Mother Wants Grandkids

By Amy Dickinson | December 22nd, 2023

Does the daughter “owe” her?

Grandmother and grand baby face to face smiling. By Monkey Business Images. Article on when a mother wants grandkids and pressures her daughter

A daughter is upset because her mother has been pressuring her to have kids. See what Amy Dickinson advises when a mother wants grandkids and makes it known.

Dear Amy:

My husband and I have been married for several years. We’re really happy, with successful careers, a house we enjoy, and two dogs we love.

We honestly love our lives and are not sure about having children. We’re not ruling it out, but we’re also not ruling it in.

Lately my mother has been starting to pressure us. This started out subtly, but then the pressure seemed to grow until over Thanksgiving, when she actually said, out loud, “You owe me grandchildren.”

I was upset and have become more upset over time. Can she possibly believe that?

What is the best way to react?

– Childfree

Dear Childfree:

I can well imagine how this statement might have struck you.

At this point, because you continue to ruminate on it, you should find a way to express your concern to your mother.

I suggest writing down your thoughts and either sending her a letter or email, or just using your written down thoughts as a blueprint for a conversation.

To clarify what you already know: You do not owe it to anyone to have children.

You could ask your mother, “Do you really believe that I owe you grandchildren?” She might respond that no – she just really wants grandchildren.

She might believe that because she gave everything to you as you were growing up, that now it’s time for her to collect. Or maybe a lot of her friends are now experiencing grandparenthood, and she wants that, too.

Basically, you should patiently query her, listen carefully to her responses, and then lower the velvet boom: “Mom, you want what you want. And I want what I want. Pressuring me to have children for your sake is out of bounds. We may have children. We might not. But fulfilling your needs can’t be part of our decision-making, and I’d appreciate it if you understood that and respected this boundary.”

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from when a mother wants grandkids – for herself – to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2023 by Amy Dickinson

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