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Whisky Delta

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Do you believe it is OK for grandparents to "spoil" their grandkids?

I hear it all over me and can't help to question it. "Grandparents are supposed to spoil the grandkids". I question this because i never grew up with this kind of relationship with my grandparents. I'm just trying to figure out if this is just a local thing that is passing around me or is it world wide thing going on here about it's the grandparents job to spoil their grandkids. Do we believe it is logical or right for all grandparents to spoil their grandchildren as much as possible? Are there any disadvantages? I'm under the impression that there is noting wrong with this today, is this right?

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Closing Statement from Whisky Delta

Thank all for your thoughts, input, and understanding with pleasure.

I'd like to highlight two comments From Edward Long and Barry Palmer that sum up this conversation:

I think it is important for grandchildren to see and hear the discussions/arguments that their grandparents have with their parents, especially about issues that directly affect them. It is important for children to learn that people with authority disagree with each other, and that we can settle disagreements without having hard feelings later. They should also learn that some rules are more important than others, and that bending a rule is not necessary the same as breaking it. It is very important for everyone in the family to have fun together.

Grandma and Grandpa cannot rightly undermine the authority of the parents by allowing what parents forbid. Nor can they encourage kids to violate parental policy. And, of course, health and safety issues must be obeyed. But anything other than that it's Katy bar the door. Anything goes. . . staying up past bedtime; an extra empty-calorie snack; departures from the normal routine; safe, fun stuff kids love to do. One set of parents is sufficient. Grandma and Grandpa play a different role than Mom and Dad. The chemistry changes when the kids are left at Grandma's and the parents hit the road. It's party time. No harm, no foul.



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    Oct 3 2013: Look......I ran across this cartoon......look at what can happen to kids.....What do you think of this?

    http://www.mommymoment.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/spoiled.jpg

    If I am not mistaken, the last frame of the cartoon is what should make us concerned.
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      Oct 4 2013: ...and the last frame is what I am referring to, my concern. Does this mean the child in the last frame is not loved? How would you explain this to the child? I imagine telling the child in the last frame gifts are means to having fun. They are not a necessity. What we do together is what is most important with or without the help of a gift/toy. On a parent or grand parent level, we shouldn't give a new toy just to keep them occupied for some time like the TV does (built in baby sitter). Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting we take part in 100% of the child's attention 24/7 either but everything in moderation.
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        Oct 4 2013: I figured that last frame is exactly what you are worried about.

        Let me tell you what I did when I noticed that inclination in my kids......the "taking grandparents for granted" inclination.

        I stopped it by sitting them down and stating that what their grandparents did for them and gave them were acts of love. But that in life one should not "expect" to be given anything.
        I am a parent that takes advantage of 'teachable moments'.......every time that I see a bad example, or a good example around me, I point it out, and we have conversations about them.

        My oldest did not have the trouble of taking the gramps for granted......but my youngest one struggled with it a little bit.....all children are different.

        But, I am a firm believer that sometimes we shake our heads and are unhappy about the way our kids act, but by the same token, we don't do anything about it. Disciplining children is all about educating them.....it is not yelling and screaming and time outs and hitting them. To raise thankful, giving individuals it takes effort and lots and lots of communication and a huge amount of love and patience.

        Hope I helped you. :)

        [Edited to remove typos]
  • Oct 3 2013: I agree with Edward to a point.

    I think it is important for grandchildren to see and hear the discussions/arguments that their grandparents have with their parents, especially about issues that directly affect them. It is important for children to learn that people with authority disagree with each other, and that we can settle disagreements without having hard feelings later. They should also learn that some rules are more important than others, and that bending a rule is not necessary the same as breaking it.

    It is very important for everyone in the family to have fun together.
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      Oct 4 2013: Every sentence is dead on. I couldn't agree more.
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    Oct 2 2013: Haven't you read the "Grandparents House Rules"?

    http://img0.etsystatic.com/001/1/5445311/il_570xN.368984368_kxbf.jpg

    What happens at grandma's, stays at grandma's.

    [Ed gives a balanced view of this topic]
    • Oct 3 2013: Lol,Mary,what a lovely grandparents House Rules:).I appreciate it a lot.
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        Oct 3 2013: My mom often said that as a grandma she viewed her grandchildren with 'pity'.......it hurt her to see how we disciplined them and expected certain behavior.....so out of pity, she was slack in things....too much sweets, and giving away money, and buying ice cream every day from the ice cream man......Even though I would say not to do it, she and my dad DID IT!!!

        It's ok, my kids are not spoiled, but boy, do they love their grandparents!!!!

