Gransnet forums


Grandson Won't Talk To Us

(85 Posts)
minstrel Wed 15-May-13 11:19:10

We have a lovely, bright little grandson of 5 years old. Our son and his partner are now living apart and she has met and is to be married to another man next month. Our problem is that our grandson will not acknowledge us at all. He never says hello when he comes into our house or says goodbye when he leaves. I have never had a cuddle from him and have now given up trying. When myself or my husband try to talk to him he completely ignores us. As you can imagine this is very hurtful. His parents have never told him that this is wrong and instead say "its just the way he is". We both feel very rejected. Has anybody else had this experience?

JessM Wed 15-May-13 14:41:51

I didn't quite finish my thought - he's a little boy who cannot control the important thing - mum and dad getting on and living together. Or his TV watching. On school you don't get any control.
And sounds like his mum is fairly controlling.
So this slight stroppiness may be the only place he can have a bit of control - and the more he sees you upset, the more he wield power. Good luck.

merlotgran Wed 15-May-13 14:46:55

I don't think your expectations are too high, minstrel and it does sound as though his mother might be winding him up. I had a similar situation with our grandson when my daughter was married and living in Northern Ireland. The paternal grandmother lived next door and as they were a close knit farming family, she ruled the roost. He wasn't too bad with DH but didn't want to be in the same room as me and wouldn't even make eye contact. My daughter got to the bottom of it when, just before we were due to visit, she overheard her mother-in-law hissing at the boy, 'Don't forget who your proper grandmother is.' Both DD and I worked hard to reassure H that it's normal to have two loving grandmothers and gradually he accepted me. We're now very close but that's probably because the marriage broke up and they are now living over here.

A lot of damage can be done by a venomous relative.

minstrel Wed 15-May-13 14:48:52

Gillybob, Bags and Tegan, unfortunately this mum does make all the rules. She is a very strong person and we do all feel a bit overwhelmed by her. Thats not to say we are weak but we do feel that she could very easily stop us seeing our grandson if we don't stick to the rules, and we can't take that chance. She could well be bad-mouthing us for all I know. Let me give you an example: On the recent Bank Holiday Monday which was the warmest day of the year so far she sent him to our house in shorts and snow boots! As we were going out to lunch we stopped at a nearby retail park and bought him some canvas shoes to wear. When I picked him up from school yesterday he said "Mummy said the shoes you bought me were horrid". I was very upset as you can imagine.

Bags Wed 15-May-13 14:51:53

Next time you do that, change him back into his snow boots before you send him home to his mum, and keep the spares at your house.

She sounds very unpleasant. Poor kid.

Just keep being nice to him and remember that it probably isn't his fault.

Good luck flowers

janerowena Wed 15-May-13 14:54:09

I think you need your own set of rules. They can set rules for when he is at home, but you can set rules for when he is with you. My dughter is very strict on manners, but they stay with me for a week at a time so I have to do some things my way, or go mad. If you want a hug, say so. I agree, someone has been putting ideas in his head. Interrogating him won't work, but if you need him to relax in front of the tv, then put it on. It's your house.

Are you worried that he might not be allowed to come to you? Maybe you could start with the odd 'educational' DVD and get around it that way.

minstrel Wed 15-May-13 14:57:01

Thanks Bags xx

Janerowena, yes see my comments above, we are worried that she might stop him coming to us.

minstrel Wed 15-May-13 15:08:51

Merlotgran, its hard to believe that people can be so unkind, I'm glad that you are now close to your grandson. Families can be so complicated!

minstrel Wed 15-May-13 15:26:08

Thanks everyone, I've really enjoyed our exchanges today. I was feeling very low about everything this morning and I'm so glad I came on here (my first time). Your comments and advice have really helped.

Tegan Wed 15-May-13 15:43:47

You must be treading on eggshells the whole time. I lost contact with my grandchildren temporarily last year and couldn't believe how easily something like that could happen. Glad you're feeling a bit better. Can't beat talking about a problem even if there isn't much you can do about itsmile.

