The relationships your kids have with their grandparents can be extremely especial and among the most important relationships in their young lives. Unfortunately, however, some grandparents aren’t all that “grand” when it comes to how they treat their grandkids. Worse, their behavior can take a turn toward the emotionally abusive. As more parents rely on their own parents for child care and support, it’s important to know the signs of an emotionally abusive grandparent. After all, they aren’t always straightforward.
According to Lana Adler, writer and founder of Toxic Ties — an organization that provides support and resources for people in toxic relationships — one sign of a toxic grandparent is playing favorites. While you might not think your kids notice that their cousin gets showered with praise, while they receive only criticism from grandma, they do. Child advocate and parent educator Lori Petro adds that often emotional abuse will manifest as behavior changes in your child — like aggression or acting withdrawn — before or after a visit with their grandparents. The Mayo Clinic website adds that other signs of emotional abuse include a victim constantly seeking approval or love from their abuser, and since children can easily blame themselves and feel responsible for breakdowns in their relationship with their grandparent how they behave around that individual will be a large indicator that something is amiss.
For more signs of an emotionally abusive grandparent, and tips on how to protect your child if it happens to them, read on: