I'm not a grandparent, but could you folks tell me specifically why grandparents say things like "my kids were wonderful, but grandkids are out of this world!!!'
Because a parenting relationship is intended to be nurturing, guiding, assessing, correcting, coaching, etc. A parent has to continually assess a child's safety and development and be alert for signs of need. A grandparenting relationship is exclusively a love relationship. We don't have to make sure the child develops good study habits or remembers to write thank you notes. We don't care in the least if the child eats carrots or not. To be able to love without strings attached is a wonderful gift.
Personally, I think it's because as a person gets older, they learn through life experience what is most important. Parents can be a little uptight and grandparents are (generally) much more laid back about life!
Personally just loving kids are not being good grandparents. They must love, correct, back up parents, discuss, displine, and know when to step out of a situation. I have 4 GD from 5 years to 19 years and over the time I have had some very interesting discussions. I came from parents who did not know how to show love to me and bought every thing under this earth for my kids, even when I said NO NO NO. I really try to respect my daughter's wishes and limit what I buy and how much I spend. When the kids are at my house, my rules take place and at their place I usually bite my tongue unless it is something that is going to hurt them. It is a hard lesson to learn.
I think some grandparents look at their grandchildren as life's reward. "I raised my kids ok and now they have kids and all is well with the world". I agree with the above poster that it's more than just love but the love is most important. A child can tell if it's loved or just tolerated as a "have to" thing. My dd loves her grandmother who doesn't hesitate to discipline and tell her no but is also lavish with hugs, kisses and those special little things that only grandmothers can do. I think some grandparents also see it as a chance to enjoy rather than the responsibility of raising.
Just my 2 cents worth.