Grandma's Favorite -Sad

Updated on January 31, 2013
V.K. asks from Chisago City, MN
20 answers

What is up with grandparents and picking favorites?

One of the families that I nanny for part time has a 6 year old boy and a 5 year old girl - the 6 year old is at school a majority of the time that I am here. Their grandma is staying with them right now. It is very clear that the 6 ear old is her favorite. She could go on for hours about how smart he is. She just adores him, always asking about his day and always helping him with homework or reading with him... The 5 year old? Eh, she doesn't care. She doesn't see her as smart because she can't read yet (But doesn't do anything to help her learn). This girl is very smart in other areas and he does love looking at books, she just prefers making up her own stories to go with the pictures than learning how to read. She LOVES working in her writing activity book though and I would say she s above average just in general. But grandma doesn't care. Anything she does is wrong, while the boy could do the same thing and be considered perfect for it.

Even the 5 year old knows that grandma doesn't like her. She calls her by her first name instead of grandma and always says things like she hopes B goes away soon. It's very sad.

So why do some grandparents pick favorites?

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So What Happened?

No, she is not a step child nor is he adopted, etc. I don't get why grandma doesn't like her.

This concept is just o weird to me because I grew up in a LARGE family with lots of grand kids running around and my grandparents never showed favorites. Then again I guess I kind of do because I have no contact with my mom's parents.

It is seriously affecting her. Before grandma came into the picture she was pretty much a perfect kid. Did everything when asked, played with my 2 year old and shared toys without problems, always asking questions and wanting to know more. She still does what I ask but as soon as daddy gets home she is in full on temper tantrum mode with stomping feet everything. She still plays great with my son but has gotten a little possessive of her toys (Because grandma usually takes away any good ones and gives them to the 6 year old - For example she sorted through all their Pokemon cards that they share and gave the 6 year old all the good ones and gave the rest to the 5 year old). She still asks questions but not as many and usually it's just a 'why?' Instead of the interesting questions she used to come up with. I've mentioned to the mom that I've noticed some changes since grandma has been around but I don't want to overstep into their family issues, you know?

P.S She little rally has over a hundred books here and she loves to look at them and will pretend to read them to my son but she makes up the story instead of reading it. We are working on it though

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answers from San Francisco on

I have 8 grandchildren and love them all more than life itself. And they know it - all 8 of them! Like Diane D. I believe my job is to be their biggest cheerleader and to give them a place to go that is calm, where no one nags at them and they can just be happy and taken care of. They have no chores at grandma's house although they love to help me do anything I am doing. They get to just be kids and be taken care of and be spoiled. That's my job as I see it and I LOVE IT!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I have 4 grandchildren and love them all. Each has a different personality so it's easier to click with the ones who mesh with my personality but I've always felt that every child needs someone who is their biggest cheerleader so that's my job as their gram. The issue is when the grandparent doesn't see that they are favoring 1 child over another and the parents don't step in to make it stop. The family that you nanny for part time needs to step in and stop grandma from treating the 5 yr old poorly.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

There is a possibility of mental illness here. Some people like to cast people in roles - good child/bad child. You need to be very careful around grandma because she could do the same to you in a heartbeat.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Thank god that precious girl has you. The grandmom has her own issues. That is a shame ...she probably has no idea the negative affect she is having on her granddaughter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

She might just like him because he's a boy.
My Mom grew up like that.
She was 7 yrs older than her little brother but everything he did was golden and fussed over with gifts and the best of everything while my Mom had hand me downs from cousins and was barely tolerated.
I don't think treatment like this is good for either child whether they are the favorite or not.
You are the nanny so there's nothing you can do about it but if it were happening in my family I'd have the kids spend less time with Grandma so her bias's have minimal impact on the kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have no idea why. But it is very sad. Do the parents know? I too hope that grandma will go home soon...



