Ask SAHM is a place where you can ask our staff & community a question safely & anonymously. Please read our disclaimer.

Has anybody else noticed a trend of selfish grandparents??

I've noticed an increase in the trend of selfish grandparents,
having done 'their time' is completely beside the point when the reason we exist is to form connections & spend time with those we love. We are very family orientated with 2 kids (4, 14) I love elderly people and always knew when both our parents are older I will care for them in my home. It's unfathomable that the only people who you should be able to rely upon are too busy with their own social affairs to bother. older people then wonder why they're left in lonely care homes? You get out of a relationship what you put in! And who on earth came up with the phrase that grandparents are not a 'dumping ground' who on earth would call it that?? Your grandchildren are your FLESH AND BLOOD it's not like your spending time with someone else's kids - If you can't be there for your family in a world where hardships and stresses are everywhere then don't expect anyone to pay an interest in you when you're older.

Report

Got an Answer?


Answers (61)

I can't agree with you… my parents and my husband's parents have indeed "done their time" raising their children, and now it's our turn. Why should they retire, just to become unpaid childcare workers so their own children can go to work? They have worked hard their whole lives, and now it's time for them to live for themselves. I'm happy that they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, but it's always for leisure, not to look after them for me! I'm there to change the nappies and wipe the noses, they are there to spoil them and play. You're forgetting that these grandchildren are also the FLESH AND BLOOD of the parents themselves. We as parents ultimately have the responsibility of the care of our children, and trying to lay it on the grandparents is a selfish and entitled attitude.

 I think some parents are the selfish ones and have such high (and demanding) expectations of grandparents. My parents are only in their early 50's and both work full-time, I respect that they need their own time and have their own life's. I don't expect them to be on call to look after my kids...in saying that I know my parents would always help if I needed it (i just don't take advantage of them)!
helpful (31) 
 "Done my time" shits me to tears. Kids are not chores.

Iv not done my time it's a preclude to spend time with my grandkids a few days a week.

When I singed up to parenting my "time" is done when I'm dead

My own parents gave every for us and it's my turn to pay it forward... and you know what my mum will be surrounded by every single one of her kids and grand kids and great grandkids on her deathbed because she didn't just do her 18years then got outta that shit hole...

I had a family to have relationships... I'll be done with my relationships with them when I'm done with life

helpful (31) 
 As usual there's always someone who doesn't get the point (like you) I'm not talking about childcare - that's what a childcare centre or the parents are for. Im talking about the complete lack of interest to build a bond / relationship with your family and grandkids, I would never ever expect grandparents to watch them while I work but I do expect a little help occasionally (maybe once a month or fortnight) because that's what a close family does! I have strong family values and spend a lot of time having fun with my children, I genuinely find it sad if kids don't have any extended family who show interest and no matter which way you put it, it's darn selfish.
helpful (19) 
 Maybe 'done their time' means the time when your kids are very young and they need constant care and attention. Of course you're always a parent until you die, no matter how old your kids.....but most parents do not need to drive their adult kids to work. Or prepare their meals. Or read them stories.
helpful (6) 
 You're very family orientated and that's great. But have you spoken to your parents about their selfishness? I feel that parents have high expectations. Back into day kids didn't get dropped at school, they walked, they played on the street and they did t get toys every weekend. When I speak to my dad he tells me of the massive hardship he had but never once says it as a negative. His mother lost her parents in the war and travelled by boat from Europe to NZ with her one month deaf baby expecting to be eaten by the cannibles. She farmed and raised five kids. She made her friends and did her best, but certainly never expected to be perfect like we do. When I met her as a child I didn't view her highly, in fact I saw her as eating a lot and srubborn(she died when I was 18). Juxtapose that to our life today and I could see why grandparents think we are crazy. Carrying on about the newest kindergartens and homework. We are a world away and each have a different view understandably
helpful (0) 
 Young children are very exhausting even if you are just playing and hanging out with them. I think people underestimate the toll this takes on older people. My mum and dad are what I would say 'young' grandparents. Mum is 54 and Dad is 56. My parents love the grandkids obviously, but i can see the toll that 'just playing' has on them. They enjoy it, but I can definitely sense when they are ready to sit down and put their feet up for 5 and have some time out. Just think - many parents find juggling work life and the energy to have time for their own kids. How do you think grandparents feel? They have been their and done all this and are generally pooped come retirement time. I think we underestimate the energy of young children have and while they love grand kids, it can take it's toll on some older people who have lived a full life and 'been there done that'. I also don't think it 'registers' to many older people to chime in and help out as generally...they didn't have that help
helpful (9) 
 Kids are chores
Why should an old person be a babysitter

