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Granddaughter doesn't like me

(25 Posts)
YayaSpain Tue 08-Dec-15 19:47:58

I have a beautiful granddaughter who I was very close to. We live in different countries so I saw her 3-4 times per year as well as on skype. Until she was 3 1/2 years old everything was good and she would cry when I left. In August she told me she didn't like me as "I was too bossy"... I was a bit upset but let it go. Last week I saw her again when I went back for my grandson's christening. She was fine to start with then didn't want hugs and kept me at a distance when I asked to read her a story or play with her. Her other grandparents and various other relations were there and she was happy to hug them and be with them. I feel hurt as I have always played with her and treated her well and I don't know what I am doing wrong. Any advice?

J52 Tue 08-Dec-15 20:51:10

You are unlikely to be doing anything wrong. Children's emotions are emerging and fickle.

How old is she? If you saw her in a quieter environment I expect she would be happy to engage with you.

One Dgd used to cry when she saw me, very upsetting! Now she cries when it's time to go home. I expect she will change at some point in the future.

Try not to take it to heart.


Luckygirl Tue 08-Dec-15 20:54:18

It's very hard when you live so far away. We nearly moved to France several years ago, but then the GC started arriving and we knew we could not move away.

I do not know what you can do - she is bound to feel more comfortable with people she sees regularly. How old is she now?

Do you live near a beach? Does she come over for holidays? Could you be Seaside Granny? (I had one of those).

I do not think you are doing anything wrong - you are just far away. I really do feel for you.

There are grans on here who live a long way from their DGC and I am sure that they will have ideas about how to deal with this. God luck.

M0nica Tue 08-Dec-15 22:05:00

I think we discussed this problem about six months ago. A referral back to that thread will probably be very helpful.

I think young children have irrational likes and dislike that come and go, Perhaps she doesn't really understand enough to know why she doesn't see more of you and thinks if you liked her you would be around more. Give it time. At one point DGS would body swerve around me to get to his DGF, I was of no interest. He has grown out of it and now greets me with shouts and hugs.

Grandma2213 Wed 09-Dec-15 02:12:02

I would agree with most of the comments already made. Children are complicated little things and we may never know where their ideas come from.

I have the opposite problem. I look after my DGD 3 or 4 days a week and she cries when she has to go home. 'I don't want to go to Mummy's!' How guilty does that make me feel?

Wendysue Wed 09-Dec-15 03:38:36

I agree with the above posters. I doubt you're doing anything wrong. Children are like chameleons, emotionally. A year or two from now, GD may not be able to get enough of you!

Also, for now, she may be having trouble processing the fact that you're not always there and sometimes only "on a screen." As she gets older and understands the situation better, chances are, this will change.

For now, I suggest keeping a distance from her until she approaches/reaches out to you. I don't mean that you should be cold or unfriendly. Be as warm as ever, but don't ask to read to/play with her or, if you can't resist, accept the distance that's comfortable for her, right now. As hard as it may be, don't even try for a hug. Give her a chance to approach you as slowly and carefully as she wants. I think you'll gain her little trust more this way and, in time, she'll be less cautious about interacting with you. I may be wrong, though, of course. This is JMO (just my opinion).

Good luck!

Teacher11 Wed 09-Dec-15 11:15:22

Children are sulky, capricious little devils and if they see you upset by rejection they'll dole out more of it to get the upper hand. Take plenty of no notice and carry on being nice but not unctuous. Don't beg for her affection. She'll come round when she sees she can't manipulate you.

Bubbe Wed 09-Dec-15 11:58:06

Firstly, I would imagine a christening event could be quite overwhelming for a little person. And secondly, for her to tell you you are bossy ~ young children often test out new or challenging words with people they feel safe with. I would suggest to carry on as you have been and really don't let it upset you. If she rejects you next time just acknowledge to her very briefly that it makes you feel sad ~ immediately then turn your body slightly and do something else. I.e don't make a big deal of it, because you want her to feel as comfortable with you as possible the next time. Just a thought.

Jaxie Wed 09-Dec-15 13:23:03

At a family lunch I noticed how well one of my granddaughters was getting on with her other Granny. I felt a bit miffed, as she doesn't seem to want to give me the same amount of attention. When I mentioned this to her mother (my daughter) she said," That's because SHE isn't on at her all the time." But the other Granny doesn't see as much of the child as I do, as I live at the seaside and she spends holidays with me. If she misbehaves I verbally discipline her, which my daughter doesn't like. I think modern children are spoilt by their parents, whose discipline, I think, can be lax. Am I making myself unpopular by insisting on " My house, my rules"?

