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Advice please on relationship with GD

(19 Posts)
jojojo Sat 14-Feb-15 22:23:46

We have an adored 3 year old GD who lives some distance away and who we only get to see every couple of months or so for a brief visit. We try to FaceTime but she is usually "too busy" to talk. She has a great relationship with DH as he pulls faces at her and laughs and jokes with her but I am increasingly troubled by her reluctance to have a relationship with me.

I try and play with her or read her stories but all the time her mother is around she wants nothing to do with me and even frowns when I try to join in with painting or colouring. When we have been out for walks just on our own she is happy to take my hand and chats happily to me and when I am left on my own to babysit her she plays happily with me for a whole day although she won't kiss or cuddle me or let me sit on the sofa with her.
On a recent 4 day visit (without DH) the only times she would give me a hug and a kiss was at bedtime when she was saying goodnight to everybody. On the day I left I gave DS and DIL a hug and kiss goodbye but as I approached GD she started to yell and scream as though I was a monster! DIL just laughed. You can imagine how distraught this made me feel but I did not show it and made light of it saying I would give an extra hug to DS who could give it to her later from Nanna.

Now, I am sure you are thinking I must be doing something terribly wrong but DH has a theory and I think he may be right. You see many times in her short life she has been left for long periods with me whilst her parents travel. When she was just 1 she was left with me for 5 days, when she was 2 she was left with me for 12 days and at 2 and a half she was left with me for 3 long weekends of 4 days each over the space of 3 months. I loved those times although I confess I did struggle with the nappies sleepless nights and having sole responsibility for her (DH works long hours). DH believes that GD now associates any visit from me with her parents going away and that that is the problem. She is very very attached to her mother (nothing wrong with that) but a new baby will be arriving soon.
This is not how I thought my relationship with my GD would be as our family has always been very huggy and I had and continue to have great relationships with my sons. Do you think it is a passing phase that will sort itself out and is there anything I should do or not do in this situation?

Mishap Sat 14-Feb-15 23:00:04

Your OH's theory sounds entirely reasonable. I think it is important not to make a big issue of this. It does seem that there are times when she plays happily with you - you may just have to enjoy those for the time being. As her understanding grows, I am sure she will thaw towards you and things will be fine. She just needs time to grow up a little and to know that you are not about to spirit her away! - perhaps when you arrive you could say what your plans for the day are in her hearing so she knows all is well as she sees it.

Personally I think that one year old is too young for a child to be left with someone who she does not see all that often - and again she has had further stays when she was still very small. She needs to come round in her own time. Hard for you I know.

If she won't kiss you goodbye, blow her a kiss from a distance and play a silly game to see if she can catch it when you are gone - make it your game with her, so she can laugh about it - and above all else do not show you are distressed or it will up the emotional temperature which is the last thing you need.

You are not doing something "terribly wrong", but, through no fault of your own, things have moved too quickly for her emotional development and she just needs time. Keep smiling and treat her reticence lightly and all will come well in the end.

Looking after her was a kindness to your DD ad her OH, but the child just wasn't ready.

I think we have all had phases of apparent rejection by our GC to a greater or lesser extent. Try not to make a big thing of it - that would be counter-productive.

seasider Sun 15-Feb-15 01:07:48

When my grandson was five he said I was not allowed to kiss him until he was grown up which would be about age 12. I told him I would store all the kisses up and when he was 12 I would kiss him all over! I used to plant a sneaky kiss on the top of his head. Thankfully the no kissing phase only lasted a couple of months!

rubylady Sun 15-Feb-15 02:30:20

I know how you feel. My DGS asked his mum "can this one stay?" pointing to my brother who was chasing round after him and playing hide and seek and I (being disabled) was not. It really hurt and my DD just laughed too.

Maybe this is just a phase and she will grow out of it and maybe she does associate it with her mummy going away. Maybe you could play a game with her of coming in and going out of the door and playing boo so that she sees that you go again and she is not taken with you. Did she go to your house or did you look after her at hers? If the latter then when you go out of the door, let mummy or daddy tell her that she is staying with them in a jokey manner. Then you could do it also on face time, hiding in and out of shot on the computer.

It may work but I do hope that you soon get all the hugs and kisses you deserve. flowers

Leticia Sun 15-Feb-15 07:44:03

I think that your DH is right but she also senses that you are needy. Lots of children don't want to be kissed and cuddled. I would just back off and be far more casual. She may never want to kiss or cuddle you- but that is no barometer for a relationship.

Humbertbear Sun 15-Feb-15 09:53:51

My father had this problem with my daughter and he just backed off and almost ignored her waiting for her to go to him. One day he bought her a blue plastic wheelbarrow and she was his for ever. Don't try too hard. Just let the relationship take its course and allow her to come to you when she is ready.

Marmight Sun 15-Feb-15 11:05:12

My DGD aged 2.5 won't have anything to do with me after 2 weeks of my arrival - I am here for 7 weeks. If I offer to put on her shoes, put her in her chair or anything she just shrieks 'Mummy do it'. She has started to thump me and kick me so I just ignore it. She is the youngest of 4, the others all at school, and is dare I say it, very spoilt by the whole family. She has an eating problem i.e. just doesn't eat and weighs 10 kg which is what she weighed 12 months ago. I am not allowed to give my opinion on this but it is glaringly obvious what the answer is. It is very hard to bite the lip and stay cool calm and collected, but that is what I do. I have however, managed to persuade DD to take her to the GP and she has to return in 10 days for a follow up so at least she is under the umbrella of the Dr and hopefully things may improve in time. It is so hard for us Mums/Grans to deal with situations beyond our control especially when we would deal with the problem differently.