helpful (2) 
 Why should an old person raise your sprog?
helpful (0) 
 😃
helpful (0) 

Yes and no. It is very individualised. I have the same take as you.
I was drowning in PND for two years. Not a word from either side. All I wanted was for someone to come and have a cuppa at home with me. I asked countless times, as did DH. Always busy. We stopped asking, and I eventually got better.
Now I have a 3.5yo son who has zero relationship with either side, and doesn't bother asking to visit them because "they don't like me".
Growing up we had both sides of grandparents and aunties helping out, so I assumed my parents at least, would be involved. Not in a slave labour say, but just a general we love our only grandchild and enjoy spending time with them sense. like at the beach (after I pack meals and everything so no work for them), or going for a walk on any of the tracks they already walk, or spending time at my home or theirs.
Nothing. I have had discussions with them about it. Warned them they aren't building a relationship.
My son is a dreamboat so it's not like he's a nightmare for them. I'll never understand, from either side. All they say is "we love him and are busy. Soon it will change ". All that's changed is our expectations of having an extended family. We have wonderful friends who are our extended family, anyone else in the same boat - stop trying to bend over backwards for them, creating fun outings. Take your kids and enjoy the memories. It's the grandparents choices and they'll deal with the consequences. Be honest with your kids that it's not about them.
Good luck folks. People are brutal

 Love this. We did the same thing eventually. Stopped asking, and when the kids requested special activities to do with grandparents, we simply just did them. The kids (now 13 and 10) no longer want to spend time with them. We're creating memories.
It's hard never having a break, but we have one lovely couple with kids our age (they're all friends) who let us go to a date night once a month. It's taken years to reach this point. But we just downloaded movies and had dates at home. Was a great money saver :)

helpful (19) 

Haha...the people that are saying ' when I'm a grandparent...' are cracking me up, they sound like all the childless people that say ' when I have children...'. Come on, the reality is that you'll probably still be working and won't have the time to babysit 2-3 times a week or your grandchildren might not even live in the same city/ state/ country as you or your daughter/ son in law might not get along with you.

 Yes, that is the reality. I will most definitely still be working. But my intention is to prioritise the relationships with my children and their families and help out where I can/as they want. I'm not naive in thinking it will be all sunshine and lollipops. At the very friggin least I will manage to post a birthday present and call them.
helpful (1) 
 The reality is that me and my husband are actually quite well off and I've already stopped working at 32 therefore have a lot of time and memories to make with my children (plus a lot of hobbies and community work that I do) I am genuinely looking forward to have my grandchildren over and to spend a lot of time with my family because that's what's important to me. Not everyone prioritiezes family and I get that. Secondly WHY is everybody assuming grandparents showing an 'interest' automatically refers to babysitting several times a week?
I know for a fact it's unnatural for family to be isolated and separate, back in the days humans were more family orientated and helped each other out. sadly with this new Me, me, me attitude families are falling apart. You should NEVER stop helping family out just because 'your time is done' what the hell kind of attitude is that?! when my parents are old am I just gonna say - sorry I'm retired now and want to enjoy my life - off you go

helpful (9) 
 Add stress, unhappiness/depression or loneliness, and you might not feel like you have the interest or energy to listen to your grandkids asking yet another questions, when you'd rather be smoking, caravaning or gossiping, or just ill. These are very real factors. Isn't depression going to be the biggest health issue? That's where I feel thinks are harder.. especially with us parents becoming so particular.. like grandma smokes in her room, so she can't have her every now and again.. how crazy would that have been 30years ago, We have no idea what the future will be like
helpful (3) 
 If I can work full time and be a parent full time I'm sure I can manage to have my grandkids for a few hours on a weekend or if they live interstate I would be able to visit them during school holidays, or they can visit me when they're older seeing as I don't work holidays and I can't see myself changing careers. There's always a way to fit family into your life.
helpful (7) 
 I am 45 and have 5 week old grandson
I work 55 hours a week
Why should I cut back on my hours cause my s**t daughter got pregnant at 15

helpful (2) 
 Maybe your daughter was lonely
helpful (15) 

