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My Grandson is scared of me!

(117 Posts)
Armoria Wed 12-Dec-18 15:24:36

It's getting to the point now that I really don't want to visit my son and daughter in law because my 22 month old grandson screams and cries and clings to his mum whenever I arrive. I have never ever done any single thing to warrant this and it is really upsetting.

I have a loving and close relationship to my daughter's children who are now 12 and 17 and when my son and his wife had a little boy in 2016 I could not have been more thrilled. We were not allowed to visit for the first week as they wanted to get established into a routine before having visits and also it had been sort of agreed that my daughter in law's parents should be the first to visit as the little chap was their first grandchild and we already had 2 so we had to wait until they had got round to visiting. I was a tad put out but went with it to keep the peace. When we did see him he was adorable but parents were suffering and sleep deprived so we used to take him out for a walk for a couple of hours or so to give them chance for a catch up nap and we absolutely loved the time we spent with him out and about.

When he was a few months old he had a stinking cold and reflux and at one point stopped breathing. They called an ambulance but after being checked out in hospital he was given the all clear and sent home. My son called me, he was overwhelmed and daughter in law a mess too so at 10.30pm we just got in the car and drove the 90mins to their house and spent the next 2 days and nights with them till they all settled. They are first time parents in their mid 30's, both professional people and absolutely no experience of children whatsoever. We continued to visit 2 days and nights a week until they seemed to be more confident and then we started stepping back to one a week. Also I am self employed and while I can juggle my work to fit in any family demands I cant always do so and there are periods where I have to work maybe everyday for a few weeks and I also help out my daughter with childcare for her youngest one and we do try to have a life of our own and go on holidays and breaks.

When little one was about 7 or 8 months old my daughter in law became very possessive, having now found her 'mummy feet' big time and she became his whole world whereas before she was happy to let us take him for walks, feed him, change him, cuddle him. If I were to even try to go near him or pick him up he would cry and rather than let me rock and shush him she would immediately take him off me, take him away and cuddle him. This went on for weeks and weeks and I eventually got so exasperated but tried not to let it show for sake of harmony but my son could see I was upset one time however they both said sorry if I was upset but they did not want HIM to be upset or cry and maybe it was because we didn't come over often enough and her parents were there every week or so. Her parents by the way are older and both retired, my son is also self employed so knows that when you have to work, you have to work. It got so bad that I would only have to walk in through the door and he would burst into tears, scream and hold out arms for his mum and she of course would always rescue him.

He's now nearly 2 and while he does not cry and scream so much he still does cry upon seeing me and will not go anywhere near me. Ive tried being casual about it, Ive tried holding something out for him to take, I've tried playing with him, talking to him but to no avail. If he is walking across the room and say I walk in he straight away turns around and goes back or does a massive detour to avoid me.

I am really at my wits end, He is OK with my husband, he goes up to him and holds his hand and plays cars with him. I want nothing more than to pick him up and give him a big sqwishy nanna kiss and cuddle, sing to him, read a book with him on my lap, take him for walks round the garden looking for bugs and things. All the stuff I did with my other grandchildren.

I have no idea what to do. I suspect it has been 'imprinted' on him that I am something to be scared of and to be mummy rescued from because of how each time he cried he was taken off me but I cannot say that without causing offence. He does not go to any kind of preschool, nursery or toddler group. My son works from home but little one is with mummy pretty much 24/7. They never come over to our house as a family. Son has visited just twice with him since he was born. We are expected to make the journey over to theirs which is 90 mins each way if traffic is OK. If she stays at her parents for a few days (they live about 13 miles away from us) she will meet us in town for lunch or an hour or so between his naps on one day. To be honest it's getting expensive for us to keep visiting especially as he has set naps so by the time we get there and he has been woken from his nap at the set time, we would have maybe a couple of hours with him before we would have to travel back as hubby and I dislike travelling along the country lanes in the dark so we end up getting a hotel so we can have longer with him.

It's got to the point where we just don't want to go but feel we have to to keep the peace and not be bad grandparents but how much longer can we keep doing this only for him to cry and rebuff my efforts. I am not a quitter and hate the idea of giving up on him but I'm absolutely at my wits end as to how to rectify the situation and get him to accept me. Sorry this is a long one but I am pretty desperate for any advice or help.

Fennel Wed 12-Dec-18 18:48:15

I agree with those who say keep visiting, but ignore your grandson, make a big fuss of your son and DIL.
Hopefully the little lad will come round in the end.

Eglantine21 Wed 12-Dec-18 18:57:59

Actually the original post seems to have taken a different turn.

The OP was upset because her grandson was frightened of her. Any book on child development will tell you this is a perfectly normal phase for a toddler. They become frightened of all sorts of things. It’s an intellectual development from living in the moment to awareness of what might happen. And several posters have tried to reassure her.

