Gransnet forums

Grandparenting

Grandchildren's attitude

(35 Posts)
Julesmm Wed 27-Dec-17 16:39:00

My husband has three grandchildren, 12 year old twins and a 8 year old. We live quite a distance away so probably only see the 4-5 times a year.

They have never been overly affectionate children but we accepted that. Yesterday (Boxing Day) we drove up to see them. My stepdaughter and her husband were clearly pleased to see us but as far as the children were concerned we may as well not have existed.

His granddaughter who is 12 came and sat at the table and then said to my husband 'sit down, but not next to me. We didn't even get a 'hello or 'happy Christmas from her.

Her two brothers were upstairs in their rooms playing computer games and only came down when they were told that the food was ready. Even then they only managed to mumble 'hello. The presents were given out and we just about got a thank you from them before they disappeared upstairs and that was that! They had to be told to come down to say goodbye when we left and this was done grudgingly.

My husband is understandably very hurt and upset but doesn't want to say anything to his daughter that May make the situation worse.

My stepdaughter and her husband are very good parents but I do feel that on occasions such as this they should ask the children to put aside their games and spend some time with us. I know that when our son was younger this is what we would have done.

I have known my stepdaughter for over 40 years and both my husband,myself and his ex-wife get on very well together but I have never felt that the children look upon me as their nan and I have never pushed this. Interestingly their grandparents on their dad's side no longer go there so I wonder if they feel they are not wanted.

Any advice on how to deal with this would be welcomed

aggie Wed 27-Dec-17 16:45:04

It is fairly normal for their age , they hardly know you . I find my lot , who used to be all over me are now up in the rooms on gadgets . All is not lost as the 15 yr old has come out of hibernation and greets us and stays for a chat

Auntieflo Wed 27-Dec-17 16:49:18

I Don't have any suggestions on how to improve the situation Julesmm, but do heartily sympathise. I have a 4 year old GS, and although I love him, I don't always like him. That sounds awful, but he is an only child and pandered to, and the looks he gives at times, well, I shudder.
Hope he grows up to be as nice as his cousins.

Luckygirl Wed 27-Dec-17 16:49:50

I think you might do best to let this wash by you and not read anything negative into it - it is clearly just how that family operate. I have been with my large family for the last 3 days and the children are off and about together playing their own games. We chat to them as they flit by!

I remember being forced to sit and talk to my grandparents when I wanted to be playing, and what a chore it was! If they do not see you very often then I guess it is hard for them to make conversation with an adult and find things to talk about.

Don't let it spoil your Christmas.

NannyTee Wed 27-Dec-17 17:02:08

Yes we had the same thing doing our rounds yesterday. It's these computer games to blame. My DS and DIL kept dragging them back downstairs. Made them say thank-you and give hugs etc.

NanaandGrampy Wed 27-Dec-17 17:14:02

I'm sad to hear how you were treated. I know when children reach a certain age they do become less inclined to socialise with their grandparents but forgive me if I'm blunt- I blame the parents !

Its up to them to set the tone and what is and isn't acceptable. Surely an hour spent in your company is not too much hardship.

We spent the Christmas period with our 4 grandchildren, the oldest is 11 and whilst she played games happily with us, she did take herself off with her ipad for a quiet hour away from us and the smaller children.

Maybe you can build more of a rapport with the children by email or post throughout the year to make next year a nicer occasion? I think I'd be tempted to mention it in the kindest way to the parents too.

grannyactivist Wed 27-Dec-17 17:19:38

I think that making efforts to keep in touch with your grandchildren throughout the year will make a difference as all relationships are built up over time and need nurturing if they are to develop. Our children have had regular family holidays and several annual celebrations with their paternal grandparents and as a consequence they are very close. They rarely see my mother and she has never made any efforts to keep in touch with them so it's not surprising that their relationship with her is almost non-existent. I have a granddaughter in New Zealand and we regularly Skype or FaceTime so even though the distance is great we're still able to keep in regular contact and thus build up a bond.

Julesmm Wed 27-Dec-17 17:29:11

We do try to keep in contact with them but to no avail I'm afraid. If my husband calls them they barely speak to him for more than a minute. I also blame the parents, but don't want to rock the boat.

Very occasionally she we see them or when they have stayed with us they are okay but they are never demonstrative and although we don't expect them to be like the children you see on the adverts, it would have been nice for them to have spoken to us and properly thanked us for the presents.

celebgran Wed 27-Dec-17 17:37:22

Tend to agree Nanna Grampy it seems extremely rude to me.
I feel very lucky that despite my sons stepsons havingntheir real Gran over from s Africa the youngest 16 ran out to greet us hugs for me and they both bought us gifts from their part time jobs even tho youngest lost his,
Without realising it I guess we have built up relationship with them over last few years,
Of course oldest at 18 has girlfriend and he was on his computer a lot but also helped his mum layntable etc and gave us oour presents flowers for me, his grandmother and mum and large box Thorntons he also bought huge box for everyone to share. I think my sons partner must be so proud of them I certainly was.

If feel so sorry you had that rudeness because that's what it is, the boys were told to leave phones aside at table also.

I also agree your dh can't say anything it would t help.

grannyactivist Wed 27-Dec-17 17:38:28

When they were young my children were expected to be courteous, but I'm afraid affection cannot be taught. If they're not naturally demonstrative then there's not much to be done about that, but there is no excuse for their parents to overlook what is essentially bad manners!

celebgran Wed 27-Dec-17 17:43:57

Agree granny activist our oldest step grandson is slightly autistic so when he gave me present s I ask if ok have hug and he says yes, occasionally he will initiate it but younger one is more tactile which is lovely I was so pleased when he followed his mum and gran outside to greet us.

