What to Do When One Set of Grandparents Is Favored?

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Being a grandparent can be one of the most exciting things in life. You loved having your children and seeing them become parents can bring a lot of joy to your life. 


Most of the time, your child will have a partner who has their own parents. Their parents are likely just as excited to be grandparents and want to spend time with their grandchild too. 

There’s only one child and you can’t split the child so everyone gets a piece to spend time with so families will have to share holidays and birthdays or make plans to spend them together. 

Sometimes, though, there is one set of grandparents that are clearly favored over the other. The reason could simply be that geographically they live closer so it’s easier to make time to spend with them. 

In other cases the reason may not be so obvious and you may feel like you’re being left out of important moments in your grandchild’s life. 

So, what do you do if one set of grandparents is being favored over the other and you still want to spend just as much time with your grandchild? 

Well first it’s important to talk about the different types of favoritism. 

Fixed Favoritism

This kind of behavior is happens when it’s very obvious that one set of grandparents it the favorite no matter what happens. 

They will be no shift in favorites and it will likely be obvious from the beginning.

Fluid Favoritism

This can be a little harder to detect, unfortunately. Sometimes this happens when one set of grandparents have a perceived higher value than the other.

For example, one set of grandparents is offering to take the family on an all expenses paid trip. They are the favorite of the day because they are currently benefitting the family the most.

However depending on what happens and what you can offer to the family, the shift in favorites could happen. 

This kind of favoritism can also be a little bit of jealousy and not actual favoritism. It may just be that the family is especially grateful for the gifts or help or whatever it is that’s being given and they are not truly favoring one set of grandparents. 

baby and her grandma

 Favoritism and Maternal Grandparents

Many families report feeling that there is a strong amount of favoritism to the maternal grandparents when a baby is born. 

The reason for this is that since it is their daughter who is physically having this baby they feel a little closer and little more involved. 

Many women’s bond with their mother will become much stronger during their pregnancy whereas a man’s bond with his mother probably won’t change.

For this reason, it can feel as though there is a stronger link to the maternal grandparents and therefore the paternal grandparents feel a little left out. 

If you are the paternal grandparent it’s important to make sure you step up and speak out so that you are included in the experience of having a grandchild and get to spend time with them too. 

Focus On What You Can Do 

You may find that the parents of your child’s partner are able to provide more expensive gifts of experiences for your child and their family. 

Sometimes this can make you feel like you are not as good of a grandparent because you can’t do the exact same things for your grandchild as they do. 

While this may be true, it’s important to focus on the things that you can do for your family. 

Maybe you are a very talented sewer or knitter, and you can make special items for your grandchild that are completely unique and they can have forever. 

It’s very natural to have those sparks of jealousy when your children and grandchild are obviously spending more time with their other family than you. 

How you deal with it will help you get through those times when you just want to give up. 

No One Can Steal Your Identity

No matter how much their other family gives to them or spends on them, no one can steal you identity as their grandparent. 

This can be difficult to remember when you’re in the middle of it however you will always be their grandparent. 

grandparents with their granddaughter

Speak Up

Sometimes your child may not actually realizing that they are leaving you out of things or you feel like you don’t get as much time with your grandchild as their other grandparents do. 

You don’t need to accuse them of anything, because that may bring a negative reaction and your child may get defensive. 

Instead, have a conversation with your child and ask to spend more time with your grandchild.

Perhaps you can suggest having them for a weekend to give the parents a break or joining them on a family vacation to all spend more time together. 

Since your child may not know it’s happening or even realize what’s going on, they are likely not intentionally leaving you out. 

Let them know you want to be included in events and speak up about it. There’s nothing wrong with letting them know that you want to come too and spend time with your family. 

When doing this, just remember to approach the topic with open conversation and do not accuse them directly of anything. Just simply let them know you love spending time with your grandchild and ask how you can be more involved, or even help out if they need it. 

 Invite Them Over

Are you waiting for an invitation from your children or for the next big holiday to spend time with your grandchild?

Don’t wait! Perhaps you can invite them over for dinner on the weekend or create a family event as a way to spend time with them. 

You don’t have to wait for an invitation – take the initiative and invite them over to your home to spend time with them.

If they live in another city, maybe you can make plans to go visit for the day and have dinner together.

No matter how the best way is for you to spend time with your child and grandchild, invite them to be with you and don’t wait for the invitation. 

 Ask How You Can Help 

During the pregnancy and early days of your grandchild’s life, ask the parents what they need and how you can help. Do they need some meals prepared or maybe just need a couple hours sleep.

If you ask them how you can help them they could be more likely to include you. They really may just not want to ask you or feel like they are inconveniencing you. 

kid drawing with his grandparents

Instead of assuming what they will need, ask them what they need and what they really could use help with. 

The other set of grandparents could be buying the most expensive stroller or crib and all of the cute outfits but if what the parents can really use is someone to help with the baby for a couple hours then this will give you a way to bond with your grandchild in a beneficial way. 

What if the Favoritism Continues?

Even if after you have talked to your child about your feelings they continue to obviously favor the other set of parents it can be really difficult. 

It can be incredibly hurtful and you may feel like your grandchild will never get to know you because they are not spending any time with you. 

If the favoritism continues you may need to give yourself a little distance from your child and grandchild.

You don’t want to do this – completely understandable – but if it’s hurting you and your child doesn’t seem to care or notice then that is a toxic relationship. 

It’s an important part of the relationship to make sure a child spends time with both sets of grandparents – as long as it’s a healthy relationship and the family dynamic is beneficial to the child. 

You’ve put in the effort and tried your best to spend more time with your grandchild but your child just isn’t having it. 

What you can do is your best to still keep in contact with your grandchild – always make sure to send them gifts on their birthday or Christmas. Try to reach out to them and make phone calls to them to stay in touch. 

While you may feel like all of this doesn’t matter because the other family is giving all these gifts and materialistic things, however over time your grandchild will grow up to realize what this means.

As your grandchild grows up, if the effort is there they may choose to spend more time with you on their own regardless of what their parents are doing or saying. 

Try your best to spend time with your family and make an honest effort with your grandchild. Invite them over for dinner and speak up about wanting to be included in family activities so that they know you care about spending time with them. 

It could just be some miscommunication and your child may not realize it’s happening. A simple conversation can go a really long way to getting you some more quality time with your grandchild!