This thread makes me so fu****g sad at the state of the world

People are going to look back on their life and say they worked more than they played
They missed their kids childhoods cos of working
They missed their grandkids cos they were working

What a sad society we've become 😞

 Better than the alternative....my kids had to live in a cardboard box under a bridge because I didn't work😐
helpful (2) 
 What about parents these days who expect the world to revolve around them because they’ve popped out babies? My sister in law has put a massive rift between the family. All because she’s spoilt and manipulative and at 3 and almost 6, her poor kids are not turning out well. I shudder to think how they’ll be as teens. My point is, you have kids, look after them. Don’t expect the whole world to be your babysitters. Set an example. Be a good parent.
helpful (2) 
 I don't know whether it's the town I live in which has a few anti-social issues, or if it's a trend, but my primary aged son's 4 best friends 3 live with their grand mothers, 1 is in foster care, and my daughter's friend group out of about 10 girls, 2 lives with grandparents, 1 lives with dad, one lives with both parents, the rest mum only, with a significant amount of a parent of these kids in prison.
Seems to me like grandparents are raising their kids these days if that's anything for me to go off

helpful (2) 

The trend is real, anyone disagreeing is a selfish resentful and probably greedy grandparent (most millennial have to pay for a grandparent to see the grandchild). You can’t get angry that your adult children saw the example that their grandparents set in the past and expect a little of the same from you. Somewhere in the 70s to 90s, family became something temporary and to get away from as much as possible. But that’s not how any of this works. If you thought you could be a part of a family for 18 years or even 25 years and f**k off afterwards, you shouldn’t have had kids. I’m sure most of these grandparents aren’t all that busy and just don’t want to be helpful or “feel” like a grandparent. Like we get it, you’re not a daycare. Stop letting your resentment keep you from meaningful time with grandkids and HELPING your kid have a crumb of a social life once in a while. Yes I said help your child, you can’t just cut off your offspring and long-standing CUSTOMS unless you’re ready for customs of elderly care to not apply to you.

 You hit the nail on the head - agree 100%
helpful (4) 
 Thank you it’s like all of these people disagreeing with the original comment really need to go check theirselves in for some quality with a mental professional because they’re making it obvious that they have some pent up resentment for how they were treated. Well one thing is for sure they need to realize that they are only setting their offspring will eventually find their happiness with their family and they will be stuck with the bitterness they had while living to their graves. Instead of trying to set an example and be different from the bad lessons they were taught it seems like a lot of people would like to does bitter and without anyone their to love them. What we need to just remember as an upcoming generation is not to only say we don’t want to be the same as this bitter people, we must define the good values that we must keep. To be kind, show compassion and remember that once you create another beautiful person you should remember they didn’t ask to be here.
helpful (1) 
 Also what people fail to forget is that raising a child is hard to do alone and if you are the parent of a single mother or father or even a two parent home, so the parents of these people should know how hard it is and want to help. Your role as a parent never ceases, and if you think that is a job that you just relinquish when they turn 18 then you should have never had them. This specifically goes for the people who believe that if those who are struggling to take care of their kids should have never had them. Having a child is a blessing not a burden and people really need to wake up and see this.
helpful (3) 
 
helpful (0) 

I'm in two minds about this.

On one hand I agree, and wish my parents and in-laws wanted to look after my children more.

But on the other hand, our society has changed so much....

It use to be everyone was at home. So grandma (who hadn't been working for the last 20+ years, if at all), was ready and waiting to help look after her grandchildren. And to give Mum (also a sahm), a bit of a break for date night or so Mum could go grocery shopping, take other children to appointments etc.

