Grandparents offer the safe world where the word "no" is never uttered, encouraging our children to take risks that as parents we sometimes can't or don't offer

Because Grandparents Never Say No

July 22, 2014 by Michelle

FL2W disclosure

I like to think that I’m a pretty good mom. I love the wee ones, and they love me right back – Mister Man and Little Miss will still even hug me in public, so I must be doing something right. We do fun stuff together. I help them when they need it, and I push them when they need it. But I’m still mom, which means that the buck stops here.

More than once, the wee ones have cried or whined and said they just want to go back to Granny’s house and Gramps’s house because it’s more fun there. They don’t have to do work there like I make them do at home. They never get mad at the wee ones.

Grandparents offer the safe world where the word "no" is never uttered, encouraging our children to take risks that as parents we sometimes can't or don't offer

And I suppose that’s all true. I’m lucky that the wee ones have an amazingly close relationship with my parents. My mom complains that she misses them if she doesn’t see them for two days in a row, and they just got back from a two week vacation with the wee ones and my husband (it was an RV trip, I stayed home – don’t ask). They adore the time they spend with my parents, and my parents adore them – and it – right back.

As for me, I’m constantly amazed that the boundaries and rules my mom put in place for me are nowhere in sight when it comes to their grandchildren. In their eyes, the wee ones can do no wrong, and I suppose that’s actually a good thing. They get unconditional love from them (not that they don’t from me, too) and everything they do in the eyes of my parents is amazing and talented and precious. They are praised and encouraged even for the silly and goofy things.

Could I ever imagine my mom having a burping in your face contest? Or being proud of Little Miss’s ability to burp on command? Given my dad’s insistence that I was faking hiccups growing up (I wasn’t, and I hated having them as much as he hated listening to them), let’s just say this came as a surprise to me.

I send the artwork that I don’t want to hang in my home to my parents’ house, and they proudly display it in places I never would. When the wee ones want to put more chocolate chips into the batter so that it’s more like chips with a little dough holding them together, that’s what they do. When the wee ones want to paint rocks and wood, not only do my parents supply the paint but they display the “works of art” in their home.

The wee ones feel absolutely safe there. They know they can do no wrong, and that is an incredibly important piece of knowledge to have. At the same time, that can’t be their entire lives. They need boundaries. They need to learn to work hard. They need to understand the roles that everyone plays in our family to make it work. That’s the job I have as the mom. I’m just lucky that the wee ones have that unconditional yes – that voice that encourages them to go for it and try no matter what – in my grandparents because it encourages them in ways that I sometimes cannot.

So remind me of that the next time my blood pressure starts rising over my parents’ lack of boundaries with the wee ones. It may drive me nuts, but there is definitely a time and a place for the love they shower on the wee ones, and I would never want to take that away.

Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-by-Roald-Dahl-666x1024This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration.

Head over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child can have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more! For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book. Then, join From Left to Write on July 24 as we discuss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As a book club member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


  • Stacy (The Novel Life)

    when my oldest daughter was a toddler she would spend time at her Granny’s house and have much the same experience as you talk about here. . .would you believe the permanent marker um ‘artwork’ that my sweet 22 year old daughter drew at age 2 on the bedroom wall at her Granny’s IS STILL THERE?!?

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