When Grandma Plays Favorites

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 by 4 Comments
When Grandma Plays Favorites

I know a surprising number of people whose parents or parents-in-law play favorites with the grandkids. It is extremely hard to wrap my head around this concept but I know it happens. My parents were not as bad as some, but they definitely had preferences.

Giving one child preferential treatment over another can definitely cause long term hurt and even split families. I always tried to do damage control, but I know parents who have severely limited their kids’ contact with grandparents because of this issue.

If your parent or in-law is playing favorites, try to stay open minded. More than likely it isn’t intentional at all. Schedule a lunch or coffee date and sit down to talk about what is going on. Don’t get angry, even if the grandparent gets defensive. Be compassionate and encouraging, but be ready to cite specific examples, too.

Encourage grandparents to spend time with all of the kids, in groups and individually. Help them find areas of similar interest where they can connect.

Maybe one of your children is interested in stamp collecting and your father-in-law has a collection up in the attic that he hasn’t thought about in years. Maybe you have a child interested in family history. Look for clues to interests that might bring them together.

Remember that a lot of this may be about perceptions. Everyone has a different way of looking at things. The best thing you can do is to talk, ask questions, stay open, and try to get to the bottom of the problem without alienating anyone.

Good luck with that.

Have you experienced this in your own or your children’s lives?

photo credit: qwrrty via photopin cc

Posted in: Parenting
Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a homeschooling mom with a large family. She is the author of one cook book and the creator of Restless Chipotle Media, a network consisting of two food based blogs, a blog for “women of a certain age”, a video site on Youtube, and upcoming blog on kitchen decor, and downloadable eBooks. Marye also is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer.

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  • http://www.livingthescream.com/ Living The Scream

    My daughters love their grandma dearly sometimes I feel like they prefer her over me lol. She always makes each one feel special. One of the best things she does is take my girls on individual grandma “dates” That way each one feels special and gets special time with Grandma. It is also great for me because I get much needed breaks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dana.hinders Dana Hinders

    I read a study one time that said grandmothers tend to favor their daughter’s children over the children of their sons. The logic was that in most families women control who sees the kids when. I think women often turn to their own mothers instead of their mother-in-law when it comes to child rearing stuff, so grandma gets a chance to be closer to the kids in this situation. It wasn’t intentional on my part, but this is exactly how things played out in my family. My mom is much closer to my son than my mother-in-law is.

  • http://restlesschipotle.com marye

    I was an only child… I had 7 kids when my mom passed… she definitely had favorites!

  • http://www.befreebies.com/ BeFreebies.com

    I remember time with each of my grandmas, and because it was so meaningful and memorable, I have definitely pushed my children’s grandmas (maternal and paternal) to be close with my boys… but I think it is different for little boys. They need their grandpa time.