Advice on Addressing Grandson's Behavior with Parents



We're visiting our son, his wife, and our only grandson, who is five years old. He is rather spoiled and often behaves brattily.

When we go over for dinner (we're staying at a VRBO), he says things like "don't look at me," "I don't want you here," and "I don't have to do what you say." He behaves this way around his parents as well. For example, he still sleeps in their bed and has a messy room. Interestingly, he is better behaved when they aren't around.

How can we address this behavior with his parents in a way that best helps him?

Thanks for any tips!


Hello and thank you for writing. I wish I had some fool-proof tips to calm the little beast. The best advice I can give you is to ignore him when he's rude or say something like "I'm sorry you feel that way" and then ignore him.

You clearly can't change your son and daughter-in-law. They haven't solicited your advice and would likely bristle at any advice you can offer. You can, however, change your reactions and your level of involvement. If you're not having difficulties with your grandson when his parents aren't around, then enjoy the opportunity for that special grandparent time and try to plan more of it. If you can't stand his behavior when his parents are there and find yourself wishing you weren't there, then limit those occasions.

It's a very fine line between tolerance and frustration. My best advice is to tolerate what you can, and when you're feeling frustrated either back way off or remove yourself from the situation. You want to be an example of love, kindness and forgiveness while remaining confident in your rightful authority.

Wendy Faucett
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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