        Now that my kids are older, my parents do not dote on them like they used to.
        In the end everything balances out.

        I think it's ok to be naughty grandparents, if the motivation is right.

        I'm looking forward to "spoiling" my grandkids when the time comes. :D

        http://images.essentialbaby.com.au/2012/07/12/3449772/grandma-spoiling-620x349.jpg
        • Oct 4 2013: Lol,Dear Mary,me too.I talked to my daughter,when she gets kids I will educate her kids with super grandmother's methods:)Lol...She said:mom,you have to wait a long time.I need to have a job and earn money by myself at first.I said:Yes yes...hahaahaha
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        Oct 4 2013: hahaha.....At the rate things are going around here, I have a long wait also!!

        In the meantime I can always spoil other little kids....adoptive grandchildren. :D
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    Oct 2 2013: Grandma and Grandpa cannot rightly undermine the authority of the parents by allowing what parents forbid. Nor can they encourage kids to violate parental policy. And, of course, health and safety issues must be obeyed. But anything other than that it's Katy bar the door. Anything goes. . . staying up past bedtime; an extra empty-calorie snack; departures from the normal routine; safe, fun stuff kids love to do. One set of parents is sufficient. Grandma and Grandpa play a different role than Mom and Dad. The chemistry changes when the kids are left at Grandma's and the parents hit the road. It's party time. No harm, no foul.
  • Oct 3 2013: Grandparents are a special gift some families have, usually for a relatively small portion of a child's life. When the opportunity exists for grandparents to share time with their grandchildren, how they spend this time, and what they choose to share with the child during this time pretty much up to them. Parents, as primary caregivers for the children, take a bit of a risk that grandparents may, or may not follow the regiment or acceptable behavior standards of the parents. Wisely, most parents accept this risk. The same risk exists wit baby sitters, daycare, boarding school, and after school programs, but there is much less chance that the children will be as loved or learn as much as they will with the grandparents.

    Grandparents offer the child several keys to understanding themselves. They offer a family history, they offer a perspective as to how parents grew up, events in their life, and often another adult perspective that will enrich the lives of the children in different ways from their normal life with their parents.

    Also, let's talk about spoiling. Spoiling with too much time and attention isn't really spoiling, it is just good parenting, or grand-parenting in this case. I think anything done by any adult to nurture, teach and mentor your kids in a loving environment is a good thing. Grandparents' house has different house rules, as will ANY place the kids go to spend time away from home. They will adapt and adjust to meet the rules of the different locations.

    I agree with Edward that grandparents should not intentionally undermine parental authority. I also agree parents rule should be law in the life of the child. However, I would hate to see kids not be allowed to take advantage of all that grandparents can offer because of a disagreement about behavior away from home. Usually the good so far outweighs the bad that the risk of behavior issues is usually negligible.
  • Oct 7 2013: Let me look at this in the standpoint of a grandparent. My experience with this problem is completely normal relationship. Both my son and my daughter have relatively stable marriage and have no conflict with each other. And also we as grandparents don't have any intention of butting into their education or discipline of their child.
    First, we live apart from our grandchildren. But they usually came to visit us once or twice a year. And we also visit them occasionally. All of our children and their spouses are in the health field, so both sides know that indulging in food and sweets is not desirable, and we respect their restrictions. We express our love on the grandchildren by other ways. For example, I started setting up couple of Roth IRA accounts in 1997, and deposit couple of thousand $ into them each year. I invest the money wisely, so I think that by the time my oldest granddaughter enter the college, there would be a nice sum for her education which probably will suffice to get her through college without a student loan at all and make her life easier without the load from paying back these loans. Two years ago I distributed two boxes of my coin and stamp collections to split 50-50 between the two granddaughters. Some of the coins are as old as minted in the early 1900s. When you give these collected items from the grandpa to the young kids, the value of such coins will tend to increase in the future, worth many ice cream cones.
    Let's define what is the meaning of "spoil". IMO, the kind of spoil by the grandparents is really relatively harmless as long as the gramps don't live with the kids most of the time. It is much more harmful in another kind of "spoil". A case in mind is the parenting of the new "liberal" parents; bad conduct be explained, not penalized. A son of my friend, who was left on his own, became a drug addict. When the school penalized the boy, the parents even protested to the school as "unfair" for their son. Now that's spoiled rotten!
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      Oct 5 2013: I feel ya 110%! I take it you don't have kids yet. Heads up honey. It's never about being independent though. People do need others in moderation and everyone is depended on someone else always. Where does your grandpa's food come from? Money?

