Parental Favoritism and Grandparenting
Should Grandmom compensate for her granddaughters’ treatment?
Mom plays favorites with her daughters, so Grandmom plays favorites with the disfavored granddaughter. Do two rights make a wrong? See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson says about parental favoritism in this installment of “Ask Amy.”
Our daughter has two daughters who are one year apart.
She very obviously favors the younger one.
Examples: She features a picture of only the younger one on her phone screen. We will talk at night with our granddaughters and when talking to the younger, the older one is always getting yelled at for something, while heaping positive attention onto the younger one.
Our daughter goes shopping with the younger one all the time while the older one stays home with dad.
I asked, “Why not take the older one?” She said the older daughter isn’t interested. I’m thinking: “Well, make her go!”
When the girls are with us overnight, I purposely favor the older one.
My husband plays with the younger while I seek out the older one, hug her, snuggle, and give her lots of love.
Am I wrong to try to make up for six days of favoritism to the younger with one day of favoritism for the older?
I can’t say anything to our daughter because I’m afraid to offend her and then we would never see the girls.
If your daughter would respond to respectful observational feedback from her own mother by denying access to the children, then your issues might be larger than this imbalance of attention.
You sound very sensitive regarding the topic of favoritism. I’m not sure that leaving one child home from shopping because she doesn’t want to go is an example of … anything, but I agree that overt parental favoritism has a negative effect on the entire family – look at what it is doing to your own!
You see that mom favors the youngest, so you favor the eldest.
I agree that it is compassionate and loving to treat your elder granddaughter with lots of attention. Every child wants to be recognized as an individual and appreciated for their unique presence. Every child wants to be “seen” – especially by a treasured grandparent.
This includes your younger granddaughter. It would be a good example for both girls if you sometimes treated them as a team, promoting balance and togetherness, while finding some special time to spend with each.
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 parental favoritism to DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2022 by Amy Dickinson