Do Grandparents Get Jealous of the Other Grandparents?
Yes, yes they do.
Who else just got uncomfortable?
If you are a parent, if you are a grandparent, you know that there can be some jealousy between grandparents.
While jealousy between grandparents is absolutely normal, it doesn’t have to signal war.
Do grandparents experience the green-eyed monster of jealously?
Well, that’s some question, isn’t it.
To tell you the truth, it makes me a little uncomfortable, simply because the short answer is yes.
YES! YES, WE DO!
Let’s delve deeper, shall we?
A paternal grandmother asks about jealousy.
The question, from a loving paternal grandmother, who is happy to share all she has, yet found herself in the momentary and surprisingly unexpected throes of jealousy brought on by the maternal grandmother holding her grandchild/spending time with her grandchild WITHOUT HER PRESENT (!) caused her to ask OMT!: Do other grandparents feel this way?
As stated in my inaugural Ask OMT! post:
Here’s what I promise:
- I’ll answer as honestly as I can.
- I won’t sugarcoat or BS my way through the answers.
- I’ll offer this caveat: Once some things are seen, they can’t be unseen. Are y’all sure you want to know some thangs? Yeah? Ok…
- You’d trust this face, right?
Jealousy is a hard emotion to discuss, especially when dealing with grandparents.
Just the word causes my lip to curl.
The sound of it evokes discomfort and madness.
The feel of it, the same.
No one wants to feel it; no one wants to admit to feeling it.
To be completely clear, let’s define jealousy: an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has.
So, in the world of your lovely grandchildren, can it be true that jealousy has taken up a spot in your warm and squishy grandparenty heart when you see the other grandparents acting like those are their grandchildren too?!
Can you believe that the other grandparents are spending time with your grandchildren?!
How dare they!
Hand ’em over!
~ stoopid jealousy ~
THE NERVE! (humor is a diffusing mechanism, y’all!)
Why would the maternal or paternal grandparents spending time with the grandkids bug you?
I’ll just leave this here: because they aren’t you.
Is it true that you are feeling unhappy because you want what they have, IE your grandchild?
Yes. The answer is yes.
Why is this?
I think it’s simple for us mommas: we spent all our child-rearing days protecting and sheltering our children from those we didn’t really know and now we are in the position of not only sharing our precious grandchildren, but with those we may not know too well.
STRANGER DANGER 2.0!
Your head will reason with you:
- Yes, these are the parents that raised your daughter-in-law/son-in-law. The same folks.
- They are loving parents and, most likely, loving grandparents.
- Yep, your grandchildren most likely love/adore them as well.
- In your head, intellectually, like a sane normal person, you get it.
- Yet, the knowledge of this does nothing for your desire to spend all your time with your little darlings.
- NO SHARING!
Pssst. I’m gonna let you in on something you may not have considered: You are the other grandparents.
You can imagine the other grandparents might feel the same way you do when they see you, the other grandparents, holding their grandchild and it makes you have the feels in your tender heart for them.
Oh, my. This is dizzying.
The easiest solution is to get to know the
interlopers other grandparents.
I mean, how can you not come to love and bond with people who will be happy to talk about your grandchild (all dem grandchildren) all day long?
The great thing is they will probably have cute cute cute pics of your grandchild that you have never seen and that you would be happy to oooo and aww over (Unless you have a tiny black heart and wish these people ill. Come on, now. Don’t be like that. Let your heart grow, Grinchy Mcgee.)
I know when Sweet E is with his maternal side of the family, I always wish I was there too.
I don’t even dislike his other grandparents – I like ’em!
I simply feel like I’m missing all the Sweet E fun.
My guess is they probably feel the same at times when he’s with us (my adorable facebook photos of E probably doesn’t help matters).
The importance of being a grandparent is, well, important.
Whether you fall on the paternal or maternal side of grandparenting, you are important in the overall equation.
Being part of an extended group, where you may not be completely familiar with the other side, can make for unexpected uncomfortable moments.
GIT YER HANDS OF MY GRANDKID!
Time to get to know these people, just like you would like them to know you.
Golden Rule and all.
You not only have a grandchild, you have the wonderful possibility of making new friends, of expanding your family!
Here’s something else that’s wonderful when you encourage a close relationship between all grandparents and grandchild:
Close grandparent and grandchildren relationships are beneficial to both.
Boston College did a study on the bond between grandparents and adult grandchildren.
