Top 9 Worst Mistakes Grandparents Make Without Realizing

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Becoming a grandparent is an important part of the lives of many seniors. Spending time with the grandkids and caring for them can bring many people a lot of joy. But if this is the first time you have been a grandparent, there are probably many things you don’t know. Being a grandparent is different from being a parent. And there is no guide for that.

But even if there is no book that can teach you how to be the best for your grandkids, we are here to help you a little bit. Today we are going to focus on what you should never do as a grandparent. There are many mistakes out there, but these ones are the worst, and many of us make them without realizing it.

Read on and find out what the biggest don’ts are when grandparenting.

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32 Responses

  1. Is author of this article a grandparent? It’s funny one often gets advice from people with an opinion but not first hand experience. Tips are accurate but an article on the flip side for parents to note about expectations from their parents caring for their children. Grandparents are occasionally taken for granted.

    1. Agree!! And I’m a grandmother of 9- from 18 to one year old twins.
      We should all write an article on how grandparents should be treated…
      The holidays especially. I’ve never been so tired and after shopping, cooking, serving and cleaning up- hearing all the “I don’t like this or that” I’m feeling a bit like an unpaid servant whose soul purpose is to give them whatever they want. Not a good lesson in how to have successful relationships in life.

      1. Tell them you can’t do it anymore—you don’t have the money or the strength. They can do it or you can all go out.

      2. Hi, my name is Elizabeth. I was reading your comment and I would like to share my thoughts and a beautiful grandparenting for 10 years. I race 3 kids on my own, I did have to work very hard to provide for my kids, I also attended college full time. However when I was racing my kids, I was strict with them but, I was also far, firm and consistent, I did my best to teach my kids how to learn and do for themselves and I seceded. I have 2 boys and a girl, she is the mother of my 3 grandchildren. I have been very clear with her since before she became a mother. I did finished racing, taking care of my children. I don’t intend to stop living my life, to be no one’s babysitter. I would help you when I can, if you have an emergency or when I asked you to drop my babies at my home. I do love them, spoil them, cook for them, play with them, ect ,ect. However my only condition was that if they as parents were not going to give me the green light to discipline my grandchildren when it was needed, I was not going to help them at all. I been teaching my grandchildren to eat what I cooked, I always tell everyone my house is not a restaurant, I cook, you eat. They are wonderful about that, they pick up after themselves, they help around the house and also the yard. It is very important to set your rules to our kids, before they have any kids, so they can understand that we also have a personal life. I don’t allow my daughter to give me orders or instructions after all I am the one with the experience right. I have a beautiful relationship with my daughter and an amazing understanding about what is the difference between being a mom and a grandmother. I hope your situation changes but you really need to set your rules. Don’t let anyone to run and ruin your life. Even if they get apset and blackmail you with your grandchildren. ” im not going to let you see my kids” or thi gs like that. You need to enjoy your grandchildren not raised them. Good luck. A super happy grandmother 👵

    2. Totally agree. How about a guide for parents on how to have respect for their parents and not use and take them for granted?

    3. I agree wholeheartedly!!!! I live with my daughter her husband and three grandchildren not to mention 2 dogs. I’m expected to do housework, homework, bathing, housework, babysitting, give the dogs their medicine and countless other things. I’m seldom asked to do the things they’re just expected they’ll leave and just figure I have nothing or nowhere to go and leave without saying can you please watch the kids or can you do me a favor, and very very seldom a thank you. It’s extremely hard being a live-in grandmother. I often feel taken advantage of under appreciated and it’s very sad. After you’ve been a full time parent on your own you just want to be enjoying sometime with your grandkids not all the time. I’m hoping to move soon and then I’ll be able to truly enjoy grandparenting at my own speed, maybe then and only then will they be able to appreciate what they had versus what they’ll now have. Sorry for venting

  2. I am a new grandparent and I do feel like I’m taken for grantit, as if I don’t have a life or my own. It is assumed I’ll always be here would love to know how to handle this.

    1. Having experience, I have found the following to help:

      “I would love to see the grandchildren; however, I have a doctor’s appointment and I can’t get back in time for you to leave. But please call me again as you know how much I love the children. Now, call your doctor and make that appt! It will settle your nerves.

      If you’re not feeling well, that should work, too. And if pressed, you have three friends who have that malady and you think it must be going on, and you would not dream of exposing the babies to that because it is miserable. You want to add a specific or specifics: Vomiting, lightheadedness, a bit of a fever. Who care’s? And the coup de gras is that you can’t stay out of the bathroom.

      Suggest that one of his or her neighbors is of your age and perhaps they would love to see the children … they are such a delight. Now, if they tell you it will just be for 30 min or so, your reply is simply, no.

    2. The greatest part of my moms later life. Did wonders for my child. Wasn’t always great but so cherished today. Loved always being there!

  3. Lacinda—–have an upfront conversation with your son/daughter about your availability in
    assisting them with the grandkids. Do this during a lull period and not when they need immediate
    help. Be completely forthcoming and leave nothing unsaid. They need to understand your wants
    and needs,schedule and limitations as they request your assistance. Pent up resentment must always
    be avoided. Good luck !

