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Is spoiling your grandkids undermining their parents’ authority?

Many in Indianapolis often joke that privilege of spoiling your grandkids is your reward for not killing their parents when they were the same age. If you are like most grandparents, you likely revel in getting to participate in all of the fun things your kids do while avoiding all of the difficult parenting moments. Part of that fun includes spoiling them with treats, toys or whatever else they want or you think they might love. Your willingness to do so is certainly understandable; after all, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, Baby Boomers have the highest median household income of any U.S. demographic. Yet is spooling your grandkids undermining their parents’ authority? 

The answer is likely situational. If you are out on an excursion with your grandchildren and they want ice cream or a souvenir, it may be hard to argue that such spoiling is harmful. Yet if a grandchild approaches you asking for an expensive item (e.g., a new video game console or a cell phone), that is where you may want exercise caution. Often, he or she is only doing so because his or her parents have already told him or her know. Contact your adult child and ask him or her about the situation before simply buying whatever your grandchild wants yourself. You might want to do the same when purchasing gift for holidays or birthdays. 

If your grandchildren’s parents are divorced, you may want to resist the urge to spoil even further. You do not want to be the cause of adding further tension to an already difficult situation. Instead, encourage open communication between your grandkids and their parents regarding their wants. None of this is meant to be legal advice, but rather tips in helping you contribute to your grandkids’ healthy upbringing.