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Posted on June 16, 2012 by Christine Crosby in 

Have a Favorite grandchild?

Nature sometimes creates a child in the image of one of their grandparents.  The resemblance may be physical or temperamental.  A grandchild can have a similar personality to a grandparent or possess some of their same talents.  When this happens, a grandparent can feel a strong attraction to the child, often to the detriment of their children and other grandchildren.  When this occurs, grandparents should act carefully.

“Crazy’ about a grandchild.

Lottie, a 59-year-old grandmother is “crazy to a fault” about Evelyn, her 4-year-old granddaughter.  But Lottie ignores Evelyn’s older sister and brother.  When she comes to visit she brings one present for each of the children and 5 presents for Evelyn.  “I can’t help it.  I am nuts about Evelyn.  I see myself in her.  I am not happy about the situation.  I feel bad for the other kids, but Evelyn is and always will be my number one grandchild,” said Lottie.

Joan, the mother of three, says, “My father is a male chauvinist.  He always wanted a grandson.  I have 3 daughters and now that my sister has a son, my kids never see their grandfather.  He spends all his free time with my nephew.  I feel as rejected as my daughters do.”  Joan’s oldest daughter, Kyle, is 13-years-old.  She misses her grandfather.  “He just dropped out of sight when my cousin came along.  Everyone knows it.  We used to have fun, but I don’t see him much anymore.”

What about the “Unpicked/”

Children who aren’t favored by a grandparent suffer.  7-year-old Chris feels bad that “none of my grandparents picked me as their favorite.  All my brothers and sisters got picked.  They get to do things with a special grandparent and I don’t.  I don’t know if I did something wrong.”

Although favoritism seems a benign issue, it can be hurtful to grandchildren and to parents who take the grandparental rejection personally.  Grandchildren are viewed as a precious gift that parents give to grandparents.  Parents want each of their gifts to be special and cherished.  A child is eager for its grandparent’s attention.  When such attention is not freely given or is given in greater abundance to a sibling or cousin, a child can be deeply hurt.  Grandparents should be especially sensitive to giving all of their grandchildren equal time and love.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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