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Let grandparents spoil the kids!

Growing up, I was surrounded by a huge extended family of aunts, uncles, and way too many cousins to count. We gathered for birthdays, anniversaries, Sunday dinners, game nights, holidays, and just because we could! I truly treasure those memories, especially those with my grandparents. 


I do not know how my maternal grandparents were able to give each of their six granddaughters undivided attention during these family functions, but they did! It may have been for a few moments of conversation, a warm, welcoming hug filled with their love, or just a kiss on top of the head as we rushed past them to play. The presence of my grandparents made every space feel safe, secure, and happier. 


Going to my grandparents’ house for the summer or extended weekends was a treat for me and my sister. We had experiences different than those at home and spent special time with our younger cousins and more of our extended family members. At the time, I did not realize that our grandparents were teaching us about our family culture, history, and traditions. Through interactions with our grandparents, we learned the importance of patience, hard work and to appreciate our mother’s dedication to providing the best for us. 


As an adult I now recognize how important it is for grandparents to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. They often provide child care, mental health breaks for tired parents, and undivided attention at times when parents are unable to. Our visits to our grandparents were breaks for us, but they were also breaks for our mother to reduce the stress of raising two daughters alone! 


The Boy and my mother, The Old Lady, have always had a special bond. She was the first person to hold him, the first person to speak to him, and she automatically became his favorite person in the world!  


I used to give my mother a list of rules and approved foods whenever The Boy would stay with her for a few hours or overnight. Those rules were never followed and my approved snacks were never taken out of his little lunch box. Instead, I would pick up a physically exhausted kid with a belly filled with fast food and a brand new noisy toy he did not need. He would recount tales of making forts and hearing stories about me as a little girl. His grandmother would tell  him: “That’s your mother’s rules, for your mother’s house. We can do whatever we want to do when you’re with Grandma!” Their time together was always fun and filled with the activities that were off limits at home. 


My mother and other grandparents have earned the right to spoil their grandchildren. They are acutely aware of how quickly childhood passes, and it seems as if their efforts are to make it one big party filled with sweet memories. They have different expectations and goals as they watch our children grow up. While parents are focused on shaping, molding, and guiding our children through life by setting goals and achievements; grandparents are showering our children with unconditional love. A love free of rules, restrictions and the pressures of raising kids every day. 


Our parents have done their time. We survived our childhoods, and now we are doing our best to raise well adjusted children. Grandparents deserve the chance to spoil our kids with ice cream for breakfast or staying up way past their bedtimes. Let the grandparent say “yes” when you always say “no”!  


At home, you can shift expectations back to normal. 


Don’t forget to take pictures of the kids with their grandparents, and to thank our parents for coming to all of the concerts, plays, graduations, parties, and just showering our kids with love! Never take them for granted.  


Most of all, remind them as often as you can how grateful you are for their love and how much they are loved in return. 



Tashia James
Tashia James is a single mother of a teenage son. Through her blog, she hopes parents find the fun in parenting even through the most unpleasant moments of raising children. Connect with her on social media or email her at [email protected]

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