they misbehave. Additionally, because she is not raising their grandchildren full-time, they can afford to be a bit more relaxed about certain things
- An Opportunity to Correct Past Mistakes: She said when she was much younger, she always blamed her kids (Us ) for all of the errors. But as she became more mature and got older, she realized she didn’t need to be strict or harsh with young children. So, from her own experience, she felt she was actually doing better as a grandmother than a mother. She went further to explain to me that she experienced tough life when growing which affected her method of parenting. So this is an opportunity for her to correct her mistakes and be an excellent grandmother.
- Young Grandkids gives undivided attention: Grandkids often have more time to spend with their grandparent and can give undivided attention.
- Different perspectives on life: Another reason is that grandparents can offer a different perspective than parents. They have lived longer and experienced more of life, so they can offer sage advice and wisdom to their grandchildren.
- Grandparents simply love spending time with their grandchildren and seeing them happy. They take great joy in watching them grow and learn new things.
- Fear of becoming a burden: As people age, they sometimes worry about becoming a burden on their loved ones. So, they may go out of their way to be helpful and generous to their grandchildren in order to ease this fear.
Do grandparents love their grandkids more than their own kids?
- Grandparents often have more time, patience and emotional bandwidth to dote on grandkids than they did when raising their own children. They are usually less stressed and overwhelmed than when they were younger parents. This can allow them to focus more attention and affection on grandkids.
- Grandparents get to enjoy the fun parts of kids without as much responsibility. They can spoil them and be playful, then give them back to the parents when they get fussy or difficult. This can make the grandparent-grandchild relationship feel more lighthearted.
- There may be an element of “second chance” with grandkids if grandparents feel they made mistakes with their own kids. They try to right wrongs and forge stronger connections.
- On the other hand, the parental bond is unique and profound. Grandparents may love their grandkids deeply, but the relationship with their own children is lifelong and shaped by the intensity of raising them.
- Much depends on the individuals and family dynamics involved. Some grandparents end up closer with their adult children than grandchildren due to proximity, shared history, etc.