1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Their own issues. My sister was the favorite because our paternal grandmother never saw me as a full grandchild, even though her son adopted me when I was 2. Sis was the golden girl. It was confusing to her, because she loved her big sis and why did they treat me poorly? By the time she was 6, she understood they didn't like me as much. We lost contact with them and it was probably for the best, though I did miss our grandfather. He was a stepfather and I think he understood equality better than the rest of the family. Not much you can do about your employer's family dynamics, though.

ETA: If you are seeing a behavior problem, you might want to mention to the more receptive parent that she is reacting to the favoritism shown to her older brother and they should bear that in mind when they return home and she is upset. She could use some extra TLC from her parents. I wouldn't get into Grandma being wrong, but I would try to explain to them why she was suddenly misbehaving. I would want to know why my child was a terror at the end of the day. There are days where I clue my DH in about DD's behavior and he is more understanding if he knows it's been a tough day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Awwww. This is really too bad.

In some cultures, especially in the older generations, boys are really favored over girls. Could this be happening here?

The other thought I have is that you as a nanny are probably doing a lot to mitigate this -- just by recognizing the problem and celebrating the little girl's strengths. I hope you give yourself a pat on the back, and treat yourself to something special, for the good work you're doing here.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Everyone picks favorites, some choose to show it more than others.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I was an un-favored grandchild growing up, and it really hasn't affected me much. With one set, we were further away and they didn't like that, and on the other side there were just so many grandkids that we got lost in the shuffle. So glad both sets of grandparents love my kids and make an effort to be fair!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

That really is so sad.

Obviously, people have favorites. I am sure my parents "prefer" my first child, because she was their only grandchild for five years, they lived in our town for the first three years of her life, and were able to develop a close bond with her before they retired south. My second child is a more "spirited" child, and they live across country from us, so they've only seen her four times (for two weeks at a time) since she was born, and she's almost three. It's obvious to ME that the first is probably the favorite...however, the girls will hopefully never know. My parents DO love their second grandchild, but it's just not exactly the same. (They still love her up and spoil her.)

I'm so sorry for the little girl you watch, though. That's truly very sad.



answers from Los Angeles on

Both of my parent's grandmothers play favorites with my kids. They both favored the first born - my oldest daughter. They both slighted my son. I think for my mom it was because she could relate more to my daughter (craft time, etc) than she could to a rambunctious boy. For my MIL, I think she just preferred girls. My third was a girl, and so she favors the two girls over my son. He's 17. And he's figured it out. He really doesn't care much for her. He loves her. But I don't think he likes her so much. And never spends any time with her. She's always been a lot harder on him than the others. Now somewhere along the line, my mom realized her ways, and works hard to be more even with all the kids. So it hasn't really been a big issue.
I think it's just like life - some personalities click better.
It is very sad.


answers from San Francisco on

Sometimes it's a gender preference.
My BFF's MIL blatantly prefers her grandson over her granddaughter, she just prefers boys in general. This woman has two sons, never had a daughter, and doesn't have ANY female friends either. It's extremely sad but the woman refuses to recognize she has an issue with girls, let alone do something about it.
No advice here, just sympathy. Keep loving that little girl and remind her how special and smart she is every single day!



answers from Madison on

Let me guess, the 6-year-old boy is the firstborn?

Seriously, if he is, I have never figured out why the firstborn is so important, so precious, that all the other grandchildren are relegated to the background (by some grandparents). Seriously, did the grandparent do that to their own children, pick a favorite and then ignore all the other kids? Is the child's mother or father the favorite of the grandparent? Many times, if the grandparent has a "favorite" child of their own, then when that child has their own children, they sometimes will pick out a "favorite" there as well. Which I've never understood, because all children should be equal.

This is actually quite harmful to that young girl's psyche. If you have a good rapport at all with either the mom or the dad, I would suggest pointing out what it is you see during the day. (and perhaps it would be best if you spoke to the parent whose mother this is not.) Perhaps they don't know it's that bad. Or they have blinders on and refuse to see it, but someone bringing it to their attention might help them open their eyes and help their daughter. The parents need to know what it is that "grandma" is doing while she's home alone with the kids (and you're there), how she treats the kids, what she does that isn't equal between them, etc.

