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Relationship with granddaughter

(43 Posts)
teddymac Thu 18-Aug-16 14:53:15

I have three grandchildren, two granddaughters aged 5 and 3, my son's children, who live abroad and a grandson, my daughter's child, also aged 3 who lives closer to home, though not where I live. I have a fantastic relationship with my grandson who is always delighted to see me and tells me how much he has missed me. He is chatty and rewarding and I look forward to spending time with him. However, my elder granddaughter and I do not enjoy such a happy relationship. She is relatively fine for the first day or so when they come to stay, but after that it is downhill all the way with her being generally unpleasant and rude and really not wanting very much to do with me. To a lesser extent the same applies to her younger sister. Both girls are extremely attached to their parents in a way that I think makes it difficult to find a way in. I have wondered for a long time quite what the problem is and my most recent thinking is that she is jealous of the relationship I have with my son, just the usual mother/son relationship so nothing really to make her jealous. As I am widowed, there is no grandfather to add to the mix. She and my son have an exceptionally close relationship. Whatever the reason, of course I find it very hurtful, especially as I only see them for short periods maybe a couple of times a year, although we do Skype every week. It certainly doesn't make me want to spend time with her. I have accepted that this is the way she is and that hopefully things will improve as she gets older - although of course they may not. I just wonder whether anyone else has experienced this.

obieone Thu 18-Aug-16 15:08:03

What does your son do and say about it?

Riverwalk Thu 18-Aug-16 15:21:50

Upsetting for you but try not to take it to heart - I don't think she's jealous as such but, as you say, very close to her parents. And doesn't see you very often.

My GC are 10 & 7 and I've always had a great relationship with them - when DGS was about three he was listening to a conversation between my sister, my son (his dad) and me. He got upset and confused and said "you're not his mummy, he's MY daddy!". We reassured him that that was the case and let it drop for the time being.

It's very hard to know what goes on in the head of young children.

Luckygirl Thu 18-Aug-16 16:08:48

I think that you should just accept the situation and not ask anything of her. Just enjoy watching her happily interacting with her parents - that is what really matters. I have 7 GC and some I feel close to and others are just there - I do not have a problem with it. I love them all but for various reasons (geography being one) we have a closer relationship with some than others. After all there is no real reason why any of them should be close to their grandparents. It's quite nice when they are, but not a necessity.

Luckygirl Thu 18-Aug-16 16:09:57

Don't forget that coming to see you might have involved not doing some other things back home that they might have wanted to do!!

Pollengran Thu 18-Aug-16 17:39:19

Don't worry. Children get bored very easily. I bet she was excited about coming to see you. You said she was fine for a day or so, but small children quickly miss familiar surroundings, toys, friends etc and display this in ways we often do not understand.

If she was rude, really rude and not just whiney, then mabye a word with your son could prevent that for future visits.

teddymac Thu 18-Aug-16 19:46:09

Both parents have noticed her behaviour and my DIL is sufficiently concerned to have mentioned it to a teacher at her school who suggested I should have a word with my GD to say how much her behaviour upsets me, but I'm not sure about that. I'm more inclined to go with Luckygirl and just accept the situation. My son says I shouldn't take it so personally as she is just a child.
I agree that there is absolutely no reason why grandchildren should be close to their grandparents and who know what goes on in the mind of a child. It is interesting and frustrating in equal measure! I would just like to enjoy our time together.

annodomini Thu 18-Aug-16 19:53:58

I agree with your son. She's very young, and if you all make a big issue of her behaviour, her hostility may increase. I would say, just leave well alone and treat her as you treat your other GC. She probably doesn't know why she behaves this way to you.

Jalima Thu 18-Aug-16 19:57:18

She's only five, has come from overseas and has presumably had a long journey to come to see you. You are obviously delighted to see your DS but she subconsciously thinks you are coming between her and her Daddy; she's too young to handle these feelings so reacts in a childish way (she is a little child!).
Her parents should not allow her to be rude or unpleasant to you, but I think you need to take your relationship slowly and hope that she grows out of it by the time she is 8+ and can come to stay, do more with you and have some friendly chats with you.

Luckygirl Thu 18-Aug-16 20:30:54

Weird for the teacher to say that - bad advice I think. TBH I cannot understand why DIL spoke to the teacher about it at all.

The less that is made of this the better - if she is told that it upsets you she will be inclined to do it all the more, by way of an experiment to see what happens. That's children for you!

I am willing to bet that in a couple of years you will be the best of pals. Least said, soonest mended I think.

obieone Thu 18-Aug-16 20:35:36

She is being generally unpleasant and rude. Her parents should not allow that without knowing the reason why she is doing it. She is plenty old enough for them to ask her why she is behaving as she does.

Jalima Thu 18-Aug-16 20:42:40

She's only five, I am not sure that she knows why she is doing it, too young to analyse her own feelings which are presumably jealousy because she does not yet understand the relationship that teddymac and her daddy have, especially if she is rather a 'daddy's girl'.

Jalima Thu 18-Aug-16 20:45:26

Is it possible for you to spend some time alone with her teddymac, or would she get upset? Perhaps take her out somewhere, just you and her, but not too far so that you could go home again if she did get upset and want her DP?