      My children are very confused.
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    Oct 4 2013: Seen from which perspective? ;o)
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      Oct 5 2013: A democratic perspective, LOL! sarcasm

      .... let's not get too political here. :B
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        Oct 5 2013: From am democratic perspective it is not OK to spoil your grandkids. But that was obvious, wasn't it? :o)
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    Oct 4 2013: A grandson may think that grandfather is "spoiling" his life, when his grandfather stops him to go for a 'Rave Party' !!! Whisky Delta, do u want me to answer this ???
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      Oct 5 2013: I believe you are referring to sheltering a child if this is done excessively. However, have you ever noticed how much time the child spends with with the gift until the pleasure of having it or want is gone? Do you think this means anything? Is it a true sign of appreciation as well?
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    Oct 4 2013: Should a grandparent believe to win the love of a grandchild is to buy them every toy on the shelf (a surprise as in the cartoon Mary posted)? Does gift=I love you? See, gift here is proof so when I pass away you will know I loved you.
    • Oct 4 2013: No, but I do not think it is as simple as gift=love.

      How do grandparents keep from being excluded in the lives of their grandchildren when separated by distance? dysfunctional family situations such as divorce (in parent or grandparents marriage)? or just the desire of one parent to exclude them from the lives of their grandchildren?

      How do grandparents divide their time equally among grandchildren? Is the gift some sort of misguided attempt at balancing things?

      Is it gift=love, or something like gift=time I wish I could spend with you, and I know I can't?

      Spoiling grandchildren is perhaps something that can add some disharmony to a family unit, so it is unfortunate. However, if the parents feel it is creating an issue, I would think most grandparents would be receptive to the wishes of the parents if they sense what they are trying to do is adding stress to a child's family.

      This is a bit of a tangent to your post, but I can't tell you how many times I have heard of grandparents raising grandchildren in the past few weeks. When did this become acceptable? Grandparents as a back-up plan as a result of some family tradgedy is understandable, but parents just sending kids to live with grandparents? Seems irresponsible. Even the expectation among adult children that grandparents exist to provide childcare, finacial aid, or primary care for grandchildren is flawed, yet somehow accepted. Grandparents often do these things out of love, concern for a child or grandchild's well being, or because they are willing to sacrifice time or resources to make these things happen. However, they deserve the right to manage the quality of thier own lives "guilt free" relative to neglected responsibilities of their adult children. Some do, but many just accept the burden and smile, thinking the situation is some sort of collateral damage related to their inability to provide a perfect childhood for thier children.

      I think it is often more complex than gift=love.
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        Oct 5 2013: Your post has some highlights. In a divorce/separation circumstance...Should a parent be allowed to communicate with the grandparent of the ex ("but I can't tell you how many times I have heard of grandparents raising grandchildren in the past few weeks)? I am referring to this parent setting up an alternative to calling the other parent in order not to have time spent with his/her child out of an act of hate/power. I am absolutely shocked and floored family courts support this. I never knew this was ever even possible especially without evidence, proof, or accusation of abuse, neglect, or drug/alcohol addiction by the other parent. Bottom line: Should grandparents be put in the middle of divorce/separation issues? My belief, ABSOLUTELY NOT! One parent is the alienated parent and the other is the alienating parent. Personally, this has gotten to the point for me that if I correct my children, share something with my children, or even fart in front of my kids I get scrutinized by my own parents. I am a moonlet of this system but I am making my cautious calculated collisions. Should the 4 day a month (which is standard) parent have a fear of correcting or educating his child for assuming the child may not want to visit next time? This is where most of the scrutiny from my parents comes in. However, their house is overstocked with toys for the weekends she needs a sitter. I spent a half day with my kids today which was the longest of the 4 times I have seen them in the past 2 months. I felt replenished inside but always alway scrutinized on the outside at the same time. Yes, my threshold with endurance has been crossed many times and I have turned into John McEroe towards my parents in front of my children. Again, I am then scrutinized for that as well. I have tried to solve this problem several times by kindly asking them in the very beginning not to communicate with my ex and to see the kids through me. Their response is, "we don't agree, you can't control us".
        • Oct 5 2013: Wow. Powerful post.

          Let me start off by saying I have no concept of the emotional turmoil that must be taking place in the lives of all family members involved in a divorce. I have witnessed parents alienating each other from the lives of their children as weapon, but have never experienced it. Anyone involved in such a situation has my sympathy. I hope that something like the Serenity prayer might offer a path towards bringing some peace into the lives of all parties involved.

