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The pros and cons of spoiling your grandkids

May 14, 2012, 8:15 a.m.

Being able to indulge your grandchildren is one of the privileges of growing older. However, no one wants spoiled grandkids. And, there's a big difference from buying your granddaughter or grandson an expensive or difficult to find present they've wanted and allowing your grandkids to behave rudely in public. Here are some of the pros and cons of grandparents spoiling grandchildren:

Why to spoil your grandkids:

  1. Because you can. Grandparents are generally in a better financial situation than parents, who are often juggling supporting a family, buying a house and building a career.
  2. To reap lasting results. Sending a bright grandchild or a child with special needs to a school that is beyond the means of his or her parents can yield lifelong, positive results. On a smaller scale, a special vacation with the grandkids can create lasting memories for both you and the kids.
  3. Because you can't love a child too much. If "spoiled" to you means extra attention, hugs and kisses, we applaud you. Children thrive in a warm, loving environment. Bring it on.

Why not to spoil your grandkids:

  1. Because you'll teach them bad social skills. If spoiling to you means little or no discipline, you're not doing those kids any favors. Although you might be able to overlook their bad and rude behavior, others won't, especially as they get older.
  2. Because you're neglecting yourselves. If you are scrimping on your own needs to be able to buy that big, expensive toy for your grandkids, it's time to reevaluate your priorities. Taking care of your own needs first helps send the right message to the kids.

In the end, it really depends on how you define "spoiled." Most grandparents just want their grandkids to have a fun childhood, one that will prepare them to be happy and responsible adults. Doing your part as grandparents involves treading that narrow line between offering a few extras to letting the kids run wild. Who said a grandparent's role was easy?

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