BlueBelle Thu 18-Aug-16 21:14:52

Lucky girl Is right I too have seven grandkids and you will always be more drawn to some than others as long as you don't show it and treat them and love them all the same I have two live far away and whilst the girl is chatty and fits in straight the way the boy has very little to say or do with me I don't take it personally it's his a bit introverted personality my two grand son (cousins) are both totally opposite one is extroverted life and soul of the party full of everything loves cuddles ( even at 15) the other is quite private introverted and doesn't like being touched too much
The teacher is wrong to give that advice she ll come round when she's ready
Don't forget a child of 5 may not be meaning to be rude she may not have the language or understanding to say 'leave me alone I want to hang around with mum or dad ' it may come out as ' go away ' ' don't like you' I think we have to be the grown ups and let them come to us when they are ready I do find an ice cream or special treat may help
Have you thought about having a present waiting for the two little girls maybe on their bed for when they arrive or even a little sweet hunt with hidden sweets around the house they will remember next time they come so you ll have to keep it up each time once started

Luckygirl Thu 18-Aug-16 22:16:35

One of my GC was very offhand for a few years but is now cuddly and affectionate. They just change as they grow - if we had made a big deal of it then we probably would not be where we are now.

Lona Thu 18-Aug-16 22:23:32

My eldest dgd was often very difficult with me when she was little. She's 17 now, a lovely girl and we love each other to bits. Just let her be. Give them all the same love and enjoy the best bits.

Judthepud2 Thu 18-Aug-16 22:40:49

Just give your GD time and space. She is very young yet. As she gets to know you better and matures she will likely come round. I would suggest you do not under any circumstances make an issue of it. Don't force her to interact with you, but find out what interests her and maybe leave little gifts around. When my GDs and GS who live far from us come to stay, I have their own special bedding that will appeal, little toys and trinkets about, food they particularly like. Your DS and DIL could help you with this.

I know her behaviour is hurtful but try to maintain a bright cheerful outlook and she will learn to look forward to seeing you. And NEVER be involved in her discipline!!

Lilyflower Fri 19-Aug-16 09:28:31

Kids are very funny about other people. Your GD will sort herself out as she matures, I am sure. Maybe she's just shy.

My son and daughter had very different relationships with their two sets of grandparents. My mother was loving but scatty and, as she let the children do what they liked and gave them completely eccentric meals (curry with mini chocolate bars, I kid you not) they adored her. My DH' parents were ten years older, formal and self absorbed and they barely had a relationship with the children.

Years later, when the paternal grandparents had passed away my daughter regretted that she had not had a closer bond with her father's parents and came to appreciate their good points (many of which she inherited: they were intelligent, prudent, hard working, moral and successful) and to realise that my own mother was somewhat 'flaky'.

Children cannot judge surely when they are immature.

maggie273 Fri 19-Aug-16 09:50:12

I have an issue with my daughter. My husband and I divorced after 40 years of marriage. He had moved in with someone else within 2 months. Both my children have taken his side our marriage was not good for the last 9 years at about the time he took on a business and remortgaged our house and spent 2 lots of inheritance without me knowing going into his business. My children no longer speak to me which means I do not see my 3 Granchildren one of which I was very very close to I breaks my heart and the kids should not be part of what has gone on.

Jaycee5 Fri 19-Aug-16 10:35:03

Does she have a long journey? I am not the worlds best traveller but generally find I am ok for a day or two and then get a bit tired, headachey and probably grouchy. If she is pleased to see you initially it may well be something entirely outside of your relationship. When she is a bit older she will be able to tell you how she feels if she wants to but she may not be able to analyse her own feelings yet.

funwithgrandma Fri 19-Aug-16 10:37:02

hi teddymac perhaps you could chat with her about the times you've enjoyed with her when she was little - as a baby and how delighted you were to see her for the first time and hold her and add in some stories about what she used to do with you when tiny. Children love to hear stories about themselves and it could bring you closer together. (You could embroider the stories a little!) Do you have photos of her which you could show her during a grandma and grand-daughter chat. Maybe her parents have actually made this into a bit of a mountain with her by talking to her teacher etc. Maybe she needs time and space to change her own mind about how she feels when they come to stay with you - as others have said she might be missing her home and friends and feel out of sorts simply because she isn't at home.
Hang on in there I hope things improve for you all.

Lupin Fri 19-Aug-16 10:52:30

Don't let her know she's getting to you, but on the other hand don't allow her to be rude and unpleasant to you. Nobody should permit that. She may not like you for a bit but will respect you in the end.
It occurs to me that she may be feeling homesick and takes it out on you if she sees you as the reason she's away from home.
Go with the flow. I hope she responds eventually.

Swanny Fri 19-Aug-16 10:57:09

I see my DGS (age 6) often as I'm only a mile away from the family. School holidays are mostly spent with me and we have a great relationship most of the time. Yesterday was not such a good day but at one point I felt so overwhelmed with love for him I asked for a kiss and cuddle. His very serious reply was 'No Grandma, you had one already and you can have another when Daddy comes to pick me up!' smile

gettingonabit Fri 19-Aug-16 12:44:30

You sound as though you're trying too hard, and somewhat overinvested, given that she's a very small child.

Give her some space!

Granarchist Fri 19-Aug-16 12:50:15

Have you thought about doing something together - just the two of you - something she would enjoy? Biking? Playing with make up? Swimming? Punting? Cooking? Going to a film together? I was desperate to see Finding Nemo years ago and had no grandchildren at the time so I rang a friend and asked to take hers!!! We had a great time, his parents had never taken him to a film (or to a naughty McDonalds) - we had a ball. He is 17 now and we still have a great relationship. I also find that toys and books that stay at Granny's work really well. So a toy farm or something they do not have at home.