Eloethan Wed 15-May-13 15:57:45

Jess "Nana's going tomorrow. I should have been nicer." That brought a tear to my eye and made me think how children can sometimes be very hurtful without really meaning to be.

minstrel I also think mum is being unreasonable in laying down the law about TV. However, I'm not convinced it's worth the risk of creating more difficulties by asking dad to confront her about it.

Maybe Jess is right - he's confused and a bit angry about things in his life generally, and you're a relatively "safe" option for venting those negative feelings.

I hope things improve. I can understand how upsetting it must be.

JessM Wed 15-May-13 16:19:31

Eleothan I thought it was hysterically funny and had to keep a straight face. But yes, it would be nice if they were sweet and affectionate and biddable wouldn't it. grin But lovely as they are, they are often stroppy little so and sos that take it out on good old Nana who will never get more than a tad tetchy!

Nelliemoser Wed 15-May-13 16:56:45

Having read all this, it does sound as though he is being fed ideas from his mothers family. It has never ceased to appall amaze me how many parents involve their children in their own marital disagreements. It is a real form of emotional abuse towards the children.

My Bil split up with 2nd wife when the child was small and he had little contact. That daughter, now early 20s, was always told that the relationship just never worked out. To our surprise and their credit her mums family never seemed to have bad mouthed the child's father.

gillybob Wed 15-May-13 22:43:06

Oh dear minstrel what a shame. I can totally understand your situation. I feel that you are always going to be treading in egg shells and you poor grandson is being used as some kind of pawn in a game that only your daughter in law can win. I agree that you are going to have to play along with her for now as it would be a huge risk for you to rock the boat. Having said that I bet she is only too glad to have you on hand as a babysitter when she needs you. I agree that you should probably keep anything you need to buy at your house and send him home in whatever he came in. Poor lamb is probably very confused by this awful situation.

Faye Thu 16-May-13 05:12:10

My middle grandson who is five has never been a friendly child. He was very attached to his mother (my daughter). One day when he was around three we were out and met up with his other grandparents and aunts and he completely ignored all of them. My daughter said he used to avoid saying hello and goodbye when he was visiting the other GPs. My SIL was often told to go away. GS has slowly improved and he has always received lots of affection from me, his other GPs and his aunts. I believe if his mother put it into his head to be rude to people he would be much worse.

The other day we were at the post office and he completely ignored the man behind the counter when he was asked if he liked going to school. Every morning the school bus driver says hello and my GS ignores him. Before he started school and was still at kindergarten my daughter explained to him that he was not to tell other children to go away. He is friendly to the other children at school and likes his teacher. His eighteen month old sister was born happy and is the opposite.

LizG Thu 16-May-13 07:23:07

I just wonder if he has a mild form of autism. My brother in law and his son both have this and they can seem quite 'normal' most of the time it just shows up occasionally. At five he probably doesn't fully understand what is going on between his mummy and daddy and maybe in his little mind he blames you - rather depends what he is told!

I hope this improves for you but he will probably respond to your love eventually.

shysal Thu 16-May-13 08:37:09

I wonder whether he is afraid to get close to you for fear of missing you if his mother cuts you out of his life. It is such a lot of emotion for a young child to cope with, poor lad.
Have you tried playing games with him and your son together? He might then interact more with you all in a group. A trawl round the charity shops might find you some fun activities which require conversation. Even a simple word game like Tell Me causes giggles with my GCs.
I hope the situation will improve with time, I feel for

Flowerofthewest Thu 16-May-13 09:10:36

I feel his controlling mother is the issue here, at first I though 'Autism' but reading through it seems that the mother has a lot to answer for. The TV thing is a bit strong.After all when a child is at school the other children will be chatting about their programmes and reinacting (not always a good thing)their heros etc.

