Dear Grandparenting: I wonder how many grandparents listen in when they talk about how materialistic children have become. Grandparents who intentionally spoil their grandchildren deserve their share of blame.
Buying whatever their little hearts desire sets kids up for a big fall later in life. I can afford to spend more on my grandchildren but wouldn’t dream of it. Doing so removes the incentive for kids to think about working and saving to get what they want.
What really gets me is why grandparents go crazy spending on grandchildren in the first place. They’re certainly old enough to know that money and material possessions don’t buy happiness, right? Roy Torres, The Villages, Florida
Dear Roy: Yours is a good question that sent us seeking what motivates grandparents to pull out all the stops on spending. The number one reason, according to sociologists and social scientists, is an attempt to make up for their perceived shortcomings as parents — so-called “restitution giving.”
It’s a second chance, an opportunity to do things differently this time around. Restitution giving is an emotional response, which explains why it aggravates analytical types like you.
Americans aren’t the only grandparents so afflicted. This urge to spend is shared by grandparents around the world. It’s been our experience that constantly saying yes can be far more damaging than saying no.
Grand remark of the week
Helen Long from Kingsport, Tennessee was comforting grandson Billy, age 5, as the family gathered for a relative’s funeral.
“It’s the really, really old people who die, right Granny?” asked Billy.
“Yes, most of the time,” said Helen.
Billy’s little face lit up. “I’m so happy I’m new,” he declared.
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.