In a nutshell, here’s what they found:
A new study by Sociology Assistant Professor Sara Moorman and doctoral candidate in sociology Jeffrey Stokes shows that a close, emotional relationship between grandparents and adult grandchildren can have a measurable effect on the psychological well-being of both grandparents and grandchildren.
“We found that an emotionally close grandparent-adult grandchild relationship was associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations,” said Moorman, who is also affiliated with the University’s Institute on Aging. “Grandparents and adult grandchildren can be real resources to each other.”
In plain, non-jealousy, language, this means that the healthy loving emotional relationships between grandparents (all of ya!) and grandchildren carries over into the grandkids adult life.
The more you love ’em and are present when they are young, and then hold onto those relationships throughout their life, the better their psychological health when they become adults.
I think (hope) we can all get behind that.
There can also be the issue of maternal grandparents vs paternal grandparents.
The prevailing wisdom (I’m not saying it’s right) is that girls are closer to their parents than boys.
When these lovely boys and girls have babies, many times it’s assumed that the maternal grandparents will play the larger role.
We have always enjoyed a close relationship with our son and that didn’t change upon the arrival of Sweet E.
My point to this bit of information is this: Go. Grandparent!
Maternal grandparent or paternal grandparent, none of it matters to that baby.
The best grandparent’s quote I ever heard was from my beloved father-in-law.
Please note – he was the paternal grandad.
Your grandkids just want you; what they’ll remember is that you were there.
I have found he was completely right.
Doesn’t matter to the kiddo what side you’re from – it only matters that you show up.
If that means you’re feeling a bit of jealousy, buck up, buttercup.
Your grandchild awaits, no matter how or what you’re feeling.
Grandparent jealousy can take you by surprise.
The thing to remember is that jealousy is a normal emotion.
We’re basically all kindergartners who have trouble sharing!
The problem persists when you don’t take the time to ask yourself why you are feeling the way you are feeling.
And, if it’s not obvious up to this point in this post, I’m talking about normal relationships between families and am excluding the relationships that may be dangerous, because we all know that families aren’t always sunshine and unicorns.
I’m talking about jealousy between folks that won’t shank anyone for doing something as lovely as loving your grandbabies.
Put grandparent jealousy into perspective.
When I find myself feeling anything other than grateful that Sweet E is loved by many, I call to mind when Boy was an itty-bitty.
My motto back then was: Boy can’t be loved by too many people. It was simply impossible.
Even if the person loving him was someone I may have had an issue or two with, as long as I knew he was safe and loved with that person, I always reminded myself that love was the ultimate gift we give one another and who was I to stand in the way of love?
I think that holds true with our grandkiddos.
The more love grandchildren are shown and offered, by all the sides, maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents, the better.
What a blessing it is to be loved.
So, anonymous grandmama who bravely asked the hard question concerning grandparent jealousy, my answer is simply this: I think most grandparents have felt this way, more than they’re willing to admit.
The best thing you can do is to prepare yourself for momentary jealousy.
Is it a given you’ll feel this way?
But, you might.
So, be like a Boy Scout – ever prepared, and don’t beat yourself up over this temporary mindset.
You are feeling a normal emotion.
It’s okay to feel like you are missing out or to feel like you want what they have (your grandbaby in their lap).
Just try and remember that they’re probably feeling it too; there’s comfort in shared misery, right?
So much of grandparenting is out of our hands.
The best we can do is be a support to our children and love their babies.
Oh, and deal with the
gut-wrenching grief reality of knowing others are going to love those babies too. And hug them. And read to them. And tuck them into bed. And…
Sorry. That’s probably enough for one post.
Hang tough, grandmama!
Your turn to do all those things is probably next.
What a lovely day that will be!
Keep in mind that when you have your sweet potato pie grandchild and you’re doing all the fun thangs, the other grands probably wish they were sharing in the fun.
The rules for grandparents are simple.
- Show up.
- Love those kids (the big ones too).
- Share the love and the grandchildren.
- Oh, and make waffles every time you visit!
- Also, you will love whatever name they call you.
I’m not flippantly disregarding the fact that many families have had issues with each other way before the grandkids showed up.
What I’m getting to the heart of is the most important thing to focus on, is offering your grandbabies the love you have, when and where you can.
Block out the noise of what anyone else is doing.
Stay focused on your relationship.
Do grandparents get jealous of other grandparents?
I hope I’ve shed a bit of light on the issue and that you feel better about your very honest and common feelings.
Once we get our fears out in the open and can talk freely about them, their power over us is diminished.
Anything you guys want to add?
Original post: January 23, 2015 ~ Updated post: February 4, 2022