From my experience, when my son divorced his wife the daughter, then 6 became very reticent when at ours. She hardly spoke to us and sometimes ignored us. Wouldn't hug, as she had previously - even the little boy who was then 3 was very very morose even on fun days out. Their mother is a vindictive woman who has -for the past five years- stopped all contact between the children and their father and us.

I really think that the mother should be approached. As Tegan suggests he very well could feel he is being disloyal to his mother. I am sure that was the problem with my two grandchildren.

I would put the TV on and let the mother know that the rules in your house are your rules. As we used to say in the work I was in with children with learning disabilities New house New rules. Good luck, thoughts with you x

glammanana Thu 16-May-13 09:20:07

shysal I was thinking something similar after reading the posts,it must be very upsetting for you minstrel could this little man be secretly blaming you for not having his daddy with him (I know it is not your fault)but he could be thinking along these lines,here is the person my daddy prefers to be with all the time,he is obviously not old enough to have understood why things have not worked out with mummy & daddy and now another person is in the household and a wedding taking place such a lot for a little boy to take in.I do hope you find a way around this as he does sound a sweet little

minstrel Thu 16-May-13 13:10:13

Thanks everyone. I am at hospital with my mother in law today while she has chemo. Will get back to you later. Thanks for all your comments.

Deedaa Thu 16-May-13 23:03:59

I think he must be quite stressed with all that is going on. He has the odd days when you pick him up and the weekends when he stays with you instead of being at home. I think your best bet is to try not to get upset about it and just treat his behaviour as normal. Perhaps you can joke about some of it "Isn't it awful it's me AGAIN" If he thinks you are accepting him as he is he may relax a bit and become more forthcoming.

minstrel Fri 17-May-13 09:02:21

Deedaa, we do try to make light of it sometimes but its just hurtful to feel that your grandson doesn't like you in some way. He is of course going through a lot at the moment with his mum getting married. She moved the new man in with them after only two weeks of knowing him and I felt so desperately sorry for the little one to be in a situation like that. She still has only known the guy since February and is now getting married so it must be all very confusing for him. My son and her were together for over seven years and although they were never married they were a family. As you can see there is a lot going on here!

JessM Fri 17-May-13 09:54:07

Maybe if you stopped interpreting his behaviour as "not liking you" and started thinking of it as confused little boy taking it out on safe old Gran, it might help you to stay smiling.
When my GS was born I used to take his 3 yr old sister to nursery several days a week. Boy did I get it in the neck but it was clearly a reaction to baby - easier to give Nana grief than mum and dad who expect your to lurve your baby bro. She used to pick a fight over the car seat and refuse to talk or sing all the way there and all the way back. (15 minutes each way) I still remember her roaring at me from the back of the car. "Stop singing Nana! Stop talking Nana! Stop laughing Nana!" 5 year olds are just a little bit less transparent, but not a lot.

gillybob Fri 17-May-13 09:55:16

I do hope she is not going down the "this man will be your new daddy" route, minstrel. Its just when you said she moved him in after only a few weeks the alarm bells started ringing. Poor little mite could be being fed all sorts of rubbish and might find his little self tugged in all kinds of directions. Try and stay strong and just keep loving him (and showing it) no matter what . smile

minstrel Fri 17-May-13 10:32:44

JessM, I am beginning to see that now. He is going through such a lot and its no wonder he is taking some of it out on me and my husband. All of the advice I am getting on here is helping me to see that more clearly.

Gillybob, we will just keep on being loving grandparents to him. We don't get hugs or kisses but we do try always to be loving and kind. Thanks for your kind words.

Mishap Fri 17-May-13 12:11:37

I think this poor wee lad is trying to make sense of living in a broken family - he has a lot to adapt to and he is only small.

He must feel quite insecure at times. How lucky he is to have you and your OH - all you can do is remain supportive to him and try and initiate some fun when he is with you - and undemanding I guess, as he is maybe giving all he can in a very confusing situation.