Skip to content

18 Things Grandparents Should Never Do


It’s a common occurrence that grandparents and grandchildren get along famously. Grandparents are often the best people to care for their grandchildren, and many children love spending time with them because they’re more laid back than their parents. However, there are some things that grandparents should never do to maintain this good relationship with their grandkids. Here are some of the bad habits that could be holding you back.

Bribing Your Grandkids

Maybe you think it’s pretty cute to bribe your grandchildren with candy and toys, but in the long run, it devalues their feelings. They’ll see right through your promises, and they’ll resent you for not following through with them. You’re better off channeling that sweet, sweet grandparent charisma into cooking up a fun activity everyone can enjoy together. Everyone will feel better when they realize that this is all about spending quality time, not about how many goodies grandma has in her pocketbook.

Not Considering Their Needs

If you have childcare responsibilities for your grandkids, your first priority needs to be making sure they are comfortable and fed. Their parents are running around trying to deal with their own lives, so it’s up to you to meet the basic needs of these little people who aren’t even in school yet! This means having snacks on hand, drinks available at all times, and being friendly. They’ll love being around you more when you put that much effort into having fun together.

Not Acting Like A Parent

Just because your grandkids love you doesn’t mean they want to be treated like an equal. You can listen and respond to their wants and needs, but please remember that you are in a parental role at all times. This means getting down on their level when they’re having a hard time dealing with something, not just talking them through it from your point of view. Kids have different emotions than adults, so they need somebody willing to step into their world for a little while.

Abusing Your Language Privileges

We all know how tempting it is to use the “grandparent voice,” but you need to remember that this isn’t about manipulating or guilting your grandkids into doing what you want. If you start to slip into that mode of speaking, stop yourself and use an adult voice instead. Otherwise, your grandchildren will take advantage of this special privilege, and it could damage the trust between you two.

Not Taking An Interest In Their Lives

You should care about what’s going on with your grand kids’ lives as much as they care about yours. This means taking a real interest in their school experiences and social lives, both at school and within the family unit. They’ll see right through your fake questions and comments if you don’t come from a place of sincerity; it’s up to you to try hard not to ask leading questions or disparage their friends and family. If you want to hear about their problems, it’s better to be supportive than judgmental.

Not Being Truthful About The Past

You may have a whole set of anecdotes and stories from your life that you love to share with your grandchildren. They may be entertaining, but they could also damage their trust in you if you leave out certain parts of the story for dramatic purposes. It’s totally fine to exaggerate every once in a while, but if you do it too often or neglect to tell them about a significant event entirely, it will come back to haunt you later on. Be honest with your grandkids so they can learn from your mistakes instead of pretending like things never happened!

Being Manipulative

You know you’re always going to feel like your grandkids love their parents more than they like you. Don’t try to take things too far with them to get what you want. This is a surefire way of losing trust and damaging the relationship entirely. If you make them think that they have no choice but to spend time with you or do something for you, it’s going to backfire ultimately. Not only will they resent you for manipulating them, but they won’t want to be around you at all if this behavior continues. You can ask for favors without violating boundaries, so don’t be afraid to talk about this with your grandchildren if something is bothering them!

Being Dishonest About Your Feelings

You can feel many different emotions around your grandkids, and some of them may be negative. However, you should never tell your grandchildren that you hate being around them if it’s not true. Instead, work on trying to understand what’s making you feel frustrated or angry before telling your grandkids how you really feel. If they make the same mistake too often, try explaining how it makes you feel rather than placing all of the blame on them, as most parents would do.

Being Overly Needy

Your grandchildren will never call or text you out of the blue if they suddenly feel like having an awkward conversation with you. If you need more attention from them than normal, try talking about your feelings with someone else instead of acting on them right away. This will avoid frightening or annoying your grandkids. If you need to talk to someone about your feelings of loneliness, don’t be afraid to share this information with your grandkids; they can’t read your mind, after all!