          The situation leading to grandparents raising a grandchild in my post was an observed end condition, not a statement supporting increased involvement in the legal proceedings of a failed marriage.

          From what I have heard, the courts try and do what public law and the judge decide is best for the children in the case of a divorce. All I can imagine is that your parents are trying to somehow do what they believe is also best for the child. While their response to your request may be accurate, it seems a bit callous for them to not abide by your wishes in the proceedings.

          I wish I knew the answer to controlling parental scrutiny. My guess is that parents never stop trying to make their child "better", as it fits with their definition of optimal behavior. Few live lives that meet their own definition or standards. In the case of a compressed opportunity for you to spend time with your child, it is easy to see from the outside that this scrutiny must seem intensified and add to an already difficult emotional situation. Perhaps they will come to this realization as they try and balance their own feelings, emotions, and ideas about how to improve the situation.

          Best of luck to you.
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      Oct 4 2013: No Whisky, Gift != I love you ..

      We people just offer gift to one when we love. But Its true, the loved one may relate a gift as a outcome of the love. Kids do that (as Mary M. showed by cartoon) innocently. But surprisingly, not only kids, elder also do that... Wife Says - Honey! You do not love me anymore :( where is my gift? Haaaan !!
      Aging is not what makes us sensible :D LOL
  • Oct 3 2013: What do you mean "spoil"I is the real affection and Love Grand Parent give to Kids which parent fails to give and for kids time with grand is most precious and what CARING and emotional relationship means at their tender age.Actually Parents failure is compenseted by grand parent at least it is happing in India ...
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      Oct 4 2013: I mean spoil as in buying them everything they ask for plus more. Is this real affection? You tell me.
  • Oct 3 2013: I think that's OK for grandparents to 'spoil' their grandkids:).The problem is lots of young couples when they have children,they don't take parents' responsibility and especially most of them rely on grandparents too much.

    we raise my kid all by us,we know how hard to raise a kid,especially from pregnancy to kid three years period.I often saw grandparents brought their grandson,granddaughter in the street,most of them retire,but takeing care of kids is still very hard for them,because they are old.So don't complain grandparents'spoil' their grandkids,but we parents should take the resposibility completely to raise our kids.
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    Oct 2 2013: I think It's not good for any party in the family to spoil the child. Grandparents are more tolerant to their grandchildren because kids can let their grandparents recall the feeling of raising their sons and daughters and they want to let the grandchildren have what they didn't have in their times. However, it can weaken the grandchildren's ability and independence in facing problems and handling difficulties.
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    Oct 2 2013: I think this is for the parents and grandparents to decide together.
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      Oct 4 2013: And if one parent is never heard? Constantly ignored? No compromise ever because of an unjust state and constantly conditioned... Should grandparents be able to "replace" a parent's rulings, decisions, and views during an intense forever longing custody battle? Should the grandparents be able to see the grandkids if their own son/daughter is not allowed to see his/her own children?

      I've done extensive research on alienation of a parent. I have never abused or neglected my children and I never had any drug problems but I am treated in such a way as being a threat or harmful to my children. I am conditioned (ordered) to pay child support to see them 4 days out of the month under the "supervision" of my own parents. I swear, these family courts are nothing but money making rackets in most cases and not necessary in the least bit. They are employers of the people (you and me). Two kids, deciding what is best for them is done by this state of LA (lawyers, hearing officers, and judges), one parent, and two grandparents (my parents). Who in the hell am I? I am a father. Where in the hell am I? Totally out of the picture. "Dad, just pay! By the way, mom says the 4 year old needs psychotherapy because she threw the new cat at home down the stairs". Ok, I need psychotherapy, now she needs psychotherapy, and pretty soon we all going to need psychotherapy (wait, that's already happening in the US). Let me guess, bi-polar? I'm sorry Fritzie but your statement struck a nerve I have been struggling with for a long time. Surprisingly just about everyone now in this family has seen a mental health specialist except the beast that is dropping the suggestion bombs. This whole damn thing is out of order. I'm so freaking jaded. My parents are making my child support payments to my ex so she allows them to see my kids, conditioned.
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        Oct 4 2013: So sorry for your family situation.
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          Oct 4 2013: That's OK, Frit. Not looking for sympathy here. I know I'm not the only one. I want others to know and understand what really goes on or what is happening in this country in terms of family. There is nothing right about it for the kids. Our leaders/rulers (which we PAY) are not screwing up on just Fox and CNN. They are also screwed up on local levels never heard or seen. Surprisingly, people make a ruckus about things far out of reach when the things they could do something about are right under their noses.