Senior Resources » 16 Signs You’re Spoiling Your Grandchildren Rotten

16 Signs You’re Spoiling Your Grandchildren Rotten

selfish kid with curly hair in princess crown on blue background, egoist, spoiled grandchild
Image Credit:

Having grandkids is one of the greatest joys of life. Now that you’re done raising your children, it’s time to enjoy their children. As a grandparent, you want to have fun with your grandkids and give them all the things you couldn’t give your own children. You also want to spoil them and enjoy them, but how much is too much? 


Am I Spoiling My Grandchildren?

shurgging elderly lady
Image Credit: Shutterstock

There are two kinds of spoiling: healthy and unhealthy.

Unhealthy spoiling happens when grandparents lose all reason and indulge their grandkids in excess, from sugary treats to no limits on screen time to late bedtimes. If you do these things, you are spoiling your grandchildren.


Healthy spoiling is when you celebrate the grandparent-grandchild relationship with special indulgences while still respecting their parents’ wishes.

Unhealthy spoiling can have many negative effects on your grandchildren. They may think that you prioritize gifts and excessive privileges over building a relationship with them. They also may think that you don’t think their well-being is important. Also, doing this can strain your relationship with your children because you undermine their rules. 

Signs You’re Spoiling Your Grandchildren

1. You buy them things in excess.

spoiled grandchild with too many presents and a bad attitude
Image Credit: Canva Pro

It’s fun to go shopping for your grandchildren and treat them sometimes. However, when you buy them something every time you visit them or they visit you, it can be a bit much. They already have tons of toys, clothes, shoes, and gadgets at home to last a lifetime. In doing this, you train them to expect a gift from you all the time. Moderation is best.

2. You have lax boundaries.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

When you allow your grandchildren to stay up late, have unlimited screen time, or eat whatever they want for breakfast, it does not help them. By doing this, you show them they can do whatever they want and it’s okay. This will lead to behavior problems and entitlement issues. I worked in daycare for eight and a half years. I’ve seen this firsthand. Kids need boundaries – it is crucial for their development. By knowing their limits and what’s expected, they feel safe, not restricted.


3. You ignore your children’s wishes.

Close-up portrait of attractive mysterious middle-aged woman showing shh sign isolated over vivid blue color background
Image Credit:

When you disregard your children’s guidelines, this can be confusing for kids. They don’t understand why you let them do XYZ, but mom and/or dad don’t. This also causes friction in your relationship with your children. Instead, respect their guidelines and collaborate as a team. Instead of going hog wild, compromise with them on one or two things the kids can do you wouldn’t normally allow.

4. You have favorites.

grandmother and granddaughter smiling at each other nose to nose
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Playing favorites with your grandchildren will backfire on you. This will only cause jealousy and resentment between your grandchildren. It’s your job to love them all. 

5. You use guilt as a weapon.

mad grandparents
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Don’t use guilt as a weapon by manipulating your grandchildren about the sacrifices you have made for them. 

6. Your grandkids don’t listen to you.

teen on phone ignoring grandparent
Image Credit: Shutterstock

You are the friend, not the grandparent. Because your grandkids feel you are more their friend than their grandparent, they feel like they don’t have to listen to you or do anything you say. 

7. Your grandkids are out of control.

bratty child with tongue out
Image Credit: Canva Pro

You have no control. If your grandkids are out of control at your house and do anything they want, this comes from lax boundaries. Not telling them “no.” You are afraid or don’t want to tell them “no.”


As a former daycare teacher, I can tell you that this is one of the worst things you can do as a parent or grandparent. There is nothing wrong with telling a child “no.” It will not hurt them or damage them. This is how you show them you are the grandparent and they are the child. Telling them “no” shows them that what you say goes and gives them the boundaries they need to live by. When you don’t tell them no, then you have serious problems.

8. There is no routine at your house.

smiling kid
Image Credit: Shutterstock

You spoil them by having no routine. Grandkids should get up, go to sleep, and eat at the same time they do at home. Keeping a routine will let your grandkids know what to expect at your house and that they won’t be doing anything different from what they do at home.

9. You agree with whatever they say or do.

bratty, spoiled children
Image Credit: Shutterstock

You allow them to do or say whatever they want. We are all entitled to an opinion, but if your grandchild says or does something you don’t agree with, let them know about it. By agreeing with everything they say or do, you teach them they are right 100% of the time.

10. You accommodate them.

bratty looking, spoild grandchild
Image Credit: Canva Pro

You accommodate them. Instead of waking them up to go to the farmer’s market with you at a certain time, you allow them to sleep for an extra hour. By doing this, you get to the market an hour late, which then causes you to be late for a lunch date with a friend. All because you accommodated your grandchild by allowing an extra hour of sleep. 

11. You wait on them hand and foot.

young boy wearing a crown, blue shirt, yellow background
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Instead of making your grandkids make their beds, take their dishes to the sink, and do their laundry (if age-appropriate), you wait on them hand and foot. 

12. They make all the decisions.

shrugging senior man with blue blackground
Image Credit: Shutterstock

You allow them to make all the decisions when they are with you. Things like bedtime and wake-up time, what they are going to do that day, and what they are going to eat. In doing this, they see themselves as the boss and think they can exert their “authority” everywhere else as well.

13. You don’t lay down the law.

pensive senior woman using computer on the couch
Image Credit: Shutterstock

As a grandparent, it’s your responsibility to make the rules in your home and expect your grandchildren to abide by them. If they don’t, it’s your job to make sure they have consequences. Once again, it all comes back to having boundaries.