Seriously, this problem needs to be nipped now, not later. The girl is already showing obvious signs of starting to hate her grandma. I can't imagine ANY grandmother would want any of her grandchildren to not like her. Then again, she probably has no idea of how her actions are affecting this child. IF she does know and is deliberately doing it--then she needs to stay away from the children. And the parents need to man up/grow up and stand up to the parent (grandma) and say enough is enough!



answers from Rapid City on

It probably has more to do with a boy vs girl. For some reason some perfer a certain sex, maybe they were easier on her while her own kids were growing up or maybe she never had any girls around and not use to the giggles and screams and such that girls do more of. There is big differences between the sexes even at a young age.

Also, as a grandma I can tell you that I am very close to my first grandchild. I spent the first year babysitting her and for the next two years she was over here a lot even when her mom was a stay at home mom. We bonded a lot. My other two grandchildren, I love very very much and just as much as I do my first. With them though, the oldest was 3 before she came into our family and my son adopted her, her little brother was born shortly after and they spent more time with their mother's mom instead of me. I love them, I enjoy every minute I have with them and they mean everything to me. I haven't had the bonding with them like I did my first so while I really get missing having my first grandchild here, she was staying here every weekend and until she started school, I had her 2 to 3 nights a week. The other two I only get once a month for a weekend and sometimes not even that often. I don't miss them like I do the first, that doesn't mean I love them less or favor my first, it just means I don't have the chance to bond as much. I know that my granddaughter that my son adopted was comparing a lot but I made sure she realized that I love her just as much as my first, but I do share her with a lot of other grandma's and that is ok, where I am the only grandma the first stays with. I guess what I am saying is grandmas love all their grandchildren, those first born ones are very special, they got all our attention for a while but that doesn't mean we don't love the rest as much.



answers from Madison on

This is just so sad and it has to stop. I can see that you are genuinely concerned for this little girl. You need to have a serious conversation about it with the parents, more than your just seeing changes. Tell them why - it's obvious. I can understand your hesitation, but as a caregiver, you ARE part of the family, and truly have her best interests at heart.


answers from Houston on

BEENTHERE IS soooooo smart on this one! take heed!



answers from Chicago on

If you can see this and the child can see this, what the heck are the parents doing about this situation because it will only get worse? The parents need to step in and let grandma know that her behavior is not acceptable. While it may not change grandma's attitude, this little girl needs to know that her parents are defending her and on her side.

I think even parents have favorites of their children that they just enjoy more or less. Grandma seems more attached to her grandson and she may not even know the reason why. Her actions are still wrong.



answers from Washington DC on

This happens in most families. I hate it.

You don't say, but is the daughter a step-granddaughter? Being that close in age it makes me wonder. That would also explain why she calls the Grandma by her first name and isn't the favorite.

If I were you, I would take the 5y to the library and have her check out some early reader books like Clifford, Arthur, Bernstein Bears, Angelina, Fancy Nancy.


answers from Phoenix on

I'm an only child and have a 13 yo dtr and a 10 yo son. We come from a LONG line of girls. So when I was pregnant with my second, the very first thing I heard from my mom was, "it better be a girl, we don't like boys". Well, it was a boy. And from day ONE, you could see the difference in the way my mom treated them (I don't have a dad). I didnt say so much when they were younger, but had to about 5 years ago when she did something to make it VERY clear she favored my daughter and my son saw it and actually said something to me about it. I pretty much lost it with her, pointed it out, and told her it BETTER stop. It did, mostly.

I honestly can't say "why" she did it but it made me very sad. And I felt like I had to treat him even NICER because she didn't. I still deal with that and he's a mama's boy for sure.

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