Is Spoiling Your Grandkids Blessing Them?

This post originally appeared at Mujer Verdadera, our blog’s Spanish-speaking sister! It has been translated from the original for you, our readers. Enjoy! 

I recently asked a friend how her mom’s visit to her home had gone. This was her answer:

Great! We really enjoyed having her here. You can imagine how my girls enjoyed Grandma’s spoiling. They bawled when she left. So now we face the challenge of restoring discipline and going back to requiring obedience. When my mom is here, she won’t let us correct them or discipline them—or refuse them anything, for that matter. I’ve tried to talk to her about it, but she just can’t stand to see them cry or suffer in any way, even for a moment.

Shortly before this, another friend had commented to me:

My mother-in-law is staying with us for several weeks. We always enjoy having her, and she’s so giving and servant-hearted. The only thing is, I just don’t know how to handle the situation with the kids, because she wants us to let them do whatever they want. She wants to hold the baby all day long, although I had trained him not to need it. She wants to fix them any food they ask for and won’t allow us to make them eat what we have decided to serve them. We love her, and she has heard biblical instruction on child-rearing, but she just can’t stand to see her grandkids sad. 

Does any of that sound familiar? Could you, dear reader, possibly be that grandmother that prides herself on indulging and spoiling her grandchildren? 

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged”(Prov. 17:6). Few things in life compare to the privilege of being a grandma, of holding in your arms a baby that was born to your own son or daughter. It really does feel like winning a crown! All other interests are set aside when there is an opportunity to spend time with that darling baby. Being a grandmother is truly a privilege. 

But have you ever stopped to think, Christian grandmother, about the huge responsibilities that comes with this privilege? Allow me to share several of them with you:

1. To accept that your grandchildren do not exist to make you happy. 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

If moms struggle with the temptation to find happiness in our kids, grandmothers seem to suffer from an overdose of this tendency. It’s easy to lose yourself in that little life that carries your blood in her veins, looks like you, and provides you with a blessed distraction from the aches and worries of old age. Dear grandmother, no human being is capable of making you happy! Hearing that sweet word “Grandma” from little lips can fill you with feelings of worth temporarily, but your true identity must be centered in Christ. Don’t lay the heavy burden of “making Grandma happy” on little shoulders that will never be able to bear it. 

2. To adopt biblical goals for your grandchildren. 

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). 

When we analyze the behavior of most grandparents today, we must come to the conclusion that they have one primary life goal for their grandchildren: “happiness.” Christian grandparents need to recognize this as a deficient goal that can greatly undermine their grandchildren’s spiritual life. The goals that Scripture presents are salvation and sanctification, being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Is this your desire for your grandchildren? More than fleeting happiness, you should desire their eternal well-being. When you idolize the temporary earthly happiness of your grandchildren, you are, in reality, drawing them away from eternal life. 

3. To admit that your grandchildren are sinners. 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). 

“We all once . . . were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3). 

It can be difficult for grandparents to accept biblical realities like this one. If we don’t trust the divine diagnosis of the true condition of their hearts, we won’t seek after the true solution for our grandchildren’s biggest problem. Those tears over not getting what he wants come from your grandson’s heart rebelling against God. Those little lies she tells you in order to get you to take her side against her mom are the result of your granddaughter’s slavery to sin. If your grandchildren were sold into slavery, you would do everything in your power to rescue them! Are you doing everything in your power to see your grandchildren rescued from slavery to sin? Or do you turn a blind eye to their true condition in order to spoil them? 

4. To allow your grandchildren’s parents to raise them. 

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife. . . . Fathers . . . bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 5:31; 6:4). 

A grandmother can be a precious source of wisdom for her children, grandchildren, and sons- and daughters-in-law, especially if she recognizes and respects the place each one holds. God has clearly entrusted to parents the task of raising children, and the biblical indication is that this child-rearing should take place within the family unit independent of the grandparents. Every time you intervene between your grandchild and his parents, you are teaching him to challenge the God-given authority of his parents, and you are hindering God’s work in that home.

Although your children’s child-rearing efforts will be imperfect, and even if you don’t completely agree with their child-rearing philosophy, the best thing for your grandchildren is to submit to their own parents. God has promised them a special blessing for doing so (Eph. 6:1–3). Praise God for grandmothers who contribute to the raising of their grandchildren through wise, compassionate, and private counsel. 

5. To actively participate in your grandchildren’s spiritual lives. 

“Make them known to your children and your children's children” (Deut. 4:9). 

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). 

The Bible indicates that grandparents can play a key role in instructing their grandchildren in the ways of the Lord. Many believing grandparents have greatly enriched their grandchildren’s spiritual lives by telling them stories of God’s work in their lives, quoting Scripture to them, listening to them talk about their problems and concerns, providing them with godly counsel, and praying with and for them. What a privilege to tell the next generation of the wonderful works of the Lord! What an enormous responsibility to daily carry the precious souls of grandchildren before the throne of grace. This, dear grandmother, is the best work you can do for your grandchildren!

Conclusion

Have you believed the lie that a grandmother just has to spoil her grandchildren? Do you think that perspective agrees with God’s perspective? Evaluate the inclinations of your own heart and surrender your idolatry to the Lord. This is the way to become a truly useful instrument in His hands in your grandchildren’s lives. 

If you are a daughter or daughter-in-law, dare to share this with your mom or mother-in-law. Grandmother, don’t be offended if someone shares this with you. It is right to seek out quality literature on parenting for your grandchildren’s good and God’s glory. Let us humble ourselves and work together so that the next generation experiences the work of God in their lives!

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Susi Bixby

Susi Bixby

 

Susi is married to Mateo, and she loves her three gifts from God: Aaron, Ana, and David. Desiring to live God’s design for her life, she strives to dedicate most of her energy to her home and family. She has the privilege of being a pastor’s wife at Grace Baptist Church in Juárez, Nuevo León, Mexico. She also enjoys teaching classes and counseling female students at the Christian University of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico. She loves to study and share the Word of God because it is “living and effective” to perfect each believer.

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