FlicketyB Sun 15-Feb-15 15:48:42

DGS runs to greet us when we arrive, does a body swerve round me and heads straight to DH whom he adores.

However that is nothing to what happens when DD visits her niece and nephew. She is a babe magnet, all children go to her as if she was the Pied Piper of Hamlin. If she is there, parents and grand parents may as well go out for the day.

Children have these preferences, they do still love you, but you are part of the comfort blanket, not the favourite toy. It will change at some time.

I have lovely times with my grandchildren, but I am not the be all and end all of their lives. Nor is their love the be all and end all of my life. That is as it should be.

annodomini Sun 15-Feb-15 17:03:34

We've had an similar thread recently and I'd give the same advice again. Don't make a fuss of the child. Sit back and let her come to you.

Mishap Sun 15-Feb-15 17:04:27

Play it cool - don't take it to heart - make a joke of it! It's all give with little ones - sometimes we get something back, sometimes we don't. That's just how it is.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 15-Feb-15 17:31:37

I doubt if it is anything to do with her staying with you when she was younger. I think it's the fate of a lot of grannies who can't have day-to-day contact with grandchildren. We almost become mere visitors, especially when we are the grandparent to our daughter's sons or our son's daughters. I think the genetic link may be less strong.

All you can do is wait patiently. Even until she is thirteen or so, when she will start to see you as an actual person, and one who loves her. The love is there now. She just doesn't realise it.

When you visit, take a book or a mag to engross yourself in. Let her come to you if she wants to. If not....... develop a hard shell. There is nothing else for it. flowers

jojojo Mon 16-Feb-15 08:39:28

Dear all, thank you so much for your replies which have helped me put this situation in perspective. I had not thought that I was being needy myself but I see now that maybe that is the case. My own Mum, to whom I was very close, passed away a couple of years ago and I have found that and the caring for her through her physical problems and her dementia very tough. I know I am probably trying to recreate the close relationship Mum and I had and that isn't possible. I will try to step back as most of you have advised, but it is tough! Thanks for your support xx

Leticia Mon 16-Feb-15 09:02:03

I bet you notice changes once you step back and give her space. Remember you hope to be there for the long term- what she was like at 3yrs will be unimportant.

BetterNotBitter Mon 16-Feb-15 13:01:14

I agree with what everyone else has said! I'm a mum to a very clingy girl of 3 and she's never been much of a hugger except me and her daddy. She has a very very close relationship with my parents and adores them but isn't very physically affectionate. She will do hugs and kisses goodbye for her gran but only a hug for grandad, no kisses for him. We have another relative who comes and hassles her for hugs allllll the time, and it drives little dd crazy to the point now where she complains if they're coming and states to us that there's no way she's hugging them! I would back off with the physical stuff if I were you and I think like others gave said this may help! Try not to take it to heart- kids pick up on nerves/undercurrents of feelings. Just try to enjoy her! Good luck

Stansgran Thu 19-Feb-15 12:37:22

As a child I hated kissing my whiskery grandmother. Absolutely loathed it but there was no choice and I was an obedient child. My father's mother not only was scarily bent and twisted with arthritis but had a wart on her nose. We also had to kiss hello and goodbye. I always vowed that I would never insist on my children kissing anyone and would never kiss them if they showed reluctance. With my DM when she had breast cancer she smelt but they loved her and sat at her feet and nestled up to her. OP I don't mean thet you may be any of thesegrin but a kiss or hug offered is worth far more than a kiss ordered. My DGCs all prefer DH anyway.

harrigran Thu 19-Feb-15 12:48:32

When I arrive to see GDs on a Sunday the youngest runs to the door and pushes past me to reach DH. I don't take it personally, he is the only one strong enough to lift her into his arms and she knows it. I play it by ear and often sneak a cuddle of youngest when she is sitting on my knee looking at a book. She likes to snuggle up to me when I read the bedtime story and that is better than anything.

Tegan Thu 19-Feb-15 13:44:25

Stansgran; I feel the same way. I had an elderly aunt who I adored and she used to point to her cheek and I would kiss her there; I loved doing that. But I never kissed anyone else and I don't kiss my grandchildren. Which doesn't mean to say that, if one of them ran up to me and gave me a kiss I wouldn't be delighted. Doing the school run one morning I did ask the 4 year old if he wanted a hug and he said no so I didn't push it. I'm not very tactile myself, so I don't take it personally when other people are the same.

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 17:10:20

I really don't think the kissing and cuddling important. I much preferred my mother's relations as a child because you could go without seeing you for 6 months and yet when you saw them it was as if you had been speaking to them 5 minutes before-no fuss was made. My father's relations were the sort who you used to have to kiss hello and goodbye- and made a great fuss of 'how you had grown' etc and I found it much more difficult.

Iam64 Thu 19-Feb-15 18:40:19

I'm with you Leticia, I hated being asked to kiss relatives/people I didn't know. Luckily, my parents never asked us to do this, it was the older generation. I'm a hugger, as are most of my relations and friends. My grandsons didn't like to be hugged once they reached high school age, something we all respected. They're late teens now, and always hug when we meet or leave each other. It's important to respect children, if they don't want to hug, kiss or sit on our knees, that's their choice.