The Real Reason Why Your Kids Are Angels For Their Grandparents (But Not You)


Raising children is exhausting, so YOU SEND YOUR KIDS TO THEIR GRANDPARENTS’ house so you can catch a desperately needed break. They later return them to you, singing the praises of your children’s behavior. The grandparents then leave your house and, within five minutes (usually less), those darling angels morph back into the gremlins you always knew they were. What gives?


Well, if you’re thinking about blaming yourself, you can go ahead and stop that right now. This is not your fault. Were your parents lying about the kids’ behavior? No, it’s not that either. Your children really were perfect angels for them. Here’s why:

Grandparents are so important in a child's life. But, they are also great at spoiling their grandchildren. Don't feel bad if your kids are better for your parents than they are for you. Here's why. #parenting #parenthood #momlife #motherhood #grandparents #family

In the words of Wesley from The Princess Bride, “As you wish.”

Your kids didn’t hear the word “no” the entire time they were gone. All your children want to watch a different movie? No problem. There are multiple televisions at the grandparents’ house and they have no qualms about playing a different cartoon on each of them. Kids can’t agree where to go to eat? Problem solved! Lunch at Mom Heaven Chick-fil-A and Dinner at McDonald’s. And if you have three kids? “Second Dinner” wherever the third would like.

All the screens.

At well-child visits, my doctors ask about how much WE ARE LIMITING SCREEN TIME (just in case we weren’t already feeling guilty enough about it on our own). Meanwhile, at Casa Grandparents, the kids can have all the TV, all the Netflix, all the iPads. All. Of. It. My dad’s “work iPad” had the Thomas the Train and Disney Jr. apps downloaded onto it about 2.5 seconds after it was issued to him. My youngest will probably be able to type in the passcodes to all four grandparents’ iEverythings before he can even say his own name.

To the tune of LMFAO’s Shots — “Snacks Snacks Snacks Snacks Snacks Snacks, Everybody!”

Meal time is only kind of a thing at the grandparents’ house. Sure, if the kids feel like eating dinner, they’ll have it. But if not? Grandparents will just FEED THEM ALL THE SNACKS their little hearts desire. And none of that healthy stuff either. We’re talking high fructose-GMO-laden-prepackaged-preservative-laced crapola. Even our baby, who only knows five words, starts making a special tongue-clicking sound at the grandparents’ house, which is code for “feed me junk food.”

Undivided attention.

You pay attention to your kids, of course, but you also have responsibilities. If you drop everything and cater to their every whim all day, every day, your house will soon spiral into a (more) filthy hellhole with uncooked meals and unpaid bills. Not so for the grandparents.

They will follow your kids around like personal butlers of amusement, fighting all the nerf battles, playing all the board games, and doing all the crafts. Your children will believe the world revolves around them because, while they’re with the grandparents, it does.

Grandparents are so important in a child's life. But, they are also great at spoiling their grandchildren. Don't feel bad if your kids are better for your parents than they are for you. Here's why. #parenting #parenthood #momlife #motherhood #grandparents #family

And if your children have great-grandparents? Game over. Great grandparents can literally do whatever the eff they want because, now that they’re in their 80s or 90s, they’ve earned it. They may observe a sugar-free, salt-free, taste-free diet 99% of the time, but as soon as they know your kids are on the way, they will start cranking out all the good stuff.

They can feed your children ice cream and chocolate from dusk ‘til dawn and you will shut up and like it.

If these circumstances are getting you down, just remember that it really is a blessing to have this many people who love your kids.

Besides, if you survive the next thirty-ish years, you may just have grandchildren of your own to spoil rotten and then return. Payback’s a beeyatch.

This post originally appeared on The Wild Wild West


  1. Oh so true!! Just spent a week at the beach with the whole family. The consumption of funnel cake, cotton candy and gummy worms was outrageous and so were the meltdowns at the end of the day. The grandparents can’t understand what happened…they were so good when they were with us and now that you’re here they have turned in to monsters!

    • Thanks for reading, Kate! Yes, I think my favorite part of the grandparent commentary is the genuine shock when they say that last part, “They were so good when they were with us..!” (like they couldn’t POSSIBLY fathom why the kids were good for them and not for you lol). I hope you and the family had a great trip!

  2. Absolutely 1,000% truth!
    Here’s an example:
    My mom & dad live 5 miles down the road from me…which is great a lot of the time. They are able to come to a lot of my son’s happenings much more often than to the other grandkids that live 3 1/2 hours away. They are able to watch my son for an evening while I have dinner with friends, etc.
    BUT, the bad part is exactly what you talked about in this article. If I complain about my son to my mother, she will basically tell me that it’s my fault because she has no problems with him.
    I told her, mom, do you ever tell that kid no? Do you give him a bedtime? Do you set time limits on electronics? Do you make sure he eats 3 good meals a day? Do you make sure he brushes his teeth? And the list goes on and on. Trust me, if she created structure for him, she’d see what I was talking about. Which, I get it. Grandparents are grandparents, not parents. They should be able to spoil their grandkids.
    And I hope every parent that feels like their kids are perfect for their parents and monsters for them, understand that, that means they are doing it right.

    • Ahhh, to be a grandparent! My husband and I laugh regularly that, while we’re getting pretty exhausted courtesy of this whole parenting gig, we’d love to give grandparenting a go. If we manage to survive the next 25 or 30 years with our sanity intact, we are very much looking forward to it (some days though, that seems like a HUGE “if” lol).

  3. I am the Grammy to my “Grammy daughter – as she calls herself. To some extent I agree with this post. However, if you look at the parents in this generation, they are plugged in to their iPhones, iPads or computers whenever they have down time. Sure, we spoil our grands because we can – we know to put the electronics down, we know that play is very important to young humans. We read stories, we go places, we introduce them to the world around us. We can do that because we raised our own children to be responsible adults, therefore we can spoil our grands. Had we not done our job as parents so well, we would be raising our grands. Enjoy every minute – make memories, share a special bond. Our grands know we love them and there is no shame in that. Parents – put your phones down please – your wee one would love one on one time playing with playdough.

    • Nope. This angels for the grands and monsters for the parents thing was totally true before hand held electronics were in every home!

      How do I know? I’m pretty much perfectly positioned, actually. I was a parent of 2 before I had my first cell phone …. and even that I only used as a phone, but now I’m a parent of 4, with an age range of 7-18. They all have been angels with the grands, even the ones who don’t give in to total junk food, and then melt down at home. I’ve actually had discussions about it with my oldest son (now 16), and he sums it up with: you’re my mom; of course I act different with you. I don’t have to keep up my social guard with you.

      I literally spend 24/7 with my children (except during college classes, I teach them all at home), so if you see me at the park with them, and I’m on my phone, please know that this is either my work time, or my down time, and if I seem to be ignoring their pleas to watch them do something, I’ve already warned them that I’m not available for this 1-2 hours today (even though I am actually hearing them, and possibly watching their stunt anyway, and maybe even video recording it while I pretend not to notice, so that Dad can see the stunt later).

      We’ve had our snuggles this morning, our one on ones with each child…… what you see out in public is not the sum total of what happens in our home. For that matter, neither is what you see at your house, or ours when you’re there. Because it’s a special occasion: for whatever reason, we’re safer to let down our guard around you, and chill knowing you’re entertaining the kids for a little while. Thank you for that. It’s much appreciated, even if we show it by grabbing our phones to tune out the utter constant-ness that is parenthood.


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