The best part of being a grandparent is being able to spoil your grandkids without doing all the heavy lifting of parenting. After years of pouring sweat and tears into your own kids, you can now sit back and do the "fun parts" of parenting without all the stress and guilt. However, even the fun world of grandparenthood has its complicated dynamics.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a grandparent asked if they were wrong for giving their granddaughter a car but not doing the same for their grandson. They wrote:
My son Kyle has two kids. Jay (17) and Lia (16). They have different moms. Kyle is the every other weekend parent to Lia while he is very involved in Jay's life. For Jay's 16th birthday, I gave him a phone which I believe was a nice and generous gift. A few days ago was Lia's birthday. My other son Caleb adores Lia.
He pretty much has a father-daughter relationship with her since Kyle is pretty much a deadbeat to her. Caleb informed me that he is planning to buy a secondhand car for her birthday and asked if I can contribute to the car as her birthday gift. I gave him 4k to help him buy the car and Lia was overjoyed when she saw it.
Now Kyle thinks I was an AH for giving a more expensive gift to Lia while I think my gift to Jay was very generous and I didn't do anything wrong.
YTA. Regardless of what was purchased (car, etc.), you gave $4k as a gift, and a just a phone to Jay. Keep the gifts consistent across your grandkids.
YTA. Sure, a phone is an amazing gift. But compared to a car?!
You clearly showed which one was your favorite.
NTA. You're a loving, giving, and generous grandma, therefor you are inherently NOT an AH. There's no rule that says gifts should be equitable. Some need help more than others. You saw that & acted. No shame in any of this.
So while nice phones are expensive, they are not $4000 expensive so it is justified that there are some hurt feelings on the lack of balance between the gifts. However, I feel like there are elements of this story that are missing. At first, you mentioned that Kyle only sees Lia every other weekend which could just be the result of a bad custody battle between him and his ex.
Then later on you mention that Kyle's basically a deadbeat to her which is a big jump. It's not my place to pry into their relationships but without more information on the situation, it could be justified as she may be in a bad situation and needs the extra help. Either way, I will give you like 1/5 AH score if she needed the extra help as it's justified but still understandable why other parties could feel hurt.
If there are no extra circumstances and you just spent 3x-4x more on Lia's gift, then YTA.
YTA. You gave one sibling a life-changing gift (for a young person), and you gave the other a phone. The back story and your specific reasons for doing so don't change the fact that these gifts were on wildly different scales. If you had any kind of emotional insight, you would see how this would lead to conflict.
I know that y'all are trying to make up for one child's f#$ked up circumstances by making a grand gesture, but by doing so you are creating a schism between these siblings. You are also inventing a schism between yourself and your other grandchild. Meaningful human connections can't be purchased through grand gestures. Big gifts aren't a salve for a broken childhood.
There were better ways to address this situation. You could have bought both kids a car and then focused on expressing your love and emotional support to your long-suffering granddaughter. You could have made efforts to unite the family and to inspire feelings of connection between all of the parties involved. Instead, you made things worse.
Edit: I know this is too soon for an update but I've already decided what to do so I wanted to let you know. I sent the post to Caleb and a few minutes later his wife sent me the 4k that I gave him. They told me to buy a phone for Lia so that I'm not treating them any differently.
So basically Lia will be getting a phone from me and a car from Caleb and his wife. I know this is not fair to Jay but I can't control how they spend their money so it is what it is and I guess Lia will be much happier with this outcome.
It sounds like this is a situation where OP was able to take in the criticisms and make a change swiftly.