  4. To all of the above people who responded, quit complaining, enjoy them as the grow up fast, pass family tradition on them so they can carry on certain things that pertain to your family. Help them learn right from wrong. Build their self-esteem and protect them from bad influences. How you react with them is how they will remember when your gone. Yes, you can make a big difference in your child’s life both regular son/daughter or grandson granddaughter!

  5. I agree with maybe two or three of these but the rest are nonsense. If you raised a child who could write an article like this then you have reached the level of grandparenting that allows you to stay up late with the grandkids watching movies, eating ice cream, encourage learning, brag about them all you want (using safety precautions on social media of course) and making sure they know they can always come to you when ‘The Parents’ are out of line. We’ll handle it. 🙂

  6. I do not live for my grandkids. They are NOT my kids and I don’t care want they do. And I don’t want to spend time with them.
    They my children’s responsibility and not mine.

    1. You are missing out on all the fun. You don’t get it.
      Their parents do the disciple, you give the hugs and be a safe place for them.
      Too bad for you.

    2. Wow that’s really harsh , I have issues with being a full time grandparent , but I love spending time with my grandchildren and then with me. I couldn’t possibly see my life without them in it. I hope God can open up your heart and grace you with love ❤️🙏🏼

  7. I have been a grandparent for 30 years and now starting to have great grandkids. While your tips are good for even everyday life, you are cookie cutting all families and can’t be done. ( and I am a BLSW so I have a little education, which isn’t half as good as experience) Each family unit is different, single parents, young parents, and parents that have kids do someone else can raise them are a few examples. Yes there are parents that do take you for granted, and there will be grandkids that need you more than others. You have to also set boundaries.

    1. Very well said, Seretta, and it’s right on target. I never feel as if my daughter is taking me for granted when she asks me to take care of my granddaughter. She wants help from someone she can trust and she knows that I love to spend time with my grandchild. It’s a good match. I’ll always want to be her first choice in being asked to take care of my granddaughter.

    2. Iam a granpa at 81 and it started I think late 50s . I read your writing and have to say you pretty much nailed it. We are all the same yet different.

  8. Just when you thought it has gotten pretty bad then the great grandparent expectation takes over. They are hell bent on reaping! They want all the benefits but no responsibility.
    You think it has hit the bottom but you are taken to new debts!

    1. Sad. You could spend time with them/enjoy them without the discipline or expense! I am thankful I have good memories of time with my grand parents. My great grandfather lived to be 100. He would catch us with the crook of his cane, nudge us over to him, and often give us a quarter. Pleasant memories.

  9. Interesting article; I hadn’t thought of most of these because I wouldn’t promise something to anyone that I couldn’t fulfill or comment on anyone’s weight. The “pump your grandkids for dirt” is just creepy.

    As I think about my one grandson (aged 2) and a second to be born in June 2024 in the context of an article like this I advocate for myself and others: Be present and positive; Offer (by spoken contract with parents if necessary) primarily what you can or care to afford in time, dollars and energy; Brush up on patience and forgiveness; Except in a crisis, don’t yell or swear; Appropriately, hug and kiss your grandchildren; Give grandchildren your best self.

    The article holds out the most important idea: Don’t contradict the rules of the parents (like bedtime). Very encouaging.

  10. I think the young parents today depend on google, & other things besides the knowledge a grandparent has. We have experience, & do know how to raise children. The sleep schedules, the way they put them to bed, the food, keeping a child in a bubble most of the time, is ridiculous.

  11. They are not wrong, they are not necessarily right on every point either. It would be hard for me to believe the writer has ever experienced being a full time, hands on, grandparent.

  12. Admitting ignorance is not a popular deed, especially for folks who have reams of experience they would like to convey, not to mention a pile of warnings of what not to do. At the same time, patiently asking questions and then listening carefully can encourage both the storyteller and the listener.

    Grandparents of this era have the unusual, unique position of having one leg in the analog era and the other leg in the digital era, and we are among the few generations in history who are clearly experiencing “before-and-after” ignorance. The kids have so much to teach us! We are teaching, true, but more by our words; our actions are actually doing the teaching. Actions such as listening.

    Ask the questions that you really want or need to have answered, and then listen carefully, patiently, resisting the temptation to share your own experience and wisdom. Listen to not just the words they speak, but, more, for what they’re actually trying to say. Being listened to and having their thoughts valued can make a huge difference in a young one’s sense of self. Re-visit the joys and frustrations of your own youth.

    So often I am thankful for my children teaching me patience.

  13. The experience for me has the greatest. I have 5 and youngest is 18 ,3 boys 2 girls . I had the special experience of gran son # 1hit a home run in little league.

  14. Mostly think this is good advice. But occasional exceptions can be good. Granddaughter now 29 often tells of me putting her little sisters to bed. Then leaving them with Grandad and taking her to the mall which was open late for holidays. We shopped from 9 to 11 and had a wonderful time. No cell phone back then so couldn’t ask her parents permission.

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