I can remember shuddering when told to kiss an uncle by my aunt who I was v close to but not so keen on uncle 😩so I guess we all go through awkwardness but manners is a different thing.

Without sounding rude that is down to the parents.

paddyann Wed 27-Dec-17 18:36:47

no child should ever have to hug anyone against his/her will.Surely thats what we're teaching them now.I hated having to hug or kiss relatives and my family were close and saw each other most days so I knew these people .If they dont see you often they wont know what to say to you...

bugsy555 Thu 28-Dec-17 17:49:45

I wouldn't hug and show affection for a relative I barely knew either. Sorry but I feel that you are being unreasonable.

Deedaa Thu 28-Dec-17 18:54:23

Although I saw my grandparents a lot I had some aunts and uncles who visited very rarely. I was expected to sit in the room while they visited but I don't remember ever speaking to them. I wouldn't have known what to say really.

MissAdventure Thu 28-Dec-17 18:58:42

I don't think it was said that the children should have hugged them.

Maggiemaybe Thu 28-Dec-17 19:03:33

I can't see where the OP has asked for hugs and kisses though. They were hoping for a hello, a goodbye, a thank you and perhaps a couple of minutes of polite chat. Basic courtesies really, that children of this age should manage before disappearing off to their bedrooms. For a 12 year old to say sit down, but not next to me is rude and hurtful. My 4 year old DGS would have been told off for that!

merlotgran Thu 28-Dec-17 19:07:01

Don't worry, they'll more than likely change as they grow older. All our DGCs are in their late teens and early twenties now and I remember once calling out, 'If the mountain won't come to Mohammed' as I stomped up the stairs when they failed to appear to say goodbye.

We've just had a lovely Christmas with the same children who are now only too happy to spend time with us so it looks as though 'Kevin the teenager' is a thing of the past for us.

BlueBelle Thu 28-Dec-17 19:10:52

Sounds pretty normal Please don’t take it personally most of my grandkids seem to spend lots of time in their bedrooms talking to friends on phones, tablets or games It’s their form of entertainment I used to sit in a corner and read a book while the adults talked Same but different
You only see them occasionally so they are not that familiar with you 12 is a funny old age and the 8 year old will copy wanting to be cool Enjoy your time with the adults and don’t expect to much from the kids if they were made to stay in the room they would be moody grumpy and resentful let them get on with their own thing and enjoy your time with the adults

bugsy555 Thu 28-Dec-17 20:20:46

Oh yes. The OP hasn't asked for affection- just mentioned that they aren't overly affectionate (I misinterpreted). I'm not sure what kind of reaction she was hoping for from grandchildren but feel that it must be difficult for them given they have a very limited relationship. Children are not adults and shouldn't be held to the same standard.

Franbern Fri 29-Dec-17 10:50:49

Think that Bluebelle has really hit the nail on the head. Does sound pretty normal behavior for the age groups and only difference from when our children were small is that the computer has to a degree replaced books. Also, this time of the year is such a strange time and family dynamics are usually a little overstretched. Children are over-excited and often have had large sugar rushes. I know a couple of children whose mother insists that they totally over-react with adults. So, if you give them even the smallest present they have to come over, give the adult a cuddle and say how grateful they are for the pressie. It is all so very false. Much better for kids to behave normally, and that is that they are not very interested in inter-acting with adults they do not know very well.

jenpax Fri 29-Dec-17 12:13:23

To be honest I think you are making too much of this. The 12 year old girl is probably hormonal and teenagery my own 3 daughters were not pleasant or polite company in their teen years yet are now accomplished, intelligent and delightful company as young women! I have an 7 year old grandson and although he will come and give me a hug when I arrive this maybe at least as much due to the fact that both he and his mother lived with me until 7 months ago and therefore he misses my daily input into his life, however even with this he quickly rushes off to play with his minecraft figures or his Lego or on his PS4🤣

dahlia Fri 29-Dec-17 15:18:29

It is definitely a different world out there now, I recall visiting my gran and sitting silently at the table unless directly involved in the "grown up" conversation. Our two eldest granddaughters, aged 24 and 21, were obnoxious during their mid-teens (though never rude), but they are now an absolute delight. Maintaining regular contact is the key, but I appreciate this is difficult.

dahlia Fri 29-Dec-17 15:19:14

It is definitely a different world out there now, I recall visiting my gran and sitting silently at the table unless directly involved in the "grown up" conversation. Our two eldest granddaughters, aged 24 and 21, were obnoxious during their mid-teens (though never rude), but they are now an absolute delight. Maintaining regular contact is the key, but I appreciate this is difficult.

celebgran Fri 29-Dec-17 15:43:56

I don't think thanking people for gifts politely should be false it's just good manners.

IMO it something I taught both my kids as essential part of common courtesy if someone been kind enough to choose you a gift.

Maybe it's not taught now?

Fennel Fri 29-Dec-17 16:02:05

I know the feeling Julesmm. The grandchildren who have stayed most here are no 14 & 16; The last time, as with others, on their phones a lot (although their parents do try to control that.)
Now we're moving back to England (from rural SW France) I was surprised when our son said they were quite upset about it, they loved coming here.
We're going to miss it too sad