Not Celebrating Birthdays/Holidays

Grandparents are an integral part of any cultural tradition involving family events. If you forget somebody’s birthday or ignore Halloween because it doesn’t mean anything to you, your grandkids may feel hurt and disrespected by what you’ve done. As well as being upset that you didn’t make an effort to do something special for them, they will also lose trust in you around family gatherings. If there is a holiday coming up that your grandkids would like to celebrate with you, make sure you tell them how important it is for others!

Not Being Respectful Of Parents’ Rules

Grandparents sometimes have trouble understanding why their kids are so strict about what they can and can’t do while away from home. However, the fact remains that parents set these rules for a good reason: they care about their children’s safety and well-being. If you agree to look after your grandchildren every weekend but secretly let them stay out late because you know their curfew is earlier, it could cause problems between everybody in the family. If you have an issue with any rule that your kids have set up for their kids, discuss it in private with them before trying to change the status quo.

Not Allowing Them To Be Who They Are

Your grandkids are free people in every sense of the word. They own every right imaginable to express themselves however they want without being judged by others. If you tell your grandson or granddaughter what to wear, how they should act when they’re around you, or try getting involved in their personal lives, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable and insecure about whether their parents made a mistake in entrusting you with their care! Let your grandchildren know that there isn’t anything anyone can do or say that would change your unconditional love for them.   

Not Listening To What They Have To Say

As a grandparent, you can often feel like you’ve heard everything there is to know about your grandchildren and that they aren’t going to say anything new or interesting when they come and visit you. However, this isn’t true: kids learn and develop at an alarming rate, so don’t be surprised if their opinions on certain topics vary from time to time! Paying attention to what your grandkids have to say shows them that they’re important enough for you to enjoy their company.

Not Spending Enough Time With Them

Looking after other people’s children can be a challenging task that requires you to give up at least some of your free time, but that doesn’t mean it should be the only thing on your schedule. You should make a point of squeezing out a few minutes every day to chat with your grandchildren about their lives, even if this means just talking over the phone! If you allow yourself to get swept up in work, hobbies, and other commitments while neglecting to spend enough time with your grandchildren, they’ll understand why you’re not there when they need you.

Not Understanding That Even Grandchildren Have Limitations

It’s perfectly normal to want to spend as much time as you can with your grandkids, but this doesn’t mean they have an infinite amount of patience. If you expect them to participate in certain activities when they don’t feel well, it could lead to unnecessary stress for everybody involved. Their parents will be unhappy because their children were made to do something they didn’t want to do, and your grandchildren could resent you if you forced them into doing something that ended up worsening their illness. Remember that every person has limitations, including those closest to us!

Reward Bad Behavior

If your grandchild does something wrong, it isn’t necessarily a good idea to reward them with what they’re asking for. This only reinforces the behavior, meaning that they’ll continue doing whatever it is you’ve been encouraging them to do in the first place! For example, if your grandson asks for a new toy to play with after he’s smashed his primary one, don’t give in because you might end up regretting this later on when he’s constantly breaking all of his belongings and yours!

Don’t Underestimate Their Intelligence

The best way to keep yourself from getting deeply involved in delicate family situations is not to get involved at all: just ask questions instead of making accusations. Grandchildren usually have an excellent understanding of what goes on inside their families and shouldn’t be expected to take sides because they don’t know all of the facts. Let them express their feelings and form conclusions about what’s going on in their own time, and remember that you can always ask if you aren’t sure about something!

Insulting Their Parents

When we become grandparents, we sometimes forget that parents and children can experience conflict just like any other family unit. One of the worst mistakes a grandparent can make is insulting one of their children in front of their grandchildren. Even if this is done out of love for the grandchild, it will inevitably backfire. If you want them to continue being open with their feelings, it’s best to avoid insulting their loved ones whenever possible!


Remember that you’re allowed to disagree with your grandchildren and their parents, but that it’s important not to go too far when expressing yourself. It’s better for both parties if they can get along, so avoid saying anything potentially hurtful and keep track of what your grandkids get up to in order to maintain a good relationship!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.