Where as now, grandma has only just retired herself and is being asked to watch her grandchildren 8+ hours a day so Mum can work.

Life is so hard now for both working Mums and SAHMs.

 Love your angle
helpful (2) 
 I think you have a wise outlook on this, but women not working after having kids is actually a 60s / 70s thing. Before that they always worked. My grandparents and their grandparents did.
helpful (2) 
 I think you have said that before, about it being a new age thing for women to not work, but I haven't seen this. Work in what way?
helpful (1) 
 Mothers have always been the main care givers. You are probably thinking of both wars when alot of men were away and women had to go to work to fill positions and feed their families. Then as more women were widowed because of the war they had to continue to work, things probably didn't go back to "normal" until the 50's or 60's.
helpful (0) 
 Even the Queen worked as a mechanic during WW2, but that was before she became a mum.
helpful (1) 
 umm no, women always worked in factories, in bookeeping, as cooks, cleaners, on farms, all sorts of occupations. Nothing to do with the war.
helpful (3) 
 women have always been the main caregivers but its not true that they didnt use to work as well. They usually did until the 60s and 70s. And in many other countries even then. The sahm is a recent white middle class phenomena.
helpful (2) 
 Good insight, thanks.
helpful (0) 
 My grandma on my mum's side worked, my grandma and great grandma and great great granny on my dad's side worked. Factory work mostly (dunno if they did before industrial revolution).
I work now, about 50 hours a week, I don't have time for anyone else that doesn't live in my house, And my parents work shift work, and have busy lives. My brother and wife work too. The struggle is real when we try to organise a family catchup. No one has time but we know we love each other and occasionally groUp chat on messenger lol. My parents aren't even at retirement age yet, and when they are my kids will be late teens/20ish, they don't have time, I don't have time, everyone has to work for a living, maybe if you voted for a government who didn't expect people to work till 70 and didn't cut penalty rates so we have to work more hours to be able to afford life, grandparents would have time haha

helpful (6) 
 Bullshit my mother was sahm in the 80s. It's not a new thing. Where do you get your facts from?
helpful (0) 

I wouldn't say selfish but the whole 'it takes a village to raise a child' thing is definitely not practiced as much as it used to be. I think in a way society has become very selfish.

I am very grateful and happy that my parents want to be involved and love being involved in my kids lives, they visit often, they have such a good relationship with my kids and both my partner and I feel completely comfortable leaving our kids in their care.

My partners parents on the other hands are what I would call extremely selfish. They don't want to be involved in ours or our kids lives unless is benefits them. They don't visit even thought they live 10 minutes away, yet they expect us to always visit them, they don't call (not even on birthdays), they don't turn up for family things, they don't make an effort to have a relationship with us or the kids and they never have. We cut ties with them just after our sons birthday in March after they didn't bother calling on his birthday to wish him a happy birthday, they didn't show up to his party because they didn't feel like it. At his party he turned around and asked us where grandma and grandad were and why weren't they at his party. I refuse to let my children grow up wondering why their family members don't care.

We very rarely ask anything of our parents except to be there. Be there for birthdays, be there to meet their grandkids, show up to sports games (even if its only once), call and have a chat to the kids, pop around for a visit so the kids can show you their toys they got for their birthday. Just simply be there and actually want to be there. Don't half arse it, don't put in zero effort then complain when my kids don't want to see you.

I agree to a point. My grandparents helped my parents out heaps when we were little. Always going for sleepovers and cooking stuff, fixing things around the house. They were very hands on. My parents are not the same with their grandkids and have the attitude of "been there, done it, not doing it again! " I think that's a bit selfish. They were happy to accept help when their kids were little. I personally can't wait to be a Nanna one day I have it all planned already 😂