Tegan Wed 09-Dec-15 18:25:08

If you don't see a child very often it's best to just chat to them and not be huggy with them.

helmacd Wed 09-Dec-15 18:55:15

Just a suggestion. Try sending her the occasional postcard at random times; occasionally send her a tiny gift, the idea being that she is reminded of you regularly and associates you with pleasant surprises. Children love the importance of having their own special picture postcard or similar drop through the letterbox. I send separate ones to my 2 grandsons every now and again.

You have to search a bit for suitable postcards but they are out there.I also found a box of a 100 postcards illustrated by Eric Carle of caterpillar fame at TK Maxx.

ajanela Wed 09-Dec-15 20:50:35

Please look at which is a way you can share stories with your grandchildren and you star in the story. Or download the app Gingersnap - grandparents. My grandson was thrilled when he received the stories on line. Take a look.

Do not just search gingersnap or you will find lots of "models ".

Angela1961 Wed 09-Dec-15 21:11:42

I really wouldn't worry about it. I live 300 miles from my daughter / grandsons. I also only see them a handful of times a year. My 4.5 year old grandson is going through a stage of wanting everything and not listening to his mum. On my recent visit he was having a meltdown a good few times a day - hitting, punching etc so obviously my daughter has been quite firm and to back her up to a degree so did I. His other nanny looks after him after school 3 times a week whilst my daughter is at work so he gets more cuddles / kisses/ sweets etc from her more than me. He told her the other day he didn't love her as he loves me . Don't take it to heart.

Wendysue Sat 12-Dec-15 10:33:15

This post is for Jaxie - I don't think you're wrong to insist on "My house, my rules." Not at all. It seems obvious to me that you have the right to make the decisions about what is and isn't ok in your own home.

But if your daughter is accusing you of being "on her all the time," perhaps you're expecting your little GD to follow "too many" rules and need to pick your battles?

Or maybe it's the way you enforce things? You say her mom doesn't like it when you "verbally discipline" GD, but is it about that, per se, or perhaps about your tone or choice of words? Do you speak sharply to her, for example, when a gentle word will do or perhaps simply directing her attention to something else?

If you don't think so, then maybe it's just that GD is used to fewer or different rules in her own home. You can't be expected to change yours, of course, but if you feel this is the actual problem, maybe her holiday visits to your home need to be shorter? An afternoon instead of an overnight or just one night instead of an extended visit? In fact, no matter what the issue is, perhaps shorter visits would make things easier on everyone?

I realize that may not be possible or you may miss her too much if she goes home sooner than usual. Also, I'm sure she enjoys many fun activities while at your home (seaside - wow! - I'm a little jealous, tee hee!). As she gets older, chances are, she'll have many fond memories of those visits and that will mean more to her than any issues about rules. Take heart!

Jaxie Sun 13-Dec-15 10:40:54

This message is a big thank you to Wendysue: you are right; I'm a bossy ex- teacher with 3 permanent vertical frowns on my forehead who was a shouter at my own children; I had a difficult childhood myself, so am probably afraid of challenges to my authority. I'll try to take your advice and change my tone of voice. Even the mother of the child in question says that the little girl has a manipulative and controlling personality. She is only 8 but argues over which clothes she is going to wear, for example, which incenses me. It doesn't seem child-like. I think a T-shirt & comfortable trousers or shorts are ok. I have to remind myself, though, that we are not living in the 1950's and the pressures on kids are different ( they don't know they're bleeping born! ). I wished you lived in Dorset Wendysue, then you could make further suggestions to turn me from Bad Grandma to Nice Grandma.

JessM Sun 13-Dec-15 18:39:11

His YayaSpain - i think the clue may be in the phrase "grandson's christening". New baby in the house? Getting lots of attention?
When my GD was 3 and a baby brother arrived I used to be the person who sometimes got it in the neck. Particularly when I took her to nursery.
After a battle to get her in the car seat, "TAKE YOU HANDS OFF ME!!!" she would berate me from the back seat.
Stop singing nana!! Stop laughing nana!!

It is sometimes difficult for a 3 year old to show her anger to mum and dad as - just maybe - she is afraid they love the new baby more. Much easier to take it out on Nan.
So my suggestion is to make sure you don't make a fuss of the baby when she is around. Be willing to be monopolised by her ladyship if required. Or even acknowledge her feelings "I understand you're feeling angry at the moment. I do understand."
It will pass - don't fret about it.