But then it turned into “Im not getting my fair share etc”.

I don’t think you’re being very reasonable OP.

Sometimes you have to work and don’t see your grandson. That’s fine. But you’re hurt when he reacts to because he doesn’t recognise you? A couple of weeks is a long time in toddler world.
You’re upset because his other grandparents are retired and can spend more time with him. Lucky them. Why not? Or should they not see him so much because you can’t so as to make it “fair’?

I’m sorry but you are coming over as the possessive one. She took him away from you when he cried and comforted him herself? Seems reasonable to me. She is his mum,

M0nica Wed 12-Dec-18 19:11:45

At much the same age my very sociable, people loving young son suddenly became people phoebic and clung to me and wouldn't be parted from me. It is fairly par for the course at that age.

DGS between the ages of 30 months to four years, was utterly indifferent to me. He would do a body swerve around me to get to his grandfather. He grew out of it.

We are all grown-ups, very experienced grown-ups, why on earth is your sense of self worth based on how a very small child reacts to you?

Relax, visit less if it is too difficult. My DGC live 200 miles away, we see them every couple of months, yet it is quite clear they love us dearly and look forward to both our visits to them and theirs to us. The other grandmother lives 2 miles away and sees much more of them than we do and they love her too.

Gonegirl Wed 12-Dec-18 19:26:36

Whenever you visit, visit a charity shop first and find a toy for him. Oxfam shops are good for this. He will welcome you. Yes, it's cupboard love, but what the heck. When they are out the door with plastic crap it can all be recycled back to the shop.

oldbatty Wed 12-Dec-18 19:36:00

We are all grown-ups, very experienced grown-ups, why on earth is your sense of self worth based on how a very small child reacts to you?

Phrased so much better than my outburst.

Izabella Wed 12-Dec-18 19:45:18

oldbatty we all have bad days flowers

M0nica Wed 12-Dec-18 19:52:29

oldbatty, but you quote only one sentence from my post. Overall my post was longer than yours, so the rest I wrote was too wordy.

MrsEggy Wed 12-Dec-18 19:53:01

Lay off the big squishy nanny cuddles - some children hate this!

BlueBelle Wed 12-Dec-18 19:55:01

Unfortunately inside your head you are making this into a bigger problem than it’s need be and it’s all become a competion, ‘they do this, they do that, we only get the dregs, they have all the photos’, I m sorry to say jealousy is overtaking you
It’s very rare for both sets of grandparents to get equal shares in a grandchild and more likely than not the maternal grandparents will be the closest, that’s life
This little boy may be sensitive to your feelings and will pick up the vibes which is why he’s relaxed with your husband and not with you
It may all change when he’s older but the one thing you can’t do is over force the situation and make it into a big old competition with the parents and the other grandparents

Doodle Wed 12-Dec-18 20:14:48

My DGD couldn't stand the sight of me for 2 to 3 years. She would cry buckets if her mum and dad brought her to our house. DH was slightly more favoured but she couldn't stand me. You should see us now. We love each over to bits and have done for many many years. Your little one is just young and a bit nervous. Forget about other grandparents it doesn't matter at this stage if one is favoured over the other. When your little one grows up a bit he will enjoy spending time with you. Don't force it. As others have suggested, be more laid back. Play with toys on your own whilst chatting to his mum and dad. Try not to read too much into this, all kids go through these little periods it's part of finding their feet and growing up.

Madgran77 Wed 12-Dec-18 20:34:55

Izabella Lovely idea!

Madgran77 Wed 12-Dec-18 20:37:01

And an alternative that I have seen work well is have a little toy in a pocket that makes a noise - a bell, a whirry toy or similar ..activate it in your pocket without any comment, when it stops leave a minute then do it again, whilst just carrying on a conversation and not taking any notice of grandson. Worth a try; most youngsters cant resist!!

dragonfly46 Wed 12-Dec-18 20:59:36

We used to have the same thing. Only meeting in cafes etc and granddaughter very shy and reserved. Her mum was very protective of her. That all changed when the second one came along. Suddenly our help was just as vital as the other grandparents and mum was much more relaxed. Things are wonderful now. Have patience.

agnurse Wed 12-Dec-18 21:37:41

1. This is not your immediate family. This is your EXTENDED family. You don't have the right to dictate how often they must see you.

2. It is entirely normal for a child this age to be wary of strangers, even GPs.

3. How much time the other grands get is none of your business.

Madgran77 Wed 12-Dec-18 22:15:51

agnurse dictate is an unfair description of what the OP is saying!!

