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Working Mothers Topics..

You are here : home > Working Mothers > Building Support Systems > Do Grandparents Spoil Children?

Do Grandparents Spoil Children?

Do Grandparents Spoil Children?

Grandchildren are the lifeline of grandparents. Grandparents shower all their love and affection on them and seldom believe in disciplining them. This will give rise to problems in the future. There needs to be a fine balance, read on to know how.

Lot of working mothers in India living in a joint family are threatened by a question - What to do when the in-laws spoil the child and break all the rules we make? Why are we invariably competing at parenting?
Grandparents invariably enjoy spoiling their grandchildren. Having successfully brought up their own children, Grandparents feel they are entitled to spoil their grandchildren. They do not want the responsibility of disciplining this new set. They feel that they are entitled to enjoy the company of their grandchildren and give in to their every whim and fancy.

Dealing with Child's Grandparents

At some level, you have to accept the attitude of grandparents is largely not going to change. You have to isolate the few issues that you consider the most important - too much junk? TV? Not dealing with bad behaviour? - And discuss these concerns with the grandparents. Do not try to deal with every, single issue or you will have lost them. Give examples of what you need them to do. Try to get them to agree on certain principles. For example, for bad behaviour, it may be too much to ask them to deal with it strictly. But you could arrive at a compromise by agreeing not to give in to your child's tantrums or to quietly ignore the same.
On your part, you have to understand that you are lucky to have loving help for your child and that they can never be you! Both sides will need to compromise a little, and that compromise will have to be mutually arrived at and then adhered to.

Common Concerns of Working Mothers

Here are couple of concerns which working mothers may have with respect to grandparents.

Concern about Watching TV

The in-laws look after the children whilst mother is at work. The problem is that they are watching TV continuously. The children consistently end up watching TV with them. Mothers are not happy with either the amount of TV that the children are watching or the kind of programmes they take in. What should the working mothers do?


You need to speak to your in-laws. Bring your husband into the discussion if you feel his views will help you. Let them know why the TV watching is bothering you. You cannot insist that they stop watching themselves (although this is probably what you need!). But you can ask them not to have their grandchildren with them whilst they watch.
Set out all the negative influences of TV. Does your child read? If not, continuous TV watching will almost certainly be an important factor in his non-reading. Provide them with literature on TV contributing to increased aggressiveness in children. TV often interferes in a child's studies. It also replaces playing and interaction with others which is so important for a child's social and emotional development.
On your part, you need at take steps to ensure that your children are otherwise occupied during those TV hours.

  • Fix up play dates for them
  • Get them to go out of the house for classes
  • If they take tuitions then fix these during the TV hours
  • Get them art and craft sets to play with
  • If they have hobbies, enable them to enjoy these hobbies instead of watching TV
With regard to watching grown-up programmes, you might want to consider getting a second TV in the house on which you can only catch the children's channels. Or you could explain to your in-laws the detrimental effect adult TV can have on children. Programme content MUST be suitable for children.

Concern about Junk Food

Working mother's parents are very fond of giving her daughter all kinds of sweets. They have had huge fights on this issue, so they now continue to give her the sweets, only behind mother's back. How can a working mother make them stop?!


Your situation has now become a doubly negative one. Your daughter continues with the sweets, which is bad enough. But she has now learned that this fact needs to be hidden from you, which is a far worse situation.
This definitely needs to be discussed with your parents. But before you do, consider this: Why has sweet eating gone underground? Is it because, the last time, you had a screaming row about it? So now, not only do your parents not agree with your views on sweet eating, but they probably feel that YOU are the one that is being unreasonable about it. This time, during any discussion, remember to keep your cool. Be reasonable, provide them with medical facts, let them be aware how much sweet the children of today get to eat.
Remember, in their day, children ate sweets at the 5 birthday parties they attended in the year and otherwise at festivals. Today, children go to a birthday party almost every week. In addition they have sweet distribution in school, at their friends' homes AND at festivals. They really do not need their grandparents to chip in here!
To kick the junk food habit, you can agree not to stock any junk food in the house. You can provide them with literature dealing with how harmful junk food can be. You can even have them accompany you to the paediatrician's clinic and have the doctor himself lecture them on the ills of a junk diet. (It is a good idea in such a case to speak to your paediatrician and let him know that you need him to do this.)
There will be times where they will need to be firm. It will break their hearts to deny your daughter something she craves. Help them to understand that this is only a temporary phase and your daughter will stop demanding sweets once she knows that all the adults stand together in their collective decision not to give them.

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Trupti.8 years ago
Hi Sushmita, if your in-law are giving all the junk to your child you must make them understand softly that it is not good for the health of the child and he must have healthy food. They will also understand your concern and stop giving all the junk. But not its already late...find a way out for getting rid of this habit of your child...But you at-least know that your child are in safe hands. I have leave my children with my maid and I am really scared.
Sushmita.8 years ago
I don't agree with Prajakta. Grandparents are sometimes responsible for bad habits in children. My in-law gave lots of chocolates and chips to my son and due to which he got into really bad habit of eating chocolate and chips everyday. It is good if the grandparents know what to give and what not to give to their grandchildren.
Prajakta.8 years ago
Grandparents are really good support system for working mothers. They do not spoil the children in fact they can take better care of children than parents. It is better to rely on grandparents than on maids and servants. You are at least assured that your kids is in safe hands.
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