Grandparent asks for advice about not spending money on rude grandchildren, and the advice is worth hearing

Grandparents often love treating their grandchildren, but what should they do if they don't get any thanks?

Grandfather giving his grandson a gift
(Image credit: Alamy)

A grandparent upset with his grandchildren for not saying ‘thank you’ for gifts has received some insightful advice that’s worth considering.

The grandparent-grandchild relationship is a unique one, with children who have a good relationship with their grandparents having fewer behavioural and emotional issues. When you’re a grandparent, you can get away with being a bit more lenient, and perhaps not playing the disciplinarian as you might have with your own children. It can be tricky, too, so it should come as little surprise that looking after grandchildren is better for the brain than Sudoku –  and there’s now even a ‘grandparent code’ to consider!

And one grandparent, who recently wrote to The Telegraph’s Moral Money column, had a dilemma surrounding two of their grandchildren. They wrote, “I’m lucky enough to have seven grandchildren, most of whom I see quite regularly. However, the eldest two, who are now 11 and 13, I only see a couple of times a year, and they are the only children who never send thank you notes or messages for the birthday and Christmas presents I buy them.”

They explained that the lack of thanks made them not want to bother with presents going forward. While acknowledging that it’s in a large part down to their parents, they feel that, at 11 and 13, they’re old enough to know better. They ask, “I do feel they need to learn the lesson that if they don’t say thank you, they don’t get presents in future. Do you think I would be justified in stopping spending on them for this reason?”

Columnist and financial planner Sam Secomb empathised with the grandparent, but suggested that they set the standard they expect going forward, saying, “As grandparents I think we have an obligation to teach and provide alternative perspectives for our grandchildren than those they get from parents and others.

“If we just withdraw, with no attempt to explain what matters to us and why, we lose our opportunity to provide context in their lives – isn’t that part of what grandparents do?”

She suggests giving the grandchildren a “warning shot” before stopping presents, if they haven’t had one already. But if they’ve already tried this to no avail, “it’s time for the consequences to show up,” she says. “I certainly don’t hold with rewarding ungrateful relatives with whom there is no personal connection. There are too many lovely and deserving people in the world with whom one can be generous instead.”

In other family news, five categories of grandparent have been identified by psychologists, and grandparents set grandkids up with 'habits to last a lifetime'. However, nearly half of the grandparent-aged generation has never been asked for advice, according to a study, while half of grandparents feel lonely due to lack of connection with grandchildren

Freelance writer

Adam is an experienced writer who regularly covers the royal family and celebrity news for the likes of Goodto, The List, The Metro, and Entertainment Daily. However, you can also find Adam covering relationships, mental health, pet care, and contributing to titles such as Creative Bloq.