Dear Grandparenting: My son and his wife somehow got in the habit of playing favorites with my grandchildren. I know this because my grandson Blake gets away with murder in that household.
That’s not just my opinion. Both of Blake’s two younger sisters have told me the same thing without my prodding. They get the short end of the stick.
All they hear is why can’t you be more like your brother? What kid wants to grow up hearing that? I would hate to stick my nose into my son’s family business but I’ve seen enough. If I don’t speak up then who will? Kim Rounds, The Villages, Florida
Dear Kim: Favoritism is an uninvited guest in many households, a family secret that parents are quick to deny but practice nonetheless. It’s a natural fact to prefer certain children, just as children prefer certain grandparents.
Parents, in their defense, swear unconditional love for all children, but love and favoritism are two different things. According to qualified experts, favoritism exists in two-thirds of American families. Patriarchal cultures favor boys, while girls are prized for their social skills. Firstborns often get the most privileges, the last born the most affection.
The trouble starts when parents verbalize or act on their favoritism. Positioning the son as a model child can create resentments that poison subsequent sibling relations. Researchers say favoritism does no favors for the chosen one, who can become entitled under-achievers.
Good grandparents play it down the middle, making each grandchild feel special in turn. Good luck sharing your concerns with your son and spouse.
Grand remark of the week
Eddie Brown from Marshall, Michigan became annoyed watching grandson Jake play with the food on his plate during dinner.
“Eat up!,” Eddie finally thundered.
“That’s what Jake does between meals,” piped up granddaughter Ellen.
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.