She s not saying how much time they get is her business, just that she personally finds the balance hard and she personally would love to have more time! She is not trying to dictate how much time, she is just being honest about her own desire. She absolutely has "the right" to feel that, it is human and understandable!!

Yes it is normal for a child this age to be wary of others; so what! The OP is upset by what is quite extreme wariness and it is clear from her post that she is looking fort help and understanding in how to build a relationship where that wariness lessens.

Many people would describe their children as immediate family and iot would not be heard as possessiveness or whatever, just a description

I am unclear why you seem so annoyed by what is an honest post and why you seem to think that the OP has no right to express her feelings!

Cherrytree59 Wed 12-Dec-18 22:38:52

Hi Armoria
Have you tried ignoring your grandson but doing something fun and intersting that will tempt him to watch and eventually join in?
For example....
You say your grandson is fine with your DH
Ask your DH to walk around the garden holding your grandson's hand when your grandson seems settled walk on the other side of your husband and chat to your husband about the insects flowers etc but not directly to your grandson.
If your grandson is calm and focused move away and perhaps exclaim 'Wow, what is this? Pointing to something...
It could be ladybird or a previously hidden treat.
Children are very inquisitive and will want to check it out.
if it has gone well, follow with lets see what else's we can find.

When your grandson and husband are playing cars pick up a few (or bring a couple of new ones) and start to play over the other side of the room without talking directly to your grandson making the game sound fun ask your DH if wants to join in, hopefully your grandson will watch what you are doing and want to join in.

Good luckshamrock

agnurse Thu 13-Dec-18 05:09:12


It sounds as if OP is saying "Well, the OTHER grands get x, y, and z. It's not FAAAAIR!!!" Really sounds quite childish. How many times did you all hear your children say, "But so-and-so gets to do/go to/wear/see/have x, y, and z. It's not FAAAAIR!" What was your response then?

If they only see GC once a week, I'm not surprised he is wary of them. Many children are wary of "strangers" at this age. I wonder if possibly OP is projecting her feelings about DIL onto GC.

Humbertbear Thu 13-Dec-18 07:52:31

My daughter was frightened of her GF . We think he used to hold her too close. When she was about 18 months old he bought her a wheelbarrow and they were firm friends ever after. My advice is to visit your daughter but try to ignore your GS. he will get used to you in time.

eazybee Thu 13-Dec-18 08:06:42

Stopping visiting won't help achieve an improvement in the relationship
Continue visiting, continue to be pleasant, take a back seat, and don't criticise his mother's parenting, even in your head.

Body language is far more powerful than you think, and young children are very sensitive to it.

MawBroon Thu 13-Dec-18 08:22:27

How different our attitudes can be!
We all seem to agree this is likely to be a “phase”
We may also be thinking “Don’t fall into the trap of comparing access with the other GPS, that way madness lies.
If they only see GC once a week, I'm not surprised he is wary of them. Many children are wary of "strangers" at this age I am gobsmacked that agnurse can write “only” and “once a week” in the same sentence and then suggest the child regards granny as a “stranger” confused
Many of us see our grandchildren considerably less frequently, once a month if even, perhaps or at irregular intervals.
I think how the parents treat the grandparents makes a huge difference. If mummy is genuinely happy to see granny and grandpa the child will pick this up.
Littlest DGS(2 1/2) commented on the picture of my late DH I keep as my screensaver “That’s Granpop” he announced. “I love Granpop”sad
DH died a year ago when DGS was only 18 months and sadly was not able to spend as much time with the little fellow as we would have wished, but I give my DD credit for keeping his memory alive, albeit from pictures and perhaps anecdotes.

oldbatty Thu 13-Dec-18 08:40:46

I wonder if the Mum had a rough time , some depression perhaps, compounded by the fact that the little on was ill. It is terrifying. I think its great that Mum and child have a strong bond.

MawBroon Thu 13-Dec-18 08:59:17

I think this is DIL’s child oldBatty
The daughter’s children are older.

MawBroon Thu 13-Dec-18 08:59:49

Sorry, misread your post OB - ignore!

Armoria Thu 13-Dec-18 09:56:03

Oh if only I could but bringing him toys is now frowned upon as he has enough but if I do want to buy something I need to phone first and to let them know the details such as what it is, what size is it, if it's painted is it paint or stained and they will then give the ok or not. Books have to be new and again have to tell them the title to make sure it is suitable. No second hand soft toys either.

annodomini Thu 13-Dec-18 09:58:50

Your GS is most likely picking up vibes from his mum, who has long been reluctant for you to be closer than she likes. It would be sensible for you to allow him to see you on close, friendly terms with your DiL. Also, consider why it is that the child has no issue with your DH. How does he behave when he comes through the door of their house, compared to the way you greet them?