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To Grandmother’s House We Go (A Guide for Grandmas)

APRIL 10, 2023

(Courtesy: California American Mothers)

My Dad was in the Air Force, so we moved around the U.S. often.  Both my grandmothers lived in California, so we traveled to see them in summers and at Christmas in our trusty Ford station wagon, singing “Over the river and through the woods…”.  Seeing my grandmothers was worth the hours and days in the car with my siblings as we traveled across the country.

Whether they call you grandma, nana, oma, granny, nanny, graham cracker, or any other special name, let’s be sure they call you with love and anticipation.  How do we become a Grandmother they will want to be with and listen to?

First off, let’s talk about spoiling our grandkids.  Is that a given, or a no-no?  Well, yes and no.  When I polled family and friends on what made their relationship with their grandparents special, it was often the spoiling they remember.  “She let me eat anything I wanted.”  “We always baked cookies together.”  “She took us exciting places.”

However, parents of these grandkids asked, “How can we keep our parents from spoiling our children?”

So I’ll give you my opinion from my position of being a grandchild to two wonderful Grandmas, a parent to children who had two wonderful grandmothers, and now being a grandma myself.  It’s OK to spoil your grandchildren—a little.

Parents have the job of teaching and raising and setting rules and enforcing those rules.  Grandmas have done all that, now they can relax the rules—a little.  There are a couple of guidelines to watch for when spoiling.

1.       Don’t undermine the parents.  Never make it you and the kids against their parents.  Telling them to keep what you do a secret teaches disrespect and disobedience to the people who are raising them.

2.      Keep the indulgences small and simple.  Don’t give your grandchildren more gifts than the parents do.  Check before giving expensive gifts.  One mother complained that the child’s grandmother gave her daughter so many gifts, she now expects to buy everything she sees. The mother was tired of being the bad guy by saying “no”.  Besides, she wanted her daughter to appreciate what she had, not focus on what she coveted.  An unexpected sweet treat now and then is OK, but not cake and cookies for breakfast, a steady diet of ice cream, and all the candy they can eat.  Grandchildren require the necessities of life and an occasional splurge, but not getting something they want can build character and prepare them for life’s realities.

3.      Follow the rules that are important to the parents.  No scary or violent TV shows or video games.  No candy that is a choking hazard.  Always buckle up in the car or stroller.  Don’t allow teens to stay out after curfew, or be with friends of which the parents disapprove.  One of my daughters asked her in-laws to not feed her daughter any sweets.  The in-laws thought, oh, a little bit won’t hurt, and put honey on her oatmeal, a cookie with lunch, and a small piece of candy in the afternoon.  Her daughter had very sensitive teeth because of toddler mineral loss and by nighttime she had a raging toothache.

Continue Reading “To Grandmother’s House We Go” on the California American Mothers Blog.


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