14. You buy inappropriate items.

blue gift box with blue ribbon close up
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

This means items that are too old or too young for the grandchild. Like buying infant toys for an 18-month-old, a young adult novel for an elementary reader, or something that your grandchild has no interest in. More than likely, your young grandchildren will be asking for items that aren’t age-appropriate. Before buying, do your research, ask questions, and consult with the parents. 

15. You stuff them with sweets.

chocolate chip cookies, stacked on the table
Photo by Lisa Fotios

One of the fun things about going to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s is that you will get some kind of sweet treat. This could be a homemade cookie or a piece of candy in Grandpa’s pocket. However, this does not mean you should let them eat as many as they want. In doing so, you promote poor eating habits and future tooth decay.

16. You allow them to go places their parents wouldn’t.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

For instance, you might take a pre-teen to a hard rock concert filled with profanity, or you could permit your teenage grandson to venture out with his friends unsupervised, or even allow your teenage granddaughter to go out with her boyfriend without supervision. This often happens because they incessantly beg and plead with you, using the excuse that “their parents never let them do anything.” Exploiting your desire for their happiness, they manipulate you into giving in to their requests.

Impact on Behavior and Attitude

Upset and angry boy concept for anger, spoiled grandson, grandchild, brat
Image Credit:

Even though you may think spoiling your grandchildren is the right thing to do, it can have significant impacts on their behavior, attitude, and well-being. Things like entitlement issues by thinking they should have everything they want just because. Kids who have experienced excessive spoiling will also find it difficult to deal with disappointments and setbacks because they have become accustomed to having their desires fulfilled without negotiation. Because of this, they lack the resilience needed to cope when things don’t go their way. Also, when you spoil your grandkids with gifts and stuff, it teaches them unhealthy financial spending habits and that they should want and value material things above all else.

Striking a Balance

family, generation and people concept - happy smiling grandmother, grandfather and little granddaughter taking selfie by smartphone at park
Image Credit:

If you are reading this and recognize that you have been spoiling your grandkids in an unhealthy manner, don’t despair. You can always turn it around and teach them better. You can do this by clearly explaining your expectations while they are at your house and setting boundaries. This may be hard at first and they may resist at first, but they will love you for it in the long run. When kids have boundaries, they feel more safe, loved, and secure. 

Another way to combat the entitlement issue that comes from spoiling is to teach your grandkids the value of hard work and earning rewards. Have them help you outside in the spring, summer, and fall months, and reward them for their hard work. During the winter months, they can help you around the house or outside depending on how old they are and how much snow that you get in your area. 

Encourage empathy, gratitude, and responsibility in your grandchildren. Show them what it means to be empathetic by helping a stranger. Teach them to be thankful for what they have. Like giving thanks at night before they go to sleep or before they eat, or by keeping a gratitude journal. You can also show them what it means to be responsible by giving them responsibilities while they are at your house. Things like walking the dog or feeding your cat, setting the table for dinner, or making sure they pack up all their things before they leave your house. Make sure your requests and examples are age-appropriate.


Communication with Parents

senior mother and adult daughter talking on the couch with coffee in their hands
Image Credit: Shutterstock

One of the most important things you can do for your grandchildren is to have open communication with their parents. It is important that you both agree on parenting styles so you are not undermining the rules and boundaries that your children have set. This is important to keep in mind no matter what the parenting dynamic looks like, everyone needs to respect each other. Take some time to sit down and discuss expectations, so everyone is on the same page and has a unified approach to how to raise healthy and well-rounded grandchildren.

Healthy Alternatives to Spoiling

Granddaughter running in hug to her grandfather. Close up. Copy space. Focus on little girl.
Image Credit:

There are many alternatives to unhealthy spoiling! Instead of spoiling them with things, offer them experiences and quality time together. Take them on a trip somewhere or take them out to do something together one-on-one. Encourage them to learn new things and learn about new things and to share them with you. Let them know that education is very important and can open the doors to the things they want later in life. Talk to them about personal growth, what that looks like, and give them examples from your own life. 

Another alternative to spoiling is encouraging creativity, exploration, and independence. If your grandchild likes to be creative, encourage it. Let them do what they love creatively, whether it’s painting, writing, jewelry making, or something else. Encourage them to explore their surroundings and ask lots of questions. Instead of doing things for them, let them learn independence by doing it themselves and then asking for help. These are all healthy alternatives to spoiling them!

Are You Spoiling Your Grandchildren Rotten?

selfish kid with curly hair in princess crown on blue background, egoist, spoiled grandchild
Image Credit:

There are many signs and consequences of spoiling children. Signs include showering them with excessive gifts, having lax boundaries, and not respecting their parents’ wishes. This leads to a sense of entitlement, not being able to deal with disappointment, and possible financial issues in the future. It’s important to have a balanced approach with your grandchildren so they can both appreciate you as the wonderful grandparent you are and the relationship you have and also the times when you spoil them with gifts. By spending quality time with them and encouraging their creativity, exploration, and independence, combined with a unified approach with their parents, you are setting everyone up for success in the long run.

Popular Articles About Grandparenting

Originally published May 03, 2024


Free Senior Resources

Ultimate Guide to Retirement Communities

The Ultimate Guide to Retirement Communities

Get The Guide
5 Health conditions e-book cover

5 Health Conditions That Affect Baby Boomers and 5 Ways to Avoid Them

Get The Guide
ultimate estate planning checklist and guide

Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist & Guide

Get The Guide

Guide to Adult Day Care

Get The Guide
Show this content while the ad loads.