Tresco Sun 13-Dec-15 19:11:23

I used to teach children with behaviour problems, and deliberately never raised my voice or shouted at them. (Not necessarily the case with my own children, I admit). I would always try to offer reasons, and a reasonable set of choices. That doesn't mean being manipulated, it means deciding what are your boundaries and allowing choices within that. For example, you mention arguments over clothes. Why shouldn't an eight year old have a view on what she wants to wear? On the other hand, there are practical reasons for wearing/not wearing certain clothes. So you can offer choices, but say why (say) a party frock is not the best choice for playing with messy stuff. I also would not argue with an angry child - it's a waste of time. I would say firmly but quietly that we would talk when the shouting had stopped, and then ignore them till they had quietened down.

Jaxie Thu 17-Dec-15 17:43:08

An 8 year-old fussing about what she should wear is ridiculous; there is far too much emphasis placed on appearances in our culture. Little girls' clothes that are not over- designed and in ghastly pink and mauve colours, plastered with vile slogans or mimicking adult fashions are very difficult to find. You won't be seeing Princess Charlotte wearing cheap throwaway garments produced by slave workers in the East. Unfortunately tasteful children's clothes tend to be expensive. Let's do what our mothers & grandmothers did: MAKE little girls' clothes ourselves.

Granarchist Thu 17-Dec-15 18:22:35

Tresco - you are so right about not trying to engage with an angry child. Pointless - you have to wait until the 'red mist' has lifted!! Jaxie - you did make me laugh - my 3 yr old GD is a nightmare to dress in appropriate clothing. I am the most old-fashioned GM you can imagine, DD is a carbon copy of me and I NEVER remember these arguments! But GD has a will of iron. She can refuse to co-operate at all, and i defy anyone to be able to dress her against her will - so last week she was to be seen with me walking the dog in the pouring rain in nothing but her new swimsuit and wellies. I was waiting for the NSPCC to call at any minute. She does not feel the cold. I am just relying on Gransnet advice re another child that their brain has not developed at this age to understand actions and consequences - roll on that day. Meanwhile when are mothers expected to find the time to make clothes themselves - working mothers are shattered enough as it is after a day's work, and once the children are in bed my DD then has to prepare supper, and prepare for the next day. You can findv brilliant and nice clothes in H&M and charity shops are a lifesaver.

Coolgran65 Thu 17-Dec-15 18:55:07

My dgd is 8 and loves to choose what she's going to wear. She is allowed to do so, within reason.And depending on where she is going.
For last Sunday dinner she arrived at my house in long sleeved T shirt, leggings and a ballet tutu over the top. On her feet she had brown suede hiking boots.
Not a problem.

Synonymous Thu 17-Dec-15 19:18:08

Coolgran65 - grin

annodomini Thu 17-Dec-15 19:55:25

Boys aren't so bothered about what to wear - or are they? I know that, like some men, some boys don't even notice what they're wearing. One day we went for a walk with my GD wearing a 'pink princess' frock in which she proceeded to climb trees. Nowadays, as a teenager, she's more likely to be seen in tee shirt, leggings and Docs. I wouldn't worry about small children wanting to wear outlandish gear. It's just another aspect of experimentation and they mostly grow up reasonably normal, after all.

Tresco Thu 17-Dec-15 20:59:01

My son from the age of about 2 1/2 could dress himself. If he didn't like what I had put him in he simply went off and changed. I lost track of the number of times this meant wearing shorts in winter or long sleeves in summer. He also adored dressing up. I used to want to carry round a sign saying "I DID dress this child this morning - but he likes wearing THIS!

grannyactivist Thu 17-Dec-15 23:38:05

From the age of two when my eldest daughter began dressing herself I always used to put out two outfits for the next morning when putting my children to bed, thereby offering them a (limited) choice. The only time I ever (reluctantly) took a stand against an item of clothing was when my five year old son wanted me to buy him a pink coat from the girl's section at M&S. Pink was his favourite colour at the time and he did have pink T-shirts, but I feared he would be bullied if I bought him the coat, so reluctantly I asked him to choose a different one.
As for the OP - lots of good advice already given. tchsmile

Wendysue Sat 19-Dec-15 23:42:30

Yaya, I think JessM hit on something important. GD may, indeed, be taking out unresolved feelings about the baby on you. I'm sorry about that, but no worries. This too shall pass.

Jaxxie, I'm glad my comments were helpful. But I don't think you're "Bad Grandma," just a GM with clear rules who may need to change her tone a little while enforcing them. Not something a person can do overnight, but you'll make it, I'm sure.

As for clothes, I agree with you. Please remember that what's being marketed is not GD's fault. Also, these days, sometime girls as young as 8 or 9 are under pressure from their friends to wear certain fashions. Also, does her mom give her a big voice in what she wears? If so, then she may just not understand it if you nix or insist on certain choices. The idea of giving her one or two appropriate outfits to choose may be the solution.