Positive Spoiling at Christmas Time

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Positive Spoiling at Christmas Time

Giving gifts to your grandchildren can either be a welcomed relief or a point of contention with their parents. In our book, Extreme Grandparenting, when it comes to giving to your grandchildren, we recommend what we like to call “positive spoiling”. That is making sure that what you’re giving your grandchildren is both acceptable to their parents and helps your grandchild grow into a better person. When it comes to positive spoiling, less is usually more. Grandchildren need more time and attention, not always more stuff. We have an agreement with our daughter, the mother of our grandchildren. We always check to see if a gift is appropriate in their opinion. Sometimes the best way to gift your grandchild is to help their parents provide an experience or activity that is just beyond the family’s budget – like a piece of sporting equipment, lessons or a week at camp. This year, one of the gifts we are giving our seven year old granddaughter is a year of piano lessons. Last year, it was an annual membership to the zoo. When it comes to gift giving, we have to be careful not to overstep our boundaries. We didn’t want our own parents coming in and taking over and neither do our children. For example, when we wanted to take our granddaughters to Disneyland for their first time, we checked with our daughter and son-in-law to make sure that wasn’t something they would rather do themselves. We even offered to pay for it and let them take them or pay for the trip and take them along with the girls. As it turned out, they welcomed a little time to themselves and encouraged us to take them on our own. We must also be gracious when it comes to gift-giving. Don’t use Christmas as a way to unwittingly show up the other set of grandparents. You may have different means and it may be a struggle for them just to make a gift by hand and if you walk in with a $300 gift, you are going to make everyone uncomfortable. Remember to be sensitive to the other grandparents who love your grandchildren. And when it comes to blended families, don’t limit your gift-giving to those in your bloodline. If you have step-grandchildren, embrace them rather than leaving them out. Look on it as an opportunity. You get to expand your influence with grace and love. Our grandchildren are gifts from above. We have the privilege of living out our role as a source of strength and grace for the next generation, during the Christmas season, and all year long.

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