 I'm with you. My grandparents were amazing, both sets of them, and they loved spending time with my brother and I. Even when I had my children, it was my grandfather who would spend time with my son. It hurts that my kids have been so ripped off in the grandparents department. My mum makes no effort whatsoever, doesn't even bother with birthday cards or phone calls any more. My ex in laws have basically refused to acknowledge my kids since my ex and I split. It hurts me but I guess my kids don't know any different. I'm planning to be the kind of grandparent that I had myself and that's the best I can do for my kids.
helpful (2) 
 Oh my Gosh me too!! Ive literally planned they're rooms, the activities everything!! Lol it's funny because I never had any extended family show any interest in us kids when we were young and it was a harsh, Lonely, depressing existence....my oldest is just 14 but i look forward to having my grandkids all the time :)
helpful (0) 
 I could have written this!!! Both my children are the oldest grandchildren on both sides, yet no one has been interested in them. I have to admit it gets me down quite a bit but I just keep telling myself they are the ones who have missed out, and they totally have, my eldest is 20 years old now so no longer a child. I guess my kids have missed out too though, no special bond or sleepover at Nannies, or cooking their favourite meal...
helpful (5) 

Not everybody is a 'people or kids' person. Some people love their grandchildren, but, after a while just really need to get the hell away from them. Your parents have done 'their time' raising small children to be adults. They probably enjoy the odd small visit, but that's it. The don't have to be any more involved than that. I think you are coming from this as a 'for the children/relationships' perspective for the sake of the readers, but secretly also enjoy the chance to 'tune out' when you're kids are buzzing all around their grandparents and would like more of that, labelling it as a 'visit' but not the guilt of calling it 'child care'. You're resentful 'if you can't put in now, don't expect anyone to care for you later...' attitude is gross. They have put in now, by raising YOU and giving YOU the best chance they could E.g. instead of just doing something for the nature of goodwill, you are looking at it with a 'you do for me, I do for you..' attitude. Maybe they are backing off for a reason, so you step up, sort your shit, suck it up, you're a whinger, spoilt, your kids are brats? As some people age they lose their tolerance and need more time out. You are all about you and what 'you and your kids need'. Try asking 'why don't they want to be around us...?'

 Wow you’re a disgusting person with all that judgement, firstly you know nothing about this situation and ar making a huge bunch of assumptions, you’re a know it all who’s judgmental and assumes everything, quite gross attitude to have when you know nothing of a situation, my kid never buzzes around his grandparents because they’re never here so has never been able to form a bond you idiot, if they happen to see him now they have to try and get his attention because they see him only a couple of times a year. he isn’t interested in them anymore that chance is gone. They never looked after me or gave me the ‘best chance’ I could.....what the hell are you on about?? It’s like you’ve made up this huge fairy world or me and made it your truth lol do you have any idea the abuse my husband suffered ya the hands of his parents (mainly step dad) growing up?? So shut up and stop painting them as these angelic creatures when you know nothing about this situation idiot
helpful (5) 
 Wow your reaction as a bit over top to this anonymous random response. Calm the farm and move on. People interpret things and have their own opinion. You have flipped out.
helpful (6) 
 Its not an opinion I have a problem with, it’s all the insane assumptions she made, then in the end calling me a whinger and spoilt, that my kids are brats ect. That I’m secretly resentful and am only wanting their visits so I can have ‘free childcare’ ect. Then assuming they gave me ‘the best start in life’ I wonder if the person who responded to my post actually has some kind of mental problem? I’ve never in my life heard of anyone making such crazy assumptions of a complete stranger - it’s lunacy 😂
helpful (9) 

I think it’s not selfish if they’ve got full- time jobs. My mother-in-law is incredibly selfish. My husband and I are older parents. She’s only babysat for a few hours on a couple of occasions in my children’s lives! I once explained that I would like to take my husband out for a milestone birthday somewhere special and her response was “so who’s going to babysit?”. She refused! Now she’s getting very elderly I don’t intend being there for her!!! What goes around comes around!

 Completely agree!
helpful (3) 

I encourage mine and my husbands parents to travel and spend their money. They've worked for it, it's theirs and they're all healthy and able yet ou wouldn't believe the absolute scabs who call themselves family that are already either expecting their inheritance or spending/asking for them. Thankfully our parents listen to husband and i and have been on several trips and booking more.

My in-laws are so self absorbed. My MIL drives me insane. We've never had any help from them with the kids and that has just hurt so much because my own grandparents were so loving and wanted to be involved. My in-laws love their life, socialising, volunteering etc, which is great, but they never give any of their time to us. The only reason my kids see my in-laws is because I make the effort to visit and foster a relationship with them. They favour my SILs kids over mine, even buying them more presents at Christmas one year and assuming we wouldn't care. My in-laws never offer to help and I have to give them heaps of notice about things like grandparents Day at school, and then my MIL acts like she should get the Nobel peace prize for showing up once! Any favour they do for us is seen as a HUGE sacrifice. I don't ask them to babysit for an evening anymore cos it's clearly an imposition. My husband and I have struggled so much over the years and never had any help from our inlaws which would have made such a difference. They fool themselves that they are involved, caring grandparents but they are not. And it breaks my heart. If we could help each other more in our society life would be so much better for everyone. I 100% agree with the poor mum who made the first post. It's horrible to have inlaws that are so selfish and entitled that they can't spare a little of their time to ease the burden on their families. Who will look after them in their old age when they have set an example of selfishness? Will they have to reap what they sow? I'm scared my anger at them will make me too bitter to help them when that time comes.

 Let your sister in law take care of it since she's the favorite...if you are really worried & want to be proactive move further away. Sounds like they're no help anyway.
helpful (1) 
 I completely agree with you!

In our family, we have 3 grandparents. All retired. Early 60s. No health problems.

My MIL chucked her husband in a nursing home where he died shortly thereafter. She chucked her mum there too.

She demands to never go to a nursing home and hints I will be looking after her in my home and it’s mh duty! Woman is delusional! She has never babysat even once but instead she, along with the other grandparents has made our lives harder during pregnancies and newborn periods.


I too fear I will be too bitter to do more than drive them to doctors appointments! Meanwhile my SIL killed herself and my brother has been sucidal for a few years. I guess our parents really did their time well and deserve a break.. (both sides were abusice and neglectful to us kids).

helpful (0) 

No, I havent noticed that trend at all amongst people I know!

On a different note, Its very naive to say that elderly people are dumped in nursing homes. We all (whole family) put a lot of time and effort into keeping my gran in her own home for as long as possible but she had to go to a nursing home for her own safety because we all work so couldnt be there with her 24/7 and she would turn on the oven or whatever and forget.
We visit her all the time, she is not 'dumped' at all.

If you want children be prepared to raise them your self. My parents didn't have my grandparents to babysit me or my sister. My parents didn't babysit for me often. Only when the childcare was closed, after they retired and if I could get off work. It was my responsibility to manage my child's needs whether it was day to day or child care. I have no desire to be a full time, frequent or even occasional baby sitter. I still work full time and my time off from work is filled with my own duties and responsibilities of running a household. Why should a parent need a sitter to go run errands or get groceries? It is part of being an adult and part of being a parent. Perhaps people should consider all the requirements before they decide to have children. I have raised and am still raising my children. I should be able to have time to do all the things I put on hold to have and raise a family. As a parent you make sacrifices for the sake and benefit of your children. The hope/goal is that one day they will be able to take care of themselves and not need you to manage life for them. This should include that they are able to manage the needs and requirements of adulthood and parenting without my assistance. If I decide to assist, whether with childcare, attending activities, of financially, it should be my choice not expected or required.

 Your attitude is part of the problem, you sound cold and distant from your parents, not a way I’d like to be, this isn’t about who’s responsibility it is to care for the children - obviously it’s the parents DUH 🙄 my point was that grandparents who aren’t working, are wealthy and have time are too selfish to show an interest in their only grandchild. It’s not normal actually, and if you think it is then you’re what’s wrong with society
helpful (5) 
 You sound like the selfish type, glad you’re not my mum. Shame on you
helpful (2) 
 Sounds realistic not cold
Goal is that one day kids will be independent and able to look after themselves
Should not be expected to, it should be a choice. Makes sense.

helpful (2) 

A lot of parents are stressed at trying to be perfect model parents like that's going to ensure the kids are great, unfortunately this tends to ruin the marital relationship, e.g. Dad obsessed with the kids, neglects wife😕