Here’s question we received recently…”My parents favor one of our children.  With Christmas right around the corner, how can we discourage them from buying more for this child than the other one?”

The appropriate approach for this situation (though not the easiest) is a direct one.  In order to do what’s best for both children, Mom and Dad will need to have a serious conversation with the grandparents and let them know that the expectation will be that they give gifts of equal value to each child.

Before any conversation takes place, it’s important that the parents agree on what needs to be said.  The dialog with Grandma and Grandpa is best initiated by the biological child (not the son or daughter-in-law).  It will be important to make certain the grandparents understand what is expected.

After the confrontation, give Grandma and Grandpa an opportunity to honor the request.  If they fail to comply, Mom and Dad will have to get tough before the next gift-giving occasion. One option for the parents is to monitor the gift selection.  Another possibility is to ask the older generation to refrain from giving gifts.

This won’t be easy, but it’s not good for either of the kids when one is receiving special attention.  It’s up to Mom and Dad to make sure the grandparents understand this.

How have you handled favoritism?