Grandparent Favoritism – When you are a grandparent, it is one of the best feelings in the world. Your children have had children! You are now seen as a wise person in your family and ideally, you get to teach your little ones everything you know. Your time with them is precious. 

Sadly, some families are not like this. Some families fight, have disagreements and more. A big topic with families all across the globe is favoritism. Moms and Dads never want their child feeling like they are not the favorite. Though there will be some children that you relate to more because they are closer, have more in common or just prefer one child to another, we must dive in deeper to why grandparent favoritism exists. 

Ask The Culpeppers- Grandparent Favoritism

Welcome to another episode of Asktheculpeppers- In this episode we have a wife concerned that her kids grandpa is showing favoritism towards her kids. Once confronted about the issue, the family is now in turmoil. Subscribe to our channel and enjoy other episodes.


How to deal with unfair grandparents

Dealing with unfair grandparents can be challenging, as they are often close family members who have a significant influence on your life.

Here are some steps you can take to address the situation:

  1. Understand their perspective: Try to understand why your grandparents are behaving unfairly. They may have their own biases, beliefs, or misunderstandings that influence their actions. Empathizing with their viewpoint can help you approach the situation with more patience and understanding.
  2. Communicate openly: If you feel comfortable doing so, have an open and honest conversation with your grandparents about how their actions or behavior are impacting you. Choose a calm and respectful setting to express your feelings and concerns. Be clear about what specifically bothers you and explain how their behavior affects you emotionally.
  3. Seek support from parents or other family members: Share your concerns with your parents or other trusted family members who can mediate or intervene, if necessary. They may be able to provide guidance or talk to your grandparents on your behalf. Having a united front can be helpful in addressing the issue.
  4. Set boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries can be essential in dealing with unfair grandparents. Make it known what behavior you find unacceptable, and clearly communicate your expectations. It may be helpful to have a discussion as a family to establish common ground and set boundaries that everyone can agree on.
  5. Focus on building a positive relationship: While it can be difficult, try to focus on building a positive relationship with your grandparents despite their unfair behavior. Find common ground or shared interests that you can connect on. By emphasizing positive interactions, you may be able to mitigate some of the negative effects of their unfairness.
  6. Seek outside support if needed: If the unfair behavior persists and affects your well-being, consider seeking support from a counselor, therapist, or another trusted adult. They can provide guidance and help you navigate the situation with your grandparents.

Remember that every situation is unique, and it may take time to find the right approach for your particular circumstances. Patience, empathy, and open communication are key in dealing with unfair grandparents.

Why do some grandparents play favorites

There can be several reasons why some grandparents play favorites among their grandchildren. It’s important to note that not all grandparents engage in this behavior, and each situation is unique. Here are a few possible reasons:

  1. Emotional attachment: Grandparents may feel a stronger emotional connection or bond with certain grandchildren due to various factors such as shared interests, personality similarities, or a closer physical proximity. This emotional attachment can inadvertently lead to favoritism.
  2. Unresolved family dynamics: Family dynamics and relationships can be complex. Past conflicts, unresolved issues, or strained relationships among family members can contribute to favoritism. Grandparents may choose to favor certain grandchildren as a way to align with or support other family members or due to lingering resentments.
  3. Perception of special needs or challenges: Sometimes, grandparents may perceive that certain grandchildren require more attention or support due to specific needs or challenges they face. This perception can lead to unintentional favoritism as grandparents may focus more on those grandchildren, believing they need extra care or assistance.
  4. Personality or behavior: Differences in personalities or behavior among grandchildren can also contribute to favoritism. Grandparents may naturally gravitate towards grandchildren who exhibit characteristics they find more appealing or easier to relate to.
  5. Cultural or generational factors: Cultural or generational beliefs and norms can influence grandparent behavior. In some cultures, for example, the eldest or first-born grandchild may be given more attention or favoritism due to traditional values or expectations.

It’s important to remember that favoritism can have a significant impact on grandchildren, causing emotional distress and strained relationships within the family. Addressing the issue with open communication and seeking support from other family members can help promote fairness and understanding.

Do grandparents seem to love the first grandchild the most?

While some grandparents may show a preference for their first grandchild, it is not universally true that grandparents love the first grandchild the most. The perception of favoritism can vary greatly among different families and individuals. Factors such as personal preferences, family dynamics, cultural influences, and individual personalities all play a role in how grandparents interact with and express their love for their grandchildren.

