By Jim Johnson

So…..despite all of my kicking and screaming and resisting this turning point in my life, I became a grandparent on Saturday.  My son and his wife became proud parents to my first grandchild.  Madelyn Sunshine Johnson was born at 5:15am weighing in at 6lbs. 7ozs..

Now, my evil plan to spoil the heck out of her begins.

As I’m researching all the ways that I can accomplish this, the advice I’m getting seems to be just the opposite.  Like this article from

When grandparents enjoy shopping and giving things to the grandchildren, parental reactions may range from appreciation to outrage. Here are some of the ways that grandparents may go wrong:

  • They buy too many things for the grandchildren. In addition to other objections, parents may not have room for the number of items purchased by the grandparents. “My son’s closet and five storage containers are bursting at the seams!”
  • They buy inappropriate items. They may buy items that are too old or too young for the grandchild in question, or not suited to the child’s tastes and interests. This is especially problematical as it indicates that the grandparent doesn’t really know the grandchild. “Half the time the toys bought by my mother-in-law are not age appropriate. They are for an infant or for a 6-year-old, and he is 16 months!”
  • The grandparents’ gifts outshine the parents’ gifts. This can be an issue during the holidays. “We told the grandparents that we were restricting Christmas gifts to four items, and we asked them to cut back as well. My mother-in-law showed up with seven gifts.”
  • They buy expensive items for the grandchildren. Sometimes the parents don’t want to be burdened with safeguarding an expensive item or being blamed by the grandparents if it gets damaged. Sometimes they are just philosophically opposed to large amounts of money being spent on the children. “Gifts from my parents end up in the top of my closet because I know otherwise they’ll get broken and I’ll be treated like an irresponsible parent.”
  • The things they buy for the grandchildren don’t reflect the parents’ values. Items that parents may object to include video games, movies, toy guns and toys with a strong gender bias. “My in-laws try to buy the grandkids’ affection by giving them expensive electronics, when we would rather that they have toys that encourage them to be active and creative.”
  • The grandparents spend money on the grandchildren that the parents would rather have placed in savings or put to other use. Perhaps the parents would like for the grandparents to finance music lessons, summer camp or sports activities such as travel teams rather than spending money on toys, or perhaps they would prefer a contribution to college savings. “Experiences are much more valuable then a closet full of toys, so give the gift of experience.”

The best strategy is for grandparents to talk to the parents before they buy and to be sensitive to the nuances of the parents’ reactions. Sometimes the parents may be reluctant to say no, but their hesitation will be obvious to a grandparent who is listening for mixed messages.

NONSENSE!!!  I’ve been planning on spoiling any grandchildren I might be lucky enough to have all my adult life and I’m NOT gonna let these politically correct worry-warts spoil it for me!


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