12 Phrases to Avoid When Talking to Your Grandkids (And Not Push Them Away)

Most grandparents love their grandkids unconditionally, but sometimes, their words or actions might have a bad influence on them. Some things spoken with good intentions might be perceived as dismissive, condescending, or critical. Hence, they should be aware and think twice before saying or doing certain things before their grandchildren.

Read on to learn 12 things not to say to your grandkids.

What Do Your Parents Say About Me?

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You might be curious about what your children think or say about you when you are not around, but that is not a good enough reason to involve your grandkids. Sometimes, grandmothers want to know what their daughters-in-law say about them. Whatever the case, it can put your grandkids in an uncomfortable position as they are pulled between their loyalties towards you and their parents. If you do this fairly often, your grandchildren might start avoiding you.

Did You Get Good Grades This Year?

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You might think you are interested in your grandchildren’s life, but your children might not believe the same. They are probably already under much pressure due to constant pushing from parents and teachers. When you start asking about grades, it might make them lie to you so that you don’t see them in a negative light. If you are interested in their academics, ask them about their teachers and extra-curricular activities instead of grades. Your genuine interest might help your grandchildren open up to you gradually.

Where Did You Go Last Weekend?

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You might be digging for information because you are genuinely interested, but it might feel different to your grandchildren. They might not reply to you honestly or start evading it. It is a privacy infringement; even if your grandchildren are not adults, they have a right to privacy.

You Are So Skinny Or Chubby

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Avoid commenting on weight. Kids, even at a younger age, are conscious of their physical appearances. Kids sometimes get bullied in school for the same reasons, and if you (a family member) also start commenting on their weight, it might push them away from you.

Your Brother/Sister Is So Smart

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Grandparents should never compare grandchildren to their siblings or others. You might be doing this to motivate the grandchild, but this does more harm than good. Every child is different. Focus on their growth and progress instead of comparing them to other children. If your grandchild asks you if you think his sibling is better than him, reply with, “Yes, he is good at academics, while you are impressive with your sports achievements.”

You Are My Favorite

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This is a complete no-no. Grandparents should never play favorites. Even if you don’t mean it or say it to just make the grandchild feel good, you should avoid saying these things. Children talk to each other. If your other grandkids learn about it, they might be upset and think twice before trusting your words.

You Are A Lousy Eater (Liar, Athlete, etc.)  Just Like Your Parent

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You are breaking two rules here. First, you are badmouthing your grandchild’s parents, which might make him uncomfortable and undermine his parents’ image and authority. Second,  you are insulting your grandchild and making him feel inferior. Keep the interaction positive even if you are frustrated at your grandchild’s habits or behavior. Saying such harsh words can push your grandchild away from you.

Isn’t This The Shirt I Gifted You Last Christmas?

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Probably it is, and your grandchild knows it. You don’t have to announce it. It can make your grandchildren uncomfortable, especially if they are with company. If you find your grandchildren wearing or using any of your gifts, compliment them by saying, “You are looking smart today” or “Is the gadget up to the mark?” However, the best option would be to stay quiet. Gifts, once given, should not be talked about.

Is That Cute Boy Your Boyfriend?

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Teenage dating is awkward enough with embarrassing questions from grownups. Your curiosity is natural, but try not to ask questions. Your grandchild might feel self-conscious. Better to not say anything to your grandchild or ask open-ended questions, such as “Is there anyone in your classroom who has caught your fancy?”

Don’t Tell Your Parents, It’ll Be Our Little Secret

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It is a major red flag to ask your grandchildren to hide things from or lie to their parents. It will teach children that lying or keeping secrets from their parents is no big deal if they don’t find out. Sometimes, grandparents give the grandchildren snacks or drinks that the parents have asked them not to. For example, if you give your grandkids processed foods or sugary drinks that their parents have asked you not to, you are undermining their parents’ authority.

You Know What Your Mom Or Dad Did When They Were Young

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Sharing your children’s funny stories or stories of their adolescent mishaps is not a great way to bond with your grandchildren. It can undermine your children’s authority over their kids. If you want to tell your grandchildren something about your children’s past, get your children’s permission first and do so in their presence so your children can add their perspective to the stories if needed.

You Spend Too Much Time On Your Phone

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Restricting your grandchildren from using the phone at the dinner table or limiting their screen time is reasonable, but commenting on their phone or social media use all the time can be off-putting. The world is changing, and you must change with the times. Today, kids carry phones for school and personal use. If you see their phone usage in your home is excessive, you can discuss it with your children. However, nagging them for screen time will drive them away, and they won’t want to visit your home.

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