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#AskAlyson: Spoiled Grandchildren

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Quick question for you….  How do I get the grandparents to stop spoiling my kids? I really don’t like over-consumption and commercialism.   These are important values I want to pass on to my kids, but I can’t get my parents to stop buying them things whenever we are together.  And with Christmas coming up, I really feel I have to put my foot down.  Would it be wrong to say that if they don’t follow the way I want to raise my kids and stop buying for them, that I will simply take the gifts back or donate them?


( anonymous)


Dear Anonymous,


I hope you find it comforting to learn, that your children’s values will be shaped by the way you live far more than how their grandparents behave.  You have years and years of demonstrating through your actions your position on human consumption and waste.  Your grandparents actions can’t compete with your modelling.  Still, it’s ultimately the child who decides which values to adopt.  While they will likely follow your modelling, they could also decide you were so frugal that they pledge to themselves, “when I grow up and become a parent, I am going to make sure my kids have more stuff!”


Remember, too, that you are modelling another behaviour:  how to treat grandparents.  You’ll be a grandparent one day, and you are teaching your children how to treat you.  Let them see you getting along with your parents and loving them despite the differences.


You can still happily accept the gifts and be appreciative. Then later,  when you have a private teachable moment, you could mention;  I wonder if grandma and grandpa give gifts as a way of showing their love, worried that just spending time with you isn’t enough?  Gifts are nice, but we don’t need “things” to be happy, we need people.”  Or something like that.


Happy Parenting


About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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