The first grandchild often holds a special place in a family as they mark the transition into grandparenthood. Grandparents may feel a sense of excitement and novelty with their first grandchild, leading to a heightened level of attention and attachment. However, this does not necessarily mean they love subsequent grandchildren any less.

Every grandparent-grandchild relationship is unique and can evolve over time. As more grandchildren are born, grandparents have the opportunity to form new connections and bonds with each individual. They may find different qualities or interests to appreciate in each grandchild, leading to a diverse range of affection and love expressed.

It is essential to remember that love is not a finite resource, and grandparents can have deep love and care for all their grandchildren, regardless of birth order. It is the quality of the relationship, mutual understanding, and the time and effort invested in nurturing these relationships that truly matter.

What are the consequences of grandparent favoritism

Grandparent favoritism can have several consequences, both for the grandchildren involved and for the overall family dynamics. Here are some potential impacts:

  1. Emotional distress: Grandchildren who feel they are not favored may experience feelings of rejection, low self-esteem, and emotional distress. They may question their worth and struggle with negative emotions such as jealousy, resentment, or sadness.
  2. Strained relationships: Favoritism can strain relationships not only between grandchildren and grandparents but also among siblings or other family members. Sibling rivalry may intensify, leading to increased conflict and tension within the family unit.
  3. Unequal treatment: When favoritism is evident, it can result in unequal treatment of grandchildren. This inequity can lead to a sense of unfairness, creating a division among family members and fostering a negative environment.
  4. Long-term impact: Grandparent favoritism can have long-lasting effects on grandchildren’s self-image and relationships. It may influence their ability to trust and form healthy relationships, impacting their overall well-being in adulthood.
  5. Disruption of family unity: Favoritism can disrupt family unity and cohesion. It can create divisions and resentment among family members, affecting family gatherings and celebrations. The overall family dynamics may be strained, and relationships may become fractured or distant.
  6. Impact on grandchildren’s future relationships: The experience of favoritism within the grandparent-grandchild relationship can influence how grandchildren perceive and form relationships in the future. It may affect their ability to establish healthy boundaries, trust others, or navigate issues related to favoritism.

Addressing grandparent favoritism is important to mitigate these consequences. Open communication, setting clear expectations and boundaries, and fostering inclusive family dynamics can help promote fairness. It can also promote understanding, and healthy relationships within the family. Seeking outside support from a counselor or therapist may also be beneficial in navigating these challenges.

How to approach a grandparent about favoritism

Approaching a grandparent about favoritism can be a sensitive and delicate matter.

Here are some steps to consider when addressing the issue:

  1. Reflect on your feelings: Take some time to reflect on your emotions and gather your thoughts before initiating the conversation. Understand why the favoritism bothers you and how it affects your relationship with your grandparent.
  2. Choose an appropriate time and place: Find a suitable time and place to have a calm and private conversation with your grandparent. Ensure that you have their undivided attention and that there are minimal distractions.
  3. Express your feelings: Clearly and respectfully express your feelings and concerns to your grandparent. Use “I” statements to communicate how their actions or behavior make you feel without sounding accusatory. For example, say, “I feel hurt when I perceive that you show more attention to my sibling than to me.”
  4. Provide specific examples: Back up your concerns with specific examples of situations or behaviors that you perceive as favoritism. This can help your grandparent understand the instances that have made you feel excluded or less valued.
  5. Listen to their perspective: Give your grandparent the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. They may have their own reasons or misunderstandings that contribute to the favoritism. Listen actively and try to understand their viewpoint, even if you don’t agree with it.
  6. Seek common ground: Look for common ground and shared interests that can help bridge the gap between you and your grandparent. Emphasize your desire to have a positive and inclusive relationship with them.
  7. Set boundaries and expectations: If appropriate, discuss the importance of fairness and equality in your relationship. Set clear boundaries and expectations regarding how you would like to be treated and what you consider fair treatment.
  8. Involve a mediator if needed: In some cases, involving a neutral third party, such as a parent or another trusted family member, can help mediate the conversation and facilitate understanding between you and your grandparent.


Remember, it’s crucial to approach the conversation with respect, understanding, and a desire for a positive resolution. Be prepared for the possibility that your grandparent may not fully acknowledge or change their behavior. In such cases, it may be helpful to seek support